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

 Board of Trustees Members

Roy Thilly - Chair

Roy Thilly was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2011 and was elected to chair in February 2017. He served as vice chair and chair-elect in 2016. Mr. Thilly serves as an Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) observer and as an ex officio member of all other Board committees.
 
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.
Kenneth W. DeFontes, Jr.
Chair-Elect and Vice Chair
 
Kenneth W. DeFontes, Jr. was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2016 and was elected to chair-elect and vice chair in February 2020. Mr. DeFontes is the chair of the Nominating Comittee and serves on the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee and the Technology and Security Committee. Mr. DeFontes previously served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees. 
 
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.
James B. Robb

James B. Robb assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of NERC in April 2018.
 
Mr. Robb oversees NERC’s mission of assuring the reliability and security of the North American bulk power system. As president and CEO, Mr. Robb directs key programs affecting more than 1,400 bulk power system owners, operators, and users, including mandatory NERC Reliability Standards, compliance monitoring, enforcement, situational awareness, event and risk analysis, reliability assessments and forecasting, cyber and physical security, and government relations. Mr. Robb also oversees the operations of the Regional Entities who support the reliability mission across North America.
 
From 2014 to 2018, Mr. 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.
 

Mr. Robb has more than 30 years of experience in the energy sector as an engineer, a consultant, and a senior executive. Prior to becoming WECC’s CEO in 2014, he held three major leadership roles in the industry at Northeast Utilities (now Eversource Energy) as senior vice president of Enterprise Planning and Development; at Reliant Energy (now part of NRG Energy) where he served as senior vice president of Retail Marketing for the competitive retail business in Texas and the Northeast; and at McKinsey & Company where he was 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 region’s largest energy consumers.

Mr. 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, Philadelphia, PA.

Robert G. Clarke

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, Enterprise-wide Risk, and Nominating 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.

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 Committee.
 
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.
 
 
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 the 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.
 
 
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 liaison to the Standards Committee and serves on the Compliance, Enterprise-wide Risk, Finance and Audit, and the Technology and Security Committees.
 
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 Compliance, Enterprise-wide Risk, Finance and Audit,  and Nominating Committees.
 
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.
Jan Schori
 
Jan Schori was elected to the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in February 2009. Ms. Schori is the chair of the Compliance Committee and serves on the Nominating Committee and the Technology and Security Committee. She also serves as the new member mentor.

Ms. Schori is the former general manager and chief executive officer of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the nation’s sixth largest publicly owned electric utility. During her 14 ½-year tenure as CEO, the utility earned a strong reputation for its renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, as well as being rated number one nationally in commercial customer satisfaction by JD Power & Associates her last two years there.
 
Ms. Schori is past chair of the American Public Power Association, the Large Public Power Council, and the California Municipal Utilities Association. She is also a past chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and served on the Board of the Alliance to Save Energy as well as the board of CalCEF (California Clean Energy Fund), a not-for-profit clean energy technologies investment fund, and the CalCEF Innovations Board.
 
She presently serves on the Climate Action Reserve's Board of Directors and executive committee (as audit committee chair), a nonprofit entity which develops greenhouse gas (GHG) emission protocols as well as tracks and registers GHG offset/reduction projects. She is also a member of the UC Davis School of Law's Environmental Policy Center Advisory Council.
 
She was recognized by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce with its 2008 Businesswoman of the Year award and by the Climate Action Reserve with its 2012 Climate Action Champion award. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her juris doctorate from the University of California, Davis. Prior to serving as general manager and CEO at SMUD, she spent 15 years on the legal staff there, including five as general counsel. She is a member of the California Bar Association.
 
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.