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Leadership

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Our leadership team is passionate about ensuring the reliability and security of the Bulk Power System, and hiring and supporting top-caliber employees to support our mission. Learn more about our team below. 

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Tim Gallagherhttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=4Tim GallagherPresident & CEOMr. Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer of ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006. Prior to joining ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Gallagher was a senior executive at GridAmerica, LLC, the nation’s first multi-system independent transmission company. Mr. Gallagher’s background is centered squarely in electric system reliability, having spent time on the NERC staff where he was responsible for NERC’s compliance, standards, and reliability assessment programs during his tenure and from his employment in the electric power industry during which he worked in a variety of engineering and leadership positions in electric system planning, system protection and system operations. Mr. Gallagher is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio, a graduate of the GE Power Systems Engineering School, a former NERC-Certified System Operator and was publicly elected to serve on the Governing Board of the Summit County Educational Service Center.Mr. Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer of ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006. Prior to joining ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Gallagher was a senior executive at GridAmerica, LLC, the nation’s first multi-system independent transmission company. Mr. Gallagher’s background is centered squarely in electric system reliability, having spent time on the NERC staff where he was responsible for NERC’s compliance, standards, and reliability assessment programs during his tenure and from his employment in the electric power industry during which he worked in a variety of engineering and leadership positions in electric system planning, system protection and system operations. Mr. Gallagher is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio, a graduate of the GE Power Systems Engineering School, a former NERC-Certified System Operator and was publicly elected to serve on the Governing Board of the Summit County Educational Service Center.President & CEO0
Ray Palmierihttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=6Ray PalmieriSenior Vice President & TreasurerMr. Palmieri, Senior Vice President and Treasurer of ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006, with the Treasurer role since 2012. Mr. Palmieri is presently responsible for the leadership and implementation of the Reliability Engineering, IT and Finance functions, ensuring the NERC and ReliabilityFirst policies, procedures, and standards are adhered to such that reliability is maximized on the Bulk Power System. Mr. Palmieri has provided leadership of essentially all corporate functions through the inception and start-up of ReliabilityFirst; Mr. Palmieri was paramount in the development and implementation of the Compliance Enforcement Authority responsibilities. His leadership in all aspects of the corporation has driven the successes of ReliabilityFirst, along with the NERC Compliance Program evolution. Prior to the startup of ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Palmieri worked in the ECAR region for five years as Manager of Compliance.  Mr. Palmieri has worked with and chaired NERC teams including compliance, standards, registration, organization certification, and reliability coordination. Mr. Palmieri held various leadership positions in Operations, Engineering, and Support Functions for twenty-four years at the Nuclear Generation Facilities for Northeast Utilities and Exelon.  Mr. Palmieri held a Senior Reactor Operators license for 15 years. Mr. Palmieri graduated from New York Maritime College with a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine/Mechanical Engineering and holds an MBA in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Palmieri is a Professional Engineer in New York and Connecticut, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, past chairman and member of various Nuclear Industry Owners Groups, and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Mr. Palmieri held positions of President and board member of a multiple sports organizations for 20 years, and municipal Board of Finance for eight years.Mr. Palmieri, Senior Vice President and Treasurer of ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006, with the Treasurer role since 2012. Mr. Palmieri is presently responsible for the leadership and implementation of the Reliability Engineering, IT and Finance functions, ensuring the NERC and ReliabilityFirst policies, procedures, and standards are adhered to such that reliability is maximized on the Bulk Power System. Mr. Palmieri has provided leadership of essentially all corporate functions through the inception and start-up of ReliabilityFirst; Mr. Palmieri was paramount in the development and implementation of the Compliance Enforcement Authority responsibilities. His leadership in all aspects of the corporation has driven the successes of ReliabilityFirst, along with the NERC Compliance Program evolution. Prior to the startup of ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Palmieri worked in the ECAR region for five years as Manager of Compliance.  Mr. Palmieri has worked with and chaired NERC teams including compliance, standards, registration, organization certification, and reliability coordination. Mr. Palmieri held various leadership positions in Operations, Engineering, and Support Functions for twenty-four years at the Nuclear Generation Facilities for Northeast Utilities and Exelon.  Mr. Palmieri held a Senior Reactor Operators license for 15 years. Mr. Palmieri graduated from New York Maritime College with a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine/Mechanical Engineering and holds an MBA in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Palmieri is a Professional Engineer in New York and Connecticut, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, past chairman and member of various Nuclear Industry Owners Groups, and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Mr. Palmieri held positions of President and board member of a multiple sports organizations for 20 years, and municipal Board of Finance for eight years.Senior Vice President & Treasurer0
