Recognizing Military Veterans Across Utilities: Price Marr of MISO Energy on the Lessons Military Service Brought to the Power Sector- [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Interview]

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To celebrate Veterans Day this upcoming Friday, November 11th, the Energy Central Community Team will be shining a light on the many outstanding utility professionals in our network who also spent time in the military.  This week, we'll be featuring interviews with these veterans sharing how they found their way into the industry. We will also highlight their unique perspectives of the industry and how they are influencing the utility space.  

All the interviews will be collected at this special Veterans Day 2022 topic tag.

To all the veterans in the Energy Central Community, we want to say thank you for your service and we wish you a Happy Veterans Day. 

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Price Marr trained as an engineer, but served as a US Infantry Captain from 1986-91, including experiencing combat in the First Gulf War. In his long career in the energy industry he has worked for Mobil Oil, been a management consultant, and is now Executive Director – Standards & Assurance for Miso Energy.

Price says, “The two things I learned as an infantry officer at a young, very impressionable age, I still use: the ability to assess a situation fairly quickly, whether it's an operational issue, or a planning issue. Then determine a path forward. The military are extremely good at that.

“The other is, I would say, understanding people. I've been able to apply that today. Having seen people at their best and, in some instances, not so very best, I can understand how human beings act, whether in a stressful situation or not.”

Price graduated with an engineering degree, but volunteered for the infantry, and when he left the service, his first job was with Mobil Oil in California. He found it challenging but a valuable experience. During the mid-90s the utility sector was experiencing a lot of changes, with many mergers and acquisitions. Price moved into management consulting, first for Arthur Anderson, then Deloitte. He was involved in restructuring various companies. “I was participating in some of the restructuring down at the state level which I found pretty interesting because here in the US it's still fifty different experiments. Some states have chosen to unbundle, some states haven't. Some utilities are members of ISOs and RTOs and some aren't.” He comments that there is continuing change in the sector and that doesn't look like ending.

His current job is for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) which spans from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian province of Manitoba, and has around 42 million customers. Like many utilities the company is grappling with the challenges of retiring old and inefficient power plants, while adding renewables and storage to the network. He jokes, “We're flying the plane and rebuilding it at the same time.”

Price suggests that a prime skill familiar to all former military is making decisions with insufficient information, and then adapting this plan as the situation changes. “That is a prized value of virtually anybody who serves in any one of the military services.”

He predicts that the future holds more renewables coming into the system, he also expects technological advances around storage. In terms of opportunities for ex-military personnel entering today's utility industry he thinks that adaptability and project management skills are always going to be in demand.

Price continues, “In the last, say five years the interest from a societal point of view has increased drastically. It used to be folks would flip the light switch and if the lights came on, nobody thought about it. Now people are asking, what is the source of power for that, is it green, is it environmentally friendly? That is something I certainly didn't contemplate 30 years ago when I was making a move into this space. That's a big difference between then and now.”

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Nov 9, 2022

We are in your great debt for your sacrifice and service. Thanks.

Chris Jones's picture
Chris Jones on Nov 9, 2022

It is because of all of those that do and have served, that I have the privilege to vote. Thank You.

Julian Jackson's picture
Thank Julian for the Post!
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