The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 11, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 30.
Next is Climate Change Industry Executive of the Year (Public Company) finalist Bill Johnson, who’s senior vice president and operations manager of the Energy, Infrastructure and Automation Operation of Leidos. Here, he talks key achievements, primary focus areas going forward, success in his current role and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
In 2021/2022, our organization grew in several key areas. We expanded our support of Texas and California utilities to improve the reliability and safety of the electric grid as they recover from and prepare for future severe weather events. We also helped grow our support of several utilities who expanded their energy efficiency programs, enabling them to achieve electric and natural gas use reductions.
Our team also significantly expanded our services related to vehicle electrification ⏤ from assisting auto makers with electric vehicle production to assisting clients that operate vehicle fleets through the creation and implementation of electrification strategies. We also began helping electric utilities plan for more dynamic load requirements as increasing numbers of EVs are requiring power to charge.
Like nearly all companies, Leidos was also forced to adjust during the pandemic. Today, we offer a more flexible work model for our organization which has improved our team’s professional satisfaction.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Over the last several years we’ve worked to create a strong leadership team. The sustained growth of our organization has created many opportunities for leadership development. We’ve focused on mentoring, training and planning for future leadership needs. With over 700 additions to our team in the last 24 months, leadership is critical in meeting client needs and in keeping our team engaged.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
Our team is not afraid to take on hard problems and solve them for our clients. Part of my role is to approve proposals before submitting them for client evaluation. Every week, our team finds creative solutions to solve complex problems, improve efficiency or accommodate client needs. Many of our clients are under pressure from their customers and various regulators. When I meet with clients, I am always proud to hear that our team was part of solving a client challenge.
What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
Electric grid reliability, grid security and vehicle electrification are three primary focus areas. Enabling utility clients to harden the electric grid against the impacts of climate change and security threats is imperative. The human and economic impact of power outages is massive, and utilities are investing in really large improvement projects to make the electric grid more resilient. Vehicle electrification is a mega-trend which introduces complexity for utilities as they plan for a much higher electric load while also seeking to achieve sustainability commitments.