Jason Blakehttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=1Jason BlakeVice President and General CounselMr. Blake is Vice President and General Counsel of ReliabilityFirst and has been with the organization since 2010. He leads the Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement, and External Communications departments; serves on the CEO’s Executive Team; and is the organization’s Corporate Secretary. Mr. Blake leads with a commitment to operational excellence, innovation and continuous improvement, and deploying resources in an effective and efficient manner that adds value. He is likewise passionate about the professional growth and development of his team and enjoys supporting and mentoring staff across the organization. Prior to joining ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Blake developed broad business and regulatory experience through his private practice with large, corporate law firms located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio. He has written numerous published articles, including one that was commended by current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. He was also named an Ohio Super Lawyer – Rising Star. Mr. Blake is a graduate of the Ohio State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Pennsylvania and before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio and the Western District of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association for the Cleveland Metropolitan Area and enjoys volunteering to coach his children’s sports teams.Mr. Blake is Vice President and General Counsel of ReliabilityFirst and has been with the organization since 2010. He leads the Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement, and External Communications departments; serves on the CEO’s Executive Team; and is the organization’s Corporate Secretary. Mr. Blake leads with a commitment to operational excellence, innovation and continuous improvement, and deploying resources in an effective and efficient manner that adds value. He is likewise passionate about the professional growth and development of his team and enjoys supporting and mentoring staff across the organization. Prior to joining ReliabilityFirst, Mr. Blake developed broad business and regulatory experience through his private practice with large, corporate law firms located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio. He has written numerous published articles, including one that was commended by current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. He was also named an Ohio Super Lawyer – Rising Star. Mr. Blake is a graduate of the Ohio State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Pennsylvania and before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio and the Western District of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association for the Cleveland Metropolitan Area and enjoys volunteering to coach his children’s sports teams.Vice President and General Counsel0
Jeff Craigohttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=3Jeff CraigoVice President, Reliability AssuranceMr. Craigo is the Vice President of Reliability Assurance for ReliabilityFirst. Mr. Craigo is responsible for the reliability assurance organization at ReliabilityFirst.  He provides leadership to management and staff and provides input into risk analysis and entity development practices with grid reliability and security as the primary goal across the industry.   Mr. Craigo brings a diverse background in quality systems, manufacturing, strategic sourcing, supply chain, and leadership that span multiple industries, including the automotive, aerospace, electrical, hydraulics, and medical device industries.  Most recently, he served as a business partner and consultant, helping manufacturing companies improve their quality engineering and strategic sourcing initiatives.  Mr. Craigo’s previous experience includes various leadership positions in quality, global sourcing, and supplier development at Invacare Corporation, a medical equipment manufacturer, 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 control, and program management at Eaton Corporation, a diversified industrial manufacturer of electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power equipment and systems for the aerospace, automotive, electrical, filtration, hydraulics, and truck industries.  Mr. Craigo has extensive experience in quality system and business process audits governed along federal statutory guidelines as well as managing the implementation of leading quality and manufacturing initiatives found today within industry.    Mr. Craigo is a graduate of Ohio University, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering.Mr. Craigo is the Vice President of Reliability Assurance for ReliabilityFirst. Mr. Craigo is responsible for the reliability assurance organization at ReliabilityFirst.  He provides leadership to management and staff and provides input into risk analysis and entity development practices with grid reliability and security as the primary goal across the industry.   Mr. Craigo brings a diverse background in quality systems, manufacturing, strategic sourcing, supply chain, and leadership that span multiple industries, including the automotive, aerospace, electrical, hydraulics, and medical device industries.  Most recently, he served as a business partner and consultant, helping manufacturing companies improve their quality engineering and strategic sourcing initiatives.  Mr. Craigo’s previous experience includes various leadership positions in quality, global sourcing, and supplier development at Invacare Corporation, a medical equipment manufacturer, 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 control, and program management at Eaton Corporation, a diversified industrial manufacturer of electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power equipment and systems for the aerospace, automotive, electrical, filtration, hydraulics, and truck industries.  Mr. Craigo has extensive experience in quality system and business process audits governed along federal statutory guidelines as well as managing the implementation of leading quality and manufacturing initiatives found today within industry.    Mr. Craigo is a graduate of Ohio University, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering.Vice President, Reliability Assurance0
Larry Bughhttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=2Larry BughCSO & Director, EASA/Threat IdentificationMr. Bugh, Chief Security Officer and Director of Event Analysis and Situation Awareness for ReliabilityFirst, has held various positions at ReliabilityFirst since 2005. Mr. Bugh is the staff liaison for the ReliabilityFirst Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee and a member of the NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC.) Mr. Bugh participated in the drafting of the Urgent Action Cyber Security Standard (1200) and chaired the Standard Drafting Team for Version 1 of the Cyber Security Standards (CIP-002 thru CIP-009), the Version 1 Violation Severity Levels, Version 2 Violation Severity levels and Violation Risk Factors, and the Order 706B Implementation plan.   