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A Man’s Perspective by Alan Ross

A Man’s Perspective by Alan Ross

Alan Ross, Editor in Chief of Transformer Technology and power industry expert with 27+ years of experience, shared his motives for supporting the Women in Power Systems community.

It always intrigues me that diversity, whether racial, ethnic or gender-based, is not intuitively apparent in the professional world, and it still requires leaders to make a conscious effort to support it. As the Editor in Chief and Community Curator of Transformer Technology, one of the Alliance Partners of Women in Power Systems (WPS), I can testify that it was a great commitment for us to go completely away from our comfort zone and dedicate the entire June issue of our magazine to Women in Power Systems at the behest of the Steering Committee led by Rachel Linke, Membership Manager for the Electric Power Reliability Alliance (EPRA) and my esteemed colleague.

I am thrilled with the incredible success of that issue and the outpouring of support for Women in Power Systems. What is it that distinguishes WPS among organizations such as IEEE’s Women in Engineering, CIGRE’s Women in Energy and others? Here is what Rachel shared with me recently when asked why the Steering Committee was so encouraged by the response to the June Special Edition:

It felt like the start of something new. We know there are other organizations that advocate for women in the engineering space but nothing for women in numerous other roles in the power system community. Using our abilities to share that knowledge and experience with the industry feels like the first step in something greater than ourselves.

– Rachel Linke, WPS Steering Committee Chair

We looked at women in leadership. It was a tough but necessary reality check. We saw that we weren’t making meaningful progress and it needed to change. We understood that improvements and advancements wouldn’t be made unless we held ourselves accountable. From that point, we have taken intentional steps to create fairness and equity in leadership. We continually focus on issues like work-life balance and supporting female college graduates to join the leadership pipeline.

Photo: Electric Power Reliability Alliance (EPRA)

The Department of Labor reports that there will be a 13% annual increase of roles in the trades profession within the power industry at an average of $65,000 starting wage, with many roles requiring no college degree and most being roles that require no previous experience. Women are encouraged to enter the educational track for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions, but not much has been done to encourage women in trade schools for developing the skills necessary to break into a traditionally male domain. I believe that Women in Power Systems can make a big difference there and I’d love to see the day that a “linewoman” becomes a natural and commonplace word in our industry.

Of everything that I have done in my professional life, I am most proud of supporting Women in Power Systems. I think that this organization will impact the future of our industry better than anything else.

For organizations committed to diversity within the power industry, I think it makes sense to not only preview women in their teams, but also to share with others the reasons for their commitment to gender parity in an industry that is too often associated with being a “man’s world”.

Photo: Transformer Technology
Download the free WPS November 2021 magazine issue “Building Networks” here.
Read the interview with the WPS Steering Committee here.