Our leadership team is passionate about ensuring the reliability and security of the Bulk Power System, while hiring and supporting top-caliber employees to support this mission. Learn more about our leadership team below.
President ＆ CEO
Mr. Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for providing leadership and oversight for the entirety of ReliabilityFirst (RF), one of the six federally recognized Regional Entities charged with setting and enforcing mandatory reliability standards and conducting assessments of the expected reliability performance of the Bulk Electric System in thirteen states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Gallagher has been in this role since RF’s inception, and he serves as a non-voting member of the RF Board of Directors.
Prior to joining RF in 2005, Mr. Gallagher was a senior executive at GridAmerica, LLC, the nation’s first multi-system independent transmission company. His background is squarely in electric system reliability, as he has also worked at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), where he was responsible for NERC’s compliance, standards, and reliability assessment programs. Prior to NERC, Mr. Gallagher worked in the electric power industry in a variety of engineering and leadership positions in electric system planning, system protection and system operations.
Mr. Gallagher received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Youngstown State University, and his MBA from Ashland University. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio, a graduate of the GE Power Systems Engineering School, and a former NERC-Certified System Operator. Mr. Gallagher was publicly elected to serve on the Governing Board of the Summit County Educational Service Center. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Vantage Aging, a non-profit that supports the needs of older adults wishing to age in place and live independently with dignity.
Senior Vice President, Reliability and Risk
Prior to joining RF in 2013, Mr. Craigo was a business partner and consultant, helping manufacturing companies improve their quality engineering and global strategic sourcing. He has held various leadership positions in quality assurance, global sourcing, and supplier development at Invacare Corporation, where he was responsible for product quality, supplier development and new product process audits within a federally regulated (FDA) environment. Prior to Invacare, Mr. Craigo held various progressing leadership positions in supplier development, quality assurance, manufacturing, and program management at Eaton Corporation. He has extensive experience in quality system and business process audits as well as managing the implementation of leading quality and manufacturing continuous improvement initiatives.
Mr. Craigo received his Bachelor of Science in industrial & systems engineering from Ohio University. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Lorain County Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that builds homes in partnership with families in need of affordable housing.
Vice President and General Counsel
Prior to returning to RF in this role in 2020, Ms. Schaefer served as counsel to senior leadership teams across multiple business units at Eaton Corporation, supporting more than $2 billion in revenue. Prior to Eaton, she served as Managing Enforcement Counsel at RF and led the Enforcement team in its work to enforce and ensure the mitigation of violations of the NERC Reliability Standards. Before working in the electric industry, she was a trial lawyer for a large Cleveland law firm litigating commercial and personal injury cases in state and federal courts.
Ms. Schaefer received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Cornell University, and her JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She was named to the 2020 Super Lawyers list by Cleveland Jewish News. Ms. Schaefer volunteers for University Hospital’s Partnership for Families and the American Heart Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Gathering Place, a non-profit that provides free therapeutic services to people with cancer and their loved ones.
Vice President, Entity Engagement and Corporate Services
Prior to joining RF in 2022, Ms. Holder was Vice President of Operations at Pennsylvania American Water, where she worked to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of clean drinking water for customers. She oversaw operations at more than 25 facilities in western Pennsylvania, ensuring regulatory compliance, managing operations budgets, and providing customer service. She also worked in the electric industry for nearly 30 years between Allegheny Power, FirstEnergy, and Duquesne Light Company. Her roles and experience include engineering, external affairs, operations, distribution and serving as a chief of staff.
Ms. Holder received her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Washington County, a non-profit that focuses on education, health, and financial stability for citizens of Washington County.
Vice President and Chief Security Officer
Prior to joining RF in 2021, Mr. Noel spent 10 years at FirstEnergy Corporation in various roles, where he worked in Cybersecurity Governance, the Security Operations Center, Security Technologies, and ultimately served as Manager of the Cybersecurity Organization. Prior to FirstEnergy, he worked in cybersecurity roles at PNC Bank and Cuyahoga Community College.
Mr. Noel received his Associate of Applied Science in accounting from Bryant & Stratton College, his Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Baldwin Wallace University, and his JD and MBA from Cleveland State University. He has held the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification since 2009. He is a member of the Baldwin Wallace University Computing Advisory Board.
