The 53rd North American Power Symposium (NAPS 2021)

November 14 - 16, 2021

Brad Jones

Interim President and Chief Executive Officer

Brad Jones joined ERCOT in May 2021 as Interim President and CEO. He has over 30 years of experience in the competitive electric industry including leading two of the nation’s largest electricity grids, establishing one of the first competitive electricity markets in the United States, and leading the development and expansion of electric generation facilities in Texas.

Presentation: Restoring Trust

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Dan Smith

Vice President
Transmission System Operations

Dan joined the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in September 2019 as the Vice President of Transmission System Operations where he leads the Operations, SCADA EMS, and System Control teams for the 2nd largest transmission company in Texas.  Prior to joining LCRA, Dan was the Vice President of Electric Service Delivery with Austin Energy responsible for leading the Transmission & Distribution business unit.  Other prior roles at Austin Energy included the Director of Smart Grid & System Operations, the Director of Transmission & Substation, and the Engineering Manager of Substation and Relay Engineering.  Prior to joining Austin Energy, Dan worked for Advanced Micro Devices in Austin, Texas and Dresden, Germany leading Site Electrical & Mechanical Engineering.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A & M University, has completed a number of graduate and post graduate courses, is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, a Member of IEEE, and has presented and authored numerous papers at technical conferences and educational venues.  Dan is passionate about company transformation that starts and is rooted in safety.

Presentation:  Transmission Resilience in Light of Winter Storm Uri

Julie Cohn

Research Historian, UH Center for Public Policy
Nonresident Scholar, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

Julie A. Cohn, Ph.D., is a research historian in the Center for Public History at the University of Houston and a non-resident scholar at the Center for Energy Studies in Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Her work focuses on energy infrastructures, environmental history, technological change, and the relationships between government, business, and the public. Cohn’s book, The Grid, Biography of an American Technology, examines the history of electrification in North America, and especially the story of how and why power companies chose to interconnect. Other recent publications include “Texas CREZ Lines: How Stakeholders Shape Major Energy Infrastructure Projects” (online, November 2020), and “Historical Cases for Contemporary Electricity Decisions” (online, February 2020), Center for Energy Studies, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; “When the Grid was the Grid: The History of North America’s Brief Coast-to-Coast Interconnected Machine,” Proceedings of the IEEE, January, 2019; “Utilities as Conservationists? The Paradox of Electrification During the Progressive Era in North America,” chapter in Green Capitalism? Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History, 2017; and “Data, Power, and Conservation: The Early Turn to Information Technologies to Manage Energy Resources,” Information and Culture, July 2017. The latter article received the 2018 Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize. Cohn holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Houston and both B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology from Stanford University.

Presentation: When the Grid was "The Grid": A Short History of Building Our Electric Power Networks