Kevin Wood: Engineering a Brighter Future

Professional Certificate, Stanford Strategic Decision and Risk Management

When the California Public Utilities Commission asked the state's utilities to update their electricity metering systems, Southern California Edison (SCE) began an in-depth probe to develop a reliable and cost-effective solution to prevent overuse of the power grid during peak energy usage times.  Leading the charge to select the meter and communications system fell to Kevin Wood, manager of the system design.

"I very much appreciated the selective caliber of the students which made for fast-paced learning and good quality dialogue."

  • Tariff Programs and Services Manager, Systems and Technology, Southern California Edison
  • Edison SmartConnect™ System Design Manager
  • Strategic Decision and Risk Management Certificate Program, Stanford University
  • BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
  • Interests include hiking, running, reading, and taking "unusual" family vacations

"We were in the middle of making some significant decisions related to our advanced metering infrastructure program including the selection of a telecommunications and metering system which would cost close to a billion dollars," says Wood of her decision to enroll in the Strategic Decision and Risk Management certificate program.  "I wanted to seek some insight and education on making such decisions.  Through the program, I learned to be careful about making decisions based on my intuition and instead approach decision-making more analytically."

Wood's team, confronted with current electric meters - mechanical devices that only record the total amount of electricity used during a given period -collaborated with meter manufacturers to innovate solid-state metering and communications. The result is Edison SmartConnectTM, an award-winning metering system that offers customers the ability to monitor and limit energy usage. The new system encourages responsible energy consumption and promotes the sustainability of existing power infrastructures. It also delivers on the SCE strategy to modernize its infrastructure with smart technologies and continue to provide a catalyst for industry innovation by leveraging a new generation of computing and telecommunications technologies.

Participating in courses when they were offered at Stanford allowed Wood to conserve her own energy, "I took the courses over 2 ½ years which made it less impactful to family and work life. For me, learning at Stanford was the best way for me to separate from the rest of my work and concentrate on school." Wood completed the Strategic Decision and Risk Management certificate program in March 2008.

"The best part of the program was by far the high quality of the instructors. I felt very privileged to be taught by them. I also very much appreciated the selective caliber of the students which made for fast-paced learning and good quality dialogue," says Wood. "The interactions with the instructors and students as well as the team exercises were invaluable to learning as well as stimulating and fun."