Board of Trustees
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is governed by an twelve-member independent Board of Trustees. For information about each of the Board members see below.
 
 
 

 Board of Trustees Members

Kenneth W. DeFontes, Jr.
Chair
 
Kenneth W. DeFontes, Jr. was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2016.  Mr. DeFontes previously served as vice chair and chair-elect of the Board of Trustees and currently serves as an ex officio member of all committees and as an ESCC observer.
 
Mr. DeFontes served as president and chief executive officer of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) from 2004 to 2014, and prior to that served in a number of different positions at BGE beginning in 1971. While at BGE, he led a major transformation effort to position BGE for a fast-changing operating environment and future opportunities, implemented major investments in energy conservation, peak demand reduction and smart grid, and served as a witness in a number of regulatory matters before the Maryland Public Service Commission, as well as testifying before the Maryland General Assembly. 
 
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of BGE, Mr. DeFontes served on the Board of ReliabiltyFirst from 2006 to 2012, and on the Boards of a number of different organizations, including the Southeastern Electricity Exchange, the American Gas Association, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (where he also served as chair), the Greater Baltimore Committee, and St. Joseph Medical Center.
 
Mr. DeFontes earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree from Loyola College.

 
Robert G. Clarke
Vice Chair

Robert G. Clarke was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2013. Mr. Clarke is the chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and serves on the Corporate Governance and Human Resources and Enterprise-wide Risk Committees. Mr. Clarke previously served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees.
 
From 2000 to 2009, Mr. Clarke served as chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges. From 1999 to 2000, he served as interim chancellor. Prior to that, he served as president of Vermont Technical College.
 
Mr. Clarke served as member of the Board of Directors of Central Vermont Public Service and as chair of the Board of Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc. and Vermont Electric Transmission Company, Central Vermont affiliates, from 1997 to 2012. He was chair of the Board’s Audit Committee and a member of both the Executive and Corporate Governance Committees. Additionally, Mr. Clarke served on the Board of TD Banknorth Group, Inc. from 2003 to 2009. He also served as a director of the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation (a charitable giving foundation).
 
Mr. Clarke earned a bachelor’s in Occupational Education from Southern Illinois University, a master’s in Occupational Education from Central Washington State College, and a doctorate in Administration and Supervision from Lehigh University.

 
 
 
James B. Robb

James B. Robb assumed the role of NERC’s president and chief executive officer in April 2018.
 
Robb oversees NERC’s mission of assuring the reliability and security of the North American bulk power system. As president and CEO, Robb leads the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) responsible for key programs affecting approximately 1,400 bulk power system users, owners, and operators, including those programs focused on development of mandatory NERC Reliability Standards, the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program, situational awareness, event and risk analysis, reliability assessments and forecasting, and cyber and physical security. He is also responsible for the performance of the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and key government partnerships.
 
As CEO, he is the chair of the ERO Enterprise Executive Committee, which oversees the operations of the six Regional Entities that support the reliability mission across North America. From 2014 to 2018, Robb served as president and CEO of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) where he was responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of all of WECC’s activities.

Robb has more than 35 years of experience in the energy sector as an engineer, a consultant, and a senior executive. Prior to becoming WECC’s CEO, he held three major leadership roles in the industry at Northeast Utilities (now Eversource Energy) as senior vice president of Enterprise Planning and Development and Environmental Affairs; at Reliant Energy (now part of NRG Energy) as senior vice president of Retail Marketing for the competitive retail business in Texas and the Northeast; and at McKinsey & Company as a partner and the leader of the West Coast’s Energy and Natural Resource Practice.
 
During his 15-year career at McKinsey, he worked closely with prominent electric power companies in California, western Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and the Rocky Mountain states, as well as with some of the regions largest energy consumers. He also served clients in Western Europe, South America, and New Zealand. He has been a frequent speaker at industry events on the evolution of the electric power system, cyber security, integration of variable generation, and the increasing interdependency of electric and natural gas reliability.

Robb is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) and serves on the United States Energy Association Board as well as a NERC trustee. He has served on the boards of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, the Houston Symphony, where he chaired the Marketing Committee, the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and as a policy advisor to the Bay Area Economic Forum (a public-private partnership) in San Francisco.

Robb earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in Indiana and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
 
Jane Allen

Jane Allen was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in August 2020 and serves on the Compliance, Corporate Governance and Human Resources, and the Technology and Security Committees.
 