Senior Director of Corporate Services
Prior to joining RF in 2021, Ms. Dowdell was the Sr. Director of Operations at the American Endowment Foundation, where she drove efficiency through process improvement and automation. Prior to that role, she served as Vice President of Operations at Asurint, then as Vice President of Enterprise Products. Ms. Dowdell has over 15 years of management experience, leading high performing teams and developing strategies to improve productivity while meeting operating and fiscal targets.
Ms. Dowdell received her Bachelor of Science in management from Indiana Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, which is one of Cuyahoga County’s largest emergency food providers and operates over 70 hunger centers. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Ryan and Nathan Hope Foundation, a non-profit that supports those struggling with mental health issues and addiction.
Director, Reliability Analysis
Prior to joining RF in 2013, Mr. Johnson was a Senior Information Security Consultant at the Federal Reserve System, where he coordinated cross functional teams in the assessment of Federal Reserve compliance with NIST standards. He came to RF with over 20 years of work experience in the cyber security field.
Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Science in business administration from John Carroll University and his Master of Science in Computer and Information Security/Information Assurance from DePaul University. He holds numerous certifications, including his CAP, CISA, CISSP, CRISC and PMP. Mr. Johnson is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Amateur Fall Baseball Federation, a national organization that combines baseball and leadership opportunities for youth. He also serves as the President of the Family Association of Magnificat Network at Magnificat High School.
Director, Legal and Enforcement
Prior to joining RF in 2014, she was a trial lawyer at a large law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. She handled a variety of cases, from contract disputes to product liability to consumer-protection cases, in state and federal courts and before administrative bodies. Prior to her work as a trial lawyer, Ms. Senk clerked for a law firm in Akron, Ohio, and was an extern for Judge John Adams in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Ms. Senk received her Bachelor of Arts in government and foreign affairs from Walsh University and her JD from The University of Akron School of Law. She is a member of the Ohio Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel, and she volunteers at Walsh University to help students prepare for law school. She also volunteers on various projects to serve unprivileged families and children in her community.
Director Entity Engagement
Prior to joining RF in 2014, Mr. Thiry was at FirstEnergy Corporation for 11 years in various positions, including in transmission operations. He also has a background in substation and transmission line design. In previous roles at RF, he has served as Manager of Compliance Monitoring and in the Events Analysis & Situational Awareness department.
Mr. Thiry received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University, and he holds a Professional Engineering License in the state of Ohio. He has served as President and as a member of the Board of Governors for The Ohio State University (OSU) Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland, a branch of the OSU Alumni Association that provides OSU scholarships to students from Northeast Ohio. Mr. Thiry also coaches grade-school football and basketball, and volunteers regularly in his community.
Director, Compliance Monitoring
In Mr. Thomas’s previous role at RF, he was the Senior Manager of CIP Compliance, responsible for planning, developing, and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the CIP Compliance Monitoring processes and team. Mr. Thomas has also worked in RF’s Compliance Monitoring Department as a CIP Auditor and in RF’s IT Department. Prior to joining RF in 2010, he worked for NCR Corporation with a focus on software engineering and systems development. Mr. Thomas has experience in numerous IT fields, including application and web development, security analysis, network security and management, vulnerability testing and analysis, and policy development.
He received his Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in management information systems from the University of Dayton. Mr. Thomas holds both his GIAC Information Security Professional (GISP) and GIAC Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership (GSTRT) Certifications. He is actively involved within his local community and children’s school.
Director, Engineering and Reliability Services
In Mr. Uhrin’s previous role at RF, he was the Director of Compliance Monitoring. He has also served as RF’s Manager of Compliance Services and Investigations. Mr. Uhrin has over 38 years of working experience in the electric utility industry. Prior to joining RF in 2007, he was the Manager of Dispatch and Operation for PJM Interconnection, LCC (PJM) in their West office, where he managed day-to-day operations of the Bulk Electric System. Before joining PJM, Mr. Uhrin held various positions with Allegheny Power as Operations Support Manager, Team Leader in Network Planning, and various engineering positions in Allegheny’s Operations and System Planning Groups.
Mr. Uhrin received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and he has taken MBA course work at Duquesne University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania and was a NERC Certified System Operator. Mr. Uhrin also volunteers regularly in his community.