ATLANTA – It is with great sadness that NERC notes the passing of Michehl R. Gent on February 1, 2022. Gent had a long career of contributions during his tenure at NERC. He joined the organization, then called the National Electric Reliability Council, in 1980 as executive vice president and was elected president and CEO in 1982, a role that he held until his retirement in 2005.
Under his leadership, NERC staff grew from an organization of five people to more than 50 employees. He was at the forefront of the industry’s efforts to improve the protection of critical and cyber assets, both before and after September 11, 2001. He also led the technical investigations into the August 14, 2003, Northeast blackout and implementation of recommendations resulting from the investigation.
“Mike was totally dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the reliability and resilience of the North American electric grid during his almost 25 years of leadership at NERC,” said Roy Thilly, NERC Board of Trustees member and former Board chair. “He led the effort to transition the organization from a voluntary body to an entity with a fully independent Board charged by federal law with adopting and enforcing mandatory reliability standards in the public interest.”
In 1999, Gent launched the Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center under a request from the Department of Energy and agreed to serve as industry’s primary point of contact for the U.S. government on national security and critical infrastructure protection issues.
After his retirement, Gent served on the Board of Directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for many years.
“From day one, Mike was an amazing boss and mentor to me and the rest of the staff. His motto was ‘having fun being the best,’ and we lived that motto every day in everything we did,” said Dave Nevius, retired senior vice president of NERC, who worked with Gent for 25 years. “But more than that, Mike was my very best friend, golf partner and caddie, travel buddy, confidant, and best man at my wedding. Even after his retirement and return to San Diego, I stayed in close touch with Mike, speaking with him nearly every day. Just like his Texas Aggies, Mike will always be the ‘12th Man’ watching over NERC as it continues to keep the lights on throughout North America.”
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