Eighteen years after coming to work for a Knoxville spin-off of the Electric Power Research Institute, Mike Howard will soon be EPRI’s president and CEO.

EPRIEighteen years after coming to work for a Knoxville spin-off of the Electric Power Research Institute, Mike Howard will soon be EPRI’s president and CEO.

Howard, a University of Tennessee graduate and EPRI’s current senior vice president of research and development, will take the position in September, following the retirement of president and CEO Steve Specker, EPRI announced Monday.

EPRI, a nonprofit research organization for the electric power industry, has principal research labs in Knoxville, Palo Alto, Calif., and Charlotte, N.C., and serves 90 percent of the power generation industry in the U.S. along with power providers in 40 foreign countries. EPRI employs about 125 people in Knoxville and 775 companywide.

“In the role that I’m in at EPRI … I’ve had to have the perspective of the entire industry,” said Howard in a telephone interview Monday. “What are the issues that we need to be working on, whether it’s nuclear, electric power vehicles, renewables. … It’s a perfect transition. It’s really to just keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Howard came to Knoxville in 1992 as head of the Tennessee Center for Research and Development, which, under Howard’s leadership, morphed into EPRI PEAC — Power Electronics Applications Center; was reorganized with three other research firms to become EPRI Solutions and, finally, became a formal research center within EPRI itself.

Howard, who said he would work from home bases in Charlotte and Knoxville in his new position, said EPRI’s local office will continue to play an important role in the organization’s R&D activities. EPRI’s presence, together with TVA and ORNL, makes the region an important research hub for a variety of power-related projects, said Tom Key, director of ORNL’s energy efficiency and electricity technologies program, and he said those partnerships should continue and grow under Howard’s leadership.

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Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
Photo: EPRI