WPI Hires Industry Veteran to Head New Power Systems Engineering Program

Michael Ahern Brings More Than 30 Years of Experience to His Role as the First Director of One of the Largest Programs Offered Through WPI's Corporate and Professional Education Program
September 13, 2012

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) department of Corporate and Professional Education has hired Michael Ahern to be its first Director of Power Systems Engineering. Ahern has more than 30 years of experience with a range of responsibilities in the power systems industry.

Corporate and Professional Education (CPE) has offered power systems programs since 1999 in conjunction with WPI's Electrical and Computer Engineering department, and has a number of corporate customers in New England. Last year, WPI was asked to be the only online graduate program provider for the Energy Providers Coalition for Education. WPI is recognized by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. as a continuing education provider that adheres to NERC Continuing Education Program criteria.

"I am pleased and excited to introduce Mike Ahern as our first Director of Power Systems Engineering," said Stephen P. Flavin, Vice President for Academic and Corporate Development at WPI. "Our Power Systems program is one of Corporate and Professional Education's largest program areas, and we anticipate significant growth there. Mike brings solid industry credentials, and will be an outstanding asset to our corporate customers."

Prior to joining WPI, Ahern had served for seven years as vice president of utility services at Northeast Utilities. His experience includes transmission operations and planning, oversight and project engineering in nuclear power, distribution system engineering design and nuclear generating systems and operations. In his previous job, Ahern served as Northeast Utilities' representative on the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI's) Research Advisory Committee. EPRI is the international research institute of the electric utility industry. His participation included high level reviews of EPRI's annual research program.

While director of Northeast Utilities' Transmission Operations and Planning, Ahern was a member of the Northeast Power Coordinating Council's (NPCC's) Operations Task Force. NPCC is the regional coordinating council for New York, New England, Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. This Task Force proposes reliability standards and regularly meets with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). He has also served as a member of the advisory board of the University of Connecticut’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering.

While at Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut, Ahern served as a peer evaluator in both the engineering and maintenance disciplines through the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), a national organization of nuclear power plant owners. This role included visiting other power plants and assessing their performance.

Ahern earned a bachelor degree in civil engineering from WPI in 1978, a master’s in applied mechanics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1981 and a master's degree in business administration from RPI in 1987.