Ms. Allen is an experienced Board director, management consultant, and former utility executive. She had a distinguished 20-year career at Deloitte, where she was the partner in charge of the power and utilities management consulting practice and led the renewable energy practice worldwide. Her expertise is in corporate strategy and implementing large-scale transformational change, as well as governance of complex organizations. Ms. Allen served on Deloitte’s Management Committee and Board of Directors and was Deloitte’s first Chief Diversity Officer, establishing a number of important award-winning programs to advance diversity and inclusion in the firm and in the broader business community. 
 
After retiring from Deloitte, Ms. Allen joined Hydro One as senior vice president of Strategy & Innovation. She was responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the company and leading its innovation agenda. She developed new revenue streams, including an electric vehicle charging network and a behind-the- meter power generation offering for commercial and industrial customers.
 
She has been a Board member for many organizations, including the Energy Council of Canada, McMaster University, Oakville Enterprises/Oakville Hydro, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the National Ballet of Canada. 
 
Ms. Allen earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, summa cum laude, from McMaster University. She also attended executive programs at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Rotman School of Business. 
 
Ms. Allen has received the Catalyst Canada Honours Award for Diversity Leadership and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Corporate Leadership and has been named one of Canadas Top 100 Most Powerful Women and Top 25 Most Influential Women for multiple years.
George. S. Hawkins 
 
George S. Hawkins was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2015. Mr. Hawkins is the chair of the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee and serves on the Compliance and Nominating Committees as well as a new member mentor.
 
Mr. Hawkins most recently served as the chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) from 2009 to 2017. In his role, Mr. Hawkins launched an ambitious agenda to transform DC Water into a customer-oriented enterprise driving innovation and delivering improved value to its ratepayers. The core goal is to improve aging infrastructure while complying with stringent regulatory requirements. DC Water is implementing the $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project to nearly eliminate overflows of sewage and storm water to the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Rock Creek. DC Water is also nearing completion of a $470 million waste-to-energy program to help manage solids being removed from reclaimed water while generating 13 megawatts of green power. Finally, Mr. Hawkins tripled the rate of DC Water’s program to replace water and sewer infrastructure.
 
Prior to joining DC Water, Mr. Hawkins served as director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). Previously, he was the executive director of several non-profit organizations in New Jersey, including New Jersey Future, the Stony Brook Watershed Association, and the New Jersey Council of Watershed Associations. Mr. Hawkins held senior positions with the United States EPA and served then-Vice President Al Gore on the National Performance Review, playing an integral role in strengthening environmental protection programs at EPA and OSHA.
 
Mr. Hawkins began his career by practicing law for the Boston firm Ropes & Gray. He is a member of the Bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and cum laude from Harvard Law School. Since 1999, Mr. Hawkins has taught Environmental Law and Policy for the  Princeton Environment Institute at Princeton University. 

Larry  Irving
 
Larry Irving was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2021 and serves on the Enterprise-wide Risk, Finance and Audit, Nominating, and Technology and Security Committees.
 
Mr. Irving is president and CEO of the Irving Group, a consulting firm providing strategic advice and assistance to international telecommunications and information technology companies, investors, philanthropies and non-profit organizations. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Irving also served as vice president for Global Government Affairs for the Hewlett Company.
 
Prior to founding the Irving Group in 1999, Mr. Irving served for almost seven years as assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), where he was a principal advisor to the president, vice president, and secretary of Commerce on domestic and international telecommunications and information technology issues.
 
Mr. Irving was one of the principal architects and advocates of the Clinton Administration’s telecommunications and Internet policies, playing a key role in the administration’s successful efforts to reform U.S. telecommunications law. In large part due to his work to promote policies and develop programs to ensure access to advanced telecommunications and information technologies, Newsweek Magazine named Mr. Irving one of the fifty most influential persons in the Year of the Internet.
 
In 2019, Mr. Irving was elected to the Internet Hall of Fame for his pioneering efforts identifying the digital divide and advocating for domestic and international policies to increase more equitable access to the Internet and related technologies.  
 

Mr. Irving currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Education Networks of America, The Texas Tribune, and ReliabilityFirst Corporation. He also serves as a member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors for the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences of Northwestern University, the Board of Visitors for Stanford Law School, and as president of Northwestern’s Alumni Association.

 

He received his bachelor’s degree and an Alumni Merit Award for distinguished professional achievement from Northwestern University, where he is a Salute to Excellence Honoree of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association. He is also a graduate of Stanford University School of Law, where he was elected president of his graduating class and is a Stanford Associate.
 
