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ATC’s McKee aims to educate policymakers, regulators with WIRES role

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Bob McKee

American Transmission Co.’s Manager of Regulatory Relations and Policy, Bob McKee, has accepted the position of president at WIRES, a non-profit group of electric transmission owners, investors, RTOs, consultants and other entities. The group’s function is to advocate for the development of transmission on behalf of its members.

It’s a position McKee calls “a great platform for ATC to address national policy issues that impact us.”

McKee has been the company’s main representative for WIRES for about two years. He collaborates on developing positions ATC takes at WIRES with WIRES members and Randy Satterfield, executive vice president business development, Tom Finco, vice president of external affairs and John Garvin, state government relations manager, and others regarding federal affairs throughout the transmission industry.

McKee served as the group’s vice president last year and was in line to become president-elect in 2016 before a change in leadership bumped him to president. He will serve as president through the end of 2016.

McKee stressed that while WIRES isn’t officially an “advocacy” group nor “lobbies,” it educates policy makers, regulators and other key external stakeholders about the benefit of transmission and weighs in on the policy debate in proceedings as FERC and other regulators and in Congress to support the development of transmission.

An example of that is when WIRES in 2015 raised the need for states when developing compliance plans for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to consider transmission to be viewed as part of the solution and to ensure that reliability of the transmission system to preserved, McKee said. That issue is beginning to gain national traction.

“WIRES was one of a just a few voices for transmission in this conversation about the Clean Power Plan,” he said. “Advancing ATC’s position on a national front provides value to us.”

The group meets in person four times per year, but also conducts monthly meetings to discuss business items and policy initiatives. WIRES also has various committees that McKee and others on his team participate in that undertake projects such as one that is developing a new communications plan addressing what messages WIRES should be conveying about the benefits of transmission, who the group should be talking to and in which forums.

As president, McKee is responsible for guiding the organization, ensuring the group is meeting its objectives, overseeing meetings and otherwise serving members.

”Identifying and working with the other officers and the WIRES board to determine the efforts we want to undertake, what objectives we have and overall, what we want to accomplish this year is a very exciting part of being named president of this organization,” McKee said.