Powers’ career in the energy industry spans 41 years through his retirement in August 2017.
He most recently served as a senior adviser to AEP’s chairman and as chief operating officer, overseeing operations in areas including AEP’s utility units, regulated generation, competitive businesses, and physical and cyber security.
He also interacted frequently with AEP’s board of directors on business strategy, technology shifts, investment decisions, regulatory expectations and executive development.
He joined AEP in 1998 as senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, and steadily took on roles of greater responsibility. AEP is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.
“We are excited to welcome Bob to the board,” said Allete chairman, president and CEO Al Hodnik. “His values align well with Allete’s, as seen in AEP’s steady gains in environmental performance, safety and reliability, all accomplished alongside a corresponding increase in shareholder value. His personal integrity, diverse utility experience and strategic leadership — operationally, in the boardroom, and before regulators and Wall Street — will be valuable assets as Allete pursues its growth strategy while answering the nation’s call to transform its energy and water landscape.”
In addition to his positions at AEP, Powers also spent 16 years with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., rising to site vice president and plant manager at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station, and six years with the Tennessee Valley Authority as a health physicist.
Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Tufts University and a Master of Science degree in radiological hygiene from the environmental sciences and engineering department of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He has a national certification by the American Board of Health Physics, and earned senior reactor operator certification in 1991. In addition, he completed executive management programs run by the University of California – Berkeley and Duke University.
He is active in the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and is the former chairman of the board for the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), an EEI organization focused on recruiting technical talent to utilities