Suzanne Keenan

Suzanne Keenan was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2018. Ms. Keenan is the chair of the Technology and Security Committee and serves on the Enterprise-wide Risk, Finance and Audit, and Nominating Committees. Ms. Keenan also serves as liaison to the Member Executives Committee.
 
Ms. Keenan served as the chief information officer and senior vice president for Wawa Inc., a leading East Coast retail chain with more than 750 stores and one of the largest privately held companies in the United States, from 2008 to 2017. In her role, she led the development and implementation of technology, process, and support strategies, as well as the creation and evolution of the company’s cyber security program.
 
Prior to joining Wawa, Ms. Keenan served in executive positions with Comcast Cable Communications, where she was responsible for Cable Human Resources and Customer Operations. Previously, she served in a series of positions with PECO Energy, including vice president of Customer and Marketing Services and roles focused on field services, reengineering and performance, regulatory performance, and emergency preparedness. 
 
Ms. Keenan’s community board roles have included board positions with the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, Greater Philadelphia’s Big Brother Big Sister organization, and Delaware Community College. Ms. Keenan joined Univest Financial’s board as of January 1, 2020, and serves on the advisory board for Boston Interactive. She is also a member of SAP’s Independent Executive Advisory Council.

Ms. Keenan received a bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and master’s degree in Health Physics from the University of Pittsburgh. Her honors include being named Penn State’s Nuclear Engineering Outstanding Alumni Lecturer for 1999 and Penn State’s Outstanding Engineering Alumna in 2000.                                                                                                    

 
 
 
 
 

 
Sue Kelly

Susan (Sue) Kelly was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2021 and serves on the Compliance, Finance and Audit, Nominating, and Technology and Security Committees.
 
Ms. Kelly previously served as president and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) from 2014 to 2019, where she led the national trade association serving public power utilities, having come to the organization in 2004 as its senior vice president of Policy Analysis and General Counsel responsible for APPA’s energy policy formulation and policy advocacy before FERC, the federal courts, and other governmental and industry policy forums. 
 
Ms. Kelly has served on a number committees, including the Steering Committee of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (2014 to 2019), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (2015 to 2019), the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (2008 to 2009 under the Bush Administration; 2012 to 2014 under the Obama Administration), and as the president of the Energy Bar Association (2010 to 2011). She was also a member of the E Source Advisory Board and served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Energy Workforce Development. She currently serves as chair of the Energy Bar Association Masters Council and has helped start a virtual mentoring program for Energy Bar Association members.

Ms. Kelly was named one of Washington’s “Most Powerful Women” in the November 2015 issue of Washingtonian magazine in the “Business, Labor, and Lobbying” category. In March 2017, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment. In January 2020, she received Public Utility Fortnightly’s Owen Young Award to honor her exceptional contributions to the electric utility industry.  

Ms. Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Economics from the University of Missouri and her juris doctorate from the George Washington University, both with high honors.
Robin E. Manning
 
Robin E. Manning was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2018. 
Mr. Manning is the chair of the Compliance Committee and serves on the Enterprise-wide Risk, Nominating, and the Technology and Security Committees. He also serves as a new member mentor.
 
Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Manning served as vice president of Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure for the Power Delivery and Utilization research sector at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He had overall management and technical responsibility for the annual research activities conducted by EPRI’s transmission and distribution programs in collaboration with its global membership.

Prior to joining EPRI, Mr. Manning served as an executive vice president with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 2008 to 2014, where he was responsible at different times during his tenure for external relations, shared services, and power systems operations, and served as Chief Energy Delivery Officer. Previously, he had been a vice president at Duke Energy, with responsibility for power delivery and gas transmission.

Mr. Manning served on the University of Houston Engineering Leadership Board and serves as immediate past president of the North Carolina State Engineering Foundation Board. He is also the president of One Heart Global Ministries, a non-profit ministry organization.

Mr. Manning received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University where he was recently named to the NC State Electrical and Computer Engineering Hall of Fame. He also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jim Piro
 
Jim Piro was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2020. Mr. Piro serves on the Enterprise-wide Risk, Finance and Audit, and Nominating Committees. He also serves as liaison to the Standards Committee and Reliability and Security Technical Committee.
 
Mr. Piro served as president and CEO for Portland General Electric (PGE) from 2009 up to his retirement at the end of 2017. His tenure as CEO is noted for an unwavering commitment to public and employee safety, operational excellence, business growth, and giving back to the community.
 
