From physics and semiconductors to bioelectronics and control theory, Paul Mauldin has studied and worked with challenging subject matter. But his gentle manner and inspiring dialogue make him a great communicator.
Mauldin has worked in the energy industry for more than 25 years, developing and implementing advanced energy delivery and control technologies. As research director for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., he pioneered methodologies used in the design, maintenance and control of energy delivery systems. As a consultant, he has provided guidance to utilities and the vendor community, nationally and internationally.
Mauldin has always enjoyed science, particularly physics, mathematics and chemistry. Initially he studied device physics during the semiconductor industry explosion. The University of California-Berkeley, where he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering, was right in the middle of it, he said.
Later, in graduate school, he went into bioelectronics and control theory on a NASA Fellowship. Then he saw some of the opportunities in the power industry, took a position in the R&D Department of PG&E, and never looked back. “It’s been a great ride,” he said.
Mauldin is now editor of Penton Media’s SmartEnergyPortal.net, a website providing quick and thorough access to the latest news and articles related to energy production, distribution and end use. He is also senior smart grid editor for Transmission & Distribution World magazine. He is teaching and reaching the industry through speaking, moderating, editing and writing.
Mauldin will moderate The Utility Keynote Forum at the Telecom Industry Association conference, TIA 2011: Inside the Network, May 17-20, in Dallas, Texas. The sessions will provide an opportunity for the telecom industry to get acquainted with some of the difficult issues facing utilities as they work through smart grid network challenges. Do utilities need multiple smart grid-related networks? Do they use public networks or private? What about network security? How can utilities avoid stranded assets and technology obsolescence? What’s the best way for utilities and telecoms to team up?
“Our keynote forum will have four industry experts. We’ll ask some hard questions, and I expect a lively discussion,” Mauldin said.
The industry is going through a revolution and smart grid is at the center of it, Mauldin said. “In the TIA Forum, I want to help utilities and telecoms hook up in mutually beneficial ways: Telecoms have a new, potentially lucrative market, and utilities need to hitch a ride on fast-moving technology and business cycles.”
In general, Mauldin wants students to be challenged and enthusiastic. “If you’re not, if you’re just riding the ferry boat to retirement, then you’re hurting yourself and your industry. Go find something that really turns you on.”
As editor of the Smart Energy Portal web site and newsletter, Mauldin sees the electric utility industry as a whole, both public and privately owned companies, warts and all, he said. This experience and knowledge comes through in his presentations. Through his position as senior smart grid editor at T&D World, he meets energy and telecom industry leaders who are shaping the nation’s, and maybe the world’s, future utility structure.
“I get to satisfy my curiosity on just about any topic related to energy – T&D, generation, end use, communications, you name it,” he said.
Mauldin’s teaching experience includes a number of circuit classes in graduate school. He has also worked with underprivileged kids in the Bay Area, teaching some fun, basic electronics. Over the years he has made presentations on the future of the utility industry to audiences of varying technical background and he has taught several technical courses. More recently he has enjoyed moderating webcasts.
When he is not communicating to the industry, he and his wife do a lot of volunteer work in the community and of course, they communicate and visit with their children and grandchildren as often as they can. They are both Colorado Master Gardeners and do a lot of community teaching/service related to growing things in the tough Colorado climate.
Mauldin also plays guitar and Irish whistle as a hobby, and plays old time clawhammer banjo with some informal groups. He hikes in the mountains as often as he can and enjoys photography.