Phil Davis

Phil Davis

Over 35 years, I’ve worked for and with American utilities designing programs to inspire customers to be more aware and more efficient. Early on, I worked with a team from DOE and others to invent the home energy audit. Ultimately, I became Chief Operating Officer of a consulting company with 750 professionals, all devoted to the same thing, but for commercial and industrial clients as well. That matters because the experience taught what C-suite decision makers need to be effective, and how to develop solutions to support that goal.

Academic training in economics may seem an odd way to enter a field dominated by engineers, but it has value. Both professions love complex models, and they use computers in new and novel ways. Economics reminds us that true efficiency usually involves money – keeping as much as we can. Also, it offers strong insights on why people make the decisions that they do.

So my take on the electric industry and the evolving smart grid is a little different. I serve on some standards bodies, NIST and OASIS, and often am the wet blanket in discussions around carefully crafted proposals that make everyone happy except customers. After all, I have to come home to a wife that likes to be comfortable and kids that like electrically powered toys.

My service on the board of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning takes me away from the world of energy and into that of struggling families, and the small businesses and agencies that seek to help their preschoolers. It’s a reminder that the grid is a key foundation for all advanced societies and therefore a sacred trust.

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