T&D World Magazine

Tom Damon: ‘The Future is Closer Than It Appears’

It is important to the vitality of any organization to maintain a balance between the day-to-day operations and the vision required to deliver on their stakeholders’ expectations for what the future might hold, according to Tom Damon, vice president of SAIC’s Smart Grid Solutions.

“The future always appears to be to be further away than it really is,” Damon said. He addressed the future yesterday in the expert panel discussion, Smart Grid Vision 2015, 2020, 2030, at the 2011 EnergyAxis conference, held in Bonita Springs, Florida. The panel discussed what may happen to the smart grid, how utilities can position themselves to take advantage of opportunities, what will drive consumers, which technologies will persist, and what the global energy marketplace will look like in the future.

“From time to time, it is important to make an effort to predict the future state of an industry by accessing the current state against past changes, and couple this assessment with current trends of the industry with the externalities presented by society, politics, and regulation within the global economy we live and work,” Damon said. “This type of assessment, when performed with a group of utilities, can be very beneficial in validating trends and developing new concepts for further consideration and deliberation.”

Damon has been around long enough to be able to help students or clients navigate the seas of uncertainty and doubt in making critical smart grid-related technology and business decisions for which they will be dependent on for years to come. He has spent more than 27 years assisting utilities with developing strategies and tactical requirements pertaining to workforce automation technology selections; process change management; and systems integration options and their impact on people, data, and technology management in solving business process issues for electric utilities.

Before joining SAIC, Damon worked with clients such as American Electric Power, Progress Energy, Allegheny Power, Energy East (part of Iberdrola), Entergy, NGrid, Kentucky Utilities (part of e.on), Pacific Gas and Electric, TVA, Central Vermont Public Service, Unitil, Maine Public Service, and Bangor Hydro.

“Having spent time working for American Electric Power and Progress Energy during the formative years of my career has proven time and time again to be of significant value in understanding and assisting clients with the difficult position they face,” he said.

Damon likes working with utilities, particularly when they truly care about the customer: “utility clients who understand the importance of their work and the benefits it provides to their community as well as society as a whole; employees who are just as dedicated today as those employees from 25, 50, or 100 years ago to delivering reliable service in a cost-effective manner to the end user, even when the end user may never truly appreciate the effort made in doing so.”

SAIC reaches out to utilities by facilitating sessions for knowledge sharing at the Autovation, Metering America, and DistribuTECH events. New in 2011, SAIC will be offering interested clients an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in a smaller learning environment though our ‘Smart Grid College’ series.

Damon said being a member of SAIC’s Smart Grid Solutions team provides an opportunity to work with and learn from utilities across the entire spectrum − from municipalities to cooperatives to investor owned utilities, including water, gas, and electric service. Assisting clients in developing smart grid strategies and technology roadmaps, which are focused on meeting their business requirements, provides an opportunity to work on solutions that deliver the functionality required to operate their systems today with the flexibility of adapting to the future.

Besides working with SAIC and utilities, Damon also enjoys golfing with his two sons who are in their 20s and who enjoy beating him from time to time.

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