​By Philip Reed​

In late September, Supervisory Power System Dispatcher Christine Henry received the Industry Leadership Award from RMEL, formerly the Rocky Mountain Electrical League.

“The Industry Leadership Award recognizes an individual whose leadership has made con­tributions that have made an impact within their organization,” according to RMEL. “Recipients usually have more than 10 years of experience in the industry. These individuals are often active in various industry affiliations, associations and/or organizations that serve the electric energy industry.”

Closed Circuit sat down with Henry to discuss the award.

Tell us a little bit about your background and what ulti­mately brought you to WAPA.

I began in the industry in 1990 at a small utility in southern New Jersey. I moved to California in 1997 to pursue an offer to assist in the startup of the California Independent System Operator. I held several positions there, includ­ing grid operations shift manager and manager of markets.

I was interested in returning to operations and was offered a position at WAPA in Sierra Nevada. I was hired as a transmission and switching operations dispatcher in 2006. After a year, I transferred to the automatic generation control dispatch position. In 2008, I was awarded the transmission and switching operations dispatcher supervisory position.

Describe your role at WAPA.

I provide support to our dis­patch staff and to our customers related to transmission services. The transmission and switching operations dispatchers coordinate the daily activities of the work being performed by our maintenance staff and customers. Our primary focus is to maintain the safety and reliability of the grid. I interact regularly with customers to provide assistance to meet their needs and I work closely with management to achieve our corporate goals.

I have led multiple projects at SN and coordinated efforts for the control room operations during wildfire events. I am an active mem­ber of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee as well as an instructor. Also, I have been a chairperson for our current energy management system vendor and am an active participant in WAPA’s Common EMS project.

How does it feel to be recognized this way by RMEL?

It was quite a surprise. It is nice to know that I am respected by my peers and management. It has been an honor to serve in many aspects of our industry, as well as RMEL.

What has been your experience working with RMEL?

I presented at the RMEL Transmission Resiliency, Response and Restoration Symposium in 2019 in Golden, Colorado. I also deliv­ered the lessons learned from the Carr Fire in 2018.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I am grateful to have the many opportunities that I have been able to pursue at WAPA, within my area of responsibility and beyond. I have managed several projects including migrations to new and upgraded EMS projects, phone systems and training programs.

Although it was some time ago, I am proud of my role in coordinating the transformation of our outdated Alternate Control Center to our cur­rent one. Hands down, this was an accomplishment for many reasons and quite rewarding.

What is your personal philosophy of leadership?

A good leader listens and observes. They allow personnel to try new avenues to tackle new chal­lenges. Having a positive attitude with a touch of appropriate humor goes a long way. Being transparent with communication, having an intuition for emotional intelligence and providing a psychologically safe environment is critical.

Finally, honesty and integrity are invaluable in leading a highly functional team. Applying WAPA’s core values are a great way to enable a leader to be effective and valued.

What is one piece of advice you have for WAPA employees wishing to grow and develop as leaders?

Find a mentor. Take your time and watch leaders whose style you can relate to, who are successful and who can bring people together to work toward a common goal.

Are there any other thoughts you would like to share?

Be consistent in the workplace and be true to the values that are important to you. Always remember to allow yourself to acknowledge your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Do what you enjoy and you will be successful.

Note: Reed is a public affairs specialist.

Last modified on September 12th, 2023