I began my career at PSEG on Oct. 1, 2012. Little did I know that less than a month later, I would live through an experience that would change the company, the state and the industry. I joined the State Government Affairs team as state energy policy manager and was going through the usual onboarding of a new hire – everything from the procedural (time entry, benefits, meeting everyone on the team), to the substantive (what are the key energy policy issues facing the state, how we advocate PSEG’s important role with our external stakeholders). Then, the storm of a century came…
Suddenly, it felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool. At the time, it felt like I barely had a chance to learn where my office was or remember all my team member’s names. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in a room every morning with then PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo and PSE&G COO Ralph LaRossa.
I was embedded in the lower levels of PSEG corporate headquarters, which we called “the bunker,” for two weeks and served as the liaison for my public affairs colleagues in the field. My role was to provide data that would be used to update public officials and to receive data from the community regarding key sites in need of restoration. To say I got a “crash course” in the energy industry would be an understatement.
Recently, PSEG was honored with the Edison Award, in large part due to our work on Energy Strong. Sandy was an eye opener for us that our energy infrastructure had to not just be more reliable, but also more resilient. It was one of the first real times we had seen the impacts of extreme weather and was a primary driver for Energy Strong. Even at the time, we knew that it would not be a onetime event. Yes, Sandy was the storm of the century, but think about all the large storms we’ve had since.
Working at PSEG through Sandy was the experience of a lifetime. As I think back 10 years, if there is one moment that captures this journey it is the following. During a briefing call with one of our public officials and senior management, I had the privilege to listen in on the discussion as the public affairs liaison. As we were waiting for the official to log in, Ralph LaRossa looked over at me. He remembered that I had just started at the company and said, “One heckuva learning curve, huh?”