EEI > Resources & Media > Newsroom > EEI Board of Directors Presents David K. Owens With Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award
EEI Board of Directors Presents David K. Owens With Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award
BOSTON (June 12, 2017) – The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Board of Directors today presented retiring EEI Executive Vice President David K. Owens with the Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the electric power industry throughout his distinguished career.  

“David Owens has been an invaluable leader for EEI for nearly four decades,” said EEI Chairman Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “Throughout his career, David has helped to shape critical public policies and has worked to achieve results that benefit EEI’s member companies and our customers. David also played a pivotal role in the industry’s response to Superstorm Sandy, serving as the embedded liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and helping to facilitate greater cooperation between the federal government and our industry. On behalf of EEI’s Board of Directors, I commend David on his tremendous career and dedication to our industry, and wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Owens began his career at EEI as director of rates and regulation in 1980, and he is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on electric power industry issues. As he gained responsibility throughout his career, Owens played a pivotal role in forging EEI strategy in every single major public policy debate, including wholesale and retail market restructuring, federal and state regulation, environmental regulation, grid modernization, and much more.

Throughout his career, Owens has led efforts to achieve favorable public policy results on a range of issues in Washington and in the states. He has frequently appeared before U.S. congressional committees and has testified in more than 50 proceedings on energy issues before state bodies. He also has lectured at universities across the nation and has made hundreds of presentations in business forums. 

“In so many ways, David Owens has been the heart and soul of this organization, and his legacy to EEI will be profound and enduring,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “David is a consensus builder and a terrific leader. He knows how to bring people together to tackle problems and coalesce around solutions. As Thomas Edison once said, ‘What you are will show in what you do.’ David embodies the spirit of those words and is truly deserving of this award. I am proud to have worked with him and to call him a friend.”

As the first African-American to hold an officer title at EEI, Owens always has been unfailingly generous with his time and knowledge, mentoring generations of young men and women in their own energy careers. He also was a driving force behind the founding of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and he almost singlehandedly helped resurrect a failing charter  school in the District of Columbia. “No one I know more strongly personifies the importance of giving back to the community than David Owens,” Kuhn said. 

Before joining EEI, Owens served as chief engineer of the Division of Corporate Regulation at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and later as an engineer in the Division of Rates and Corporate Regulation at the former Federal Power Commission, which preceded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Owens began his career as a design and test engineer for General Electric and Philadelphia Electric Companies.

Owens received both his Bachelors and Masters of Engineering degrees from Howard University. He also has a Masters in Engineering Administration from George Washington University, and attended executive courses at Howard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Michigan State University.

In January, Owens announced his plans to retire from EEI on June 30.
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