Mr. Piro began his 43-year career in the energy industry in 1974 as a civil engineer designing transmission towers for Pacific Gas and Electric. Joining PGE in 1980, he worked his way through the company, first as an engineer at the Trojan Nuclear Plant, then in thermal plants. Eventually, he transferred into the rates and regulatory area. From 1998 to 2000, Jim was responsible for business development during the heady days of non-regulated growth for most utility companies. In 2000, he was appointed as executive vice president and chief financial officer and served in this role for eight years.
 
Throughout his career, Mr. Piro has been an advocate for smart energy solutions, a healthy state economy, and improved educational outcomes. He has served on local, state level, and national boards for a number of organizations, including: the Edison Electric Institute (as co-chair of the Electrification of Transportation Committee and member of the Policy Committee on Reliability, Security & Business Continuity); the Transportation Electrification Coalition, the Oregon Global Warming Commission; the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Investment Council (as chair); the Oregon Business Council; All Hands Raised; Cradle to Career; Greater Portland Inc. (as chair); Oregon State University Foundation; and the PGE Foundation.

Mr. Piro earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural Engineering from Oregon State University and was inducted into the OSU Engineering Hall of Fame in 2018.
Colleen Sidford

Colleen Sidford was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2019. Ms. Sidford is the chair of the Enterprise-wide Risk Committee and serves on the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee and the Nominating Committee. She also serves as the international liaison.
 
Ms. Sidford most recently served, from 2003 until 2013, in a series of roles with Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG), including vice president and chief investment officer, vice president and treasurer, and assistant treasurer. In those roles, she had responsibilities that included oversight of more than $30 billion of assets that comprised OPG’s Pension Fund, along with the assets of the Nuclear Used Fuel Fund and Nuclear Decommissioning Fund. In her treasury roles, Ms. Sidford’s responsibilities included corporate finance, risk management and insurance, and treasury group operations.
 
Prior to joining OPG, Ms. Sidford founded and operated a financial services consulting company based in Europe, served as an executive with The Molson Companies and with Bank of America, and held a variety of positions with the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Ms. Sidford has substantial service experience in Canada and Europe, including serving on the boards of Meridian Credit Union, Boilermaker’s National Pension Fund, Health and Welfare Benefits Fund, Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, and Invesco Canada Ltd. She also provided investment advisory services to CBRE Calderon Capital LLP. Ms. Sidford previously served as the president of Women in Nuclear Canada for two terms and held board positions with European affiliates of Bombardier Inc., the European Mutual Association of Nuclear Insurers, and CUBE Infrastructure Fund.
 
 
 
 
Roy Thilly

Roy Thilly was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2011. He served as vice chair and chair-elect in 2016 and as chair from 2017 to February 2021. Mr. Thilly is chair of the Nominating Committee and serves on the Compliance Committee and the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee.
 
Mr. Thilly served as president and chief executive officer with WPPI Energy from January 1, 1992, to January 31, 2011. WPPI Energy is a bulk power utility with 51 municipal utility member systems located in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan. He also served from 2001 through 2010 on the Board of Directors of the American Transmission Company.
 
Before joining WPPI Energy, Mr. Thilly was a partner in the Madison law firm of Boardman, Suhr, Curry, and Field, where he represented municipal utilities from several states and other clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in power supply negotiations and general litigation.
 
A native of New York, Mr. Thilly completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Columbia University in 1968. For the following three years, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. Mr. Thilly graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1974.
 
Mr. Thilly has been active on national and state electric issues for many years. He previously served on NERC’s Board from 1991–2002. From 2011 to 2013, he chaired the Stakeholder Steering Committee of the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, helping to oversee the development of an interconnection-wide transmission planning process. In 2014, the secretary of energy appointed Mr. Thilly to the Department of Energy’s Electric Advisory Committee.
 
Mr. Thilly is a past president of the American Public Power Association and of the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool (MAPP) and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Reliability Organization. From 1992 through 2010, he served as chair of the Transmission Access Policy Study Group (TAPS), a national organization of transmission-dependent utilities that promotes equal access and competition in electricity at wholesale.
 
On the state level, he served as co-chair of the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming in 2007 and 2008. In 2004, he served on the Governor’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. He is past chair of Gathering Waters Conservancy, Wisconsin’s alliance of land trusts, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Door County Land Trust and chair of its endowment.