Mr. Bugh joined ReliabilityFirst in 2005 after serving as Manager, Information Technology for ECAR. Prior to his time at ECAR, Mr. Bugh worked in the planning department for Ohio Edison. Mr. Bugh holds an Associate degree in Electrical Engineering from Kent State University and a BA in Business Management from Malone College. Mr. Bugh is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.Mr. Bugh, Chief Security Officer and Director of Event Analysis and Situation Awareness for ReliabilityFirst, has held various positions at ReliabilityFirst since 2005. Mr. Bugh is the staff liaison for the ReliabilityFirst Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee and a member of the NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC.) Mr. Bugh participated in the drafting of the Urgent Action Cyber Security Standard (1200) and chaired the Standard Drafting Team for Version 1 of the Cyber Security Standards (CIP-002 thru CIP-009), the Version 1 Violation Severity Levels, Version 2 Violation Severity levels and Violation Risk Factors, and the Order 706B Implementation plan.   Mr. Bugh joined ReliabilityFirst in 2005 after serving as Manager, Information Technology for ECAR. Prior to his time at ECAR, Mr. Bugh worked in the planning department for Ohio Edison. Mr. Bugh holds an Associate degree in Electrical Engineering from Kent State University and a BA in Business Management from Malone College. Mr. Bugh is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.CSO & Director, EASA/Threat Identification0
Deandra Williams-Lewishttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=8Deandra Williams-LewisSenior Director of Organizational Development, Human Resources and EnforcementMs. Williams-Lewis, Director of Organizational Development, Human Resources and Enforcement for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since September 2015. Mrs. Deandra Williams-Lewis is primarily responsible for overseeing and ensuring the quality and timely resolution of all enforcement related activity; the identification of violation and risk trends identified in enforcement actions; and advocating for and advancing ReliabilityFirst’s enforcement activities and objectives externally. Mrs. Williams-Lewis is an attorney with a diverse background and expertise in contract negotiation, risk management, and championing environments where people can realize their full potential. Prior to joining Reliability First, Mrs. Williams-Lewis was the Global Compliance & Diversity Leader for GE Lighting where she previously held commercial and regulatory compliance counsel roles. She has also held positions of increasing responsibility at KPMG, BearingPoint, Altos Federal Group and Maxim Healthcare. Mrs. Williams-Lewis earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Hampton University in May 2000 and her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law in May 2003. She is a licensed attorney with the Washington DC Bar and retains Corporate Status with the Ohio Bar.   Mrs. Williams-Lewis is an active member in the community serving on the Board for the YWCA Greater Cleveland, and maintains active memberships with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links Incorporated, and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.  She also continues to mentor and coach students and professionals.Ms. Williams-Lewis, Director of Organizational Development, Human Resources and Enforcement for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since September 2015. Mrs. Deandra Williams-Lewis is primarily responsible for overseeing and ensuring the quality and timely resolution of all enforcement related activity; the identification of violation and risk trends identified in enforcement actions; and advocating for and advancing ReliabilityFirst’s enforcement activities and objectives externally. Mrs. Williams-Lewis is an attorney with a diverse background and expertise in contract negotiation, risk management, and championing environments where people can realize their full potential. Prior to joining Reliability First, Mrs. Williams-Lewis was the Global Compliance & Diversity Leader for GE Lighting where she previously held commercial and regulatory compliance counsel roles. She has also held positions of increasing responsibility at KPMG, BearingPoint, Altos Federal Group and Maxim Healthcare. Mrs. Williams-Lewis earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Hampton University in May 2000 and her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law in May 2003. She is a licensed attorney with the Washington DC Bar and retains Corporate Status with the Ohio Bar.   Mrs. Williams-Lewis is an active member in the community serving on the Board for the YWCA Greater Cleveland, and maintains active memberships with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links Incorporated, and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.  She also continues to mentor and coach students and professionals.Senior Director of Organizational Development, Human Resources and Enforcement0
Jeff Mitchellhttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=5Jeff MitchellDirector, Reliability Assessment & Performance AnalysisMr. Mitchell, Director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006.  Mr. Mitchell oversees the regional resource and transmission reliability assessments and has served as the past chair of the NERC Planning Committee and the Eastern Interconnection Reliability Assessment Group (ERAG) Management Committee.    Mr. Mitchell also led the effort to develop the ReliabilityFirst Bulk Electric System (BES) definition in 2007 and helped to develop the new NERC BES definition as part of the Standard Drafting Team work that finished in 2014 with the approval of the new NERC definition by FERC.  He has also been involved with BES interpretations to the ReliabilityFirst definition over the years.   Previously, Mr. Mitchell had over eight years experience with ECAR as Manager of Transmission Services and Senior Engineer supporting the planning, protection, and equipment activities within the region.   Prior to joining ECAR, Mr. Mitchell worked for the Ohio Edison Company (now part of FirstEnergy) for over 17 years in various positions, including experience in transmission planning and distribution protection.  Mr. Mitchell is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio and Pennsylvania and received his BSET degree from the University of Akron.Mr. Mitchell, Director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since its inception in January 2006.  Mr. Mitchell oversees the regional resource and transmission reliability assessments and has served as the past chair of the NERC Planning Committee and the Eastern Interconnection Reliability Assessment Group (ERAG) Management Committee.    Mr. Mitchell also led the effort to develop the ReliabilityFirst Bulk Electric System (BES) definition in 2007 and helped to develop the new NERC BES definition as part of the Standard Drafting Team work that finished in 2014 with the approval of the new NERC definition by FERC.  He has also been involved with BES interpretations to the ReliabilityFirst definition over the years.   Previously, Mr. Mitchell had over eight years experience with ECAR as Manager of Transmission Services and Senior Engineer supporting the planning, protection, and equipment activities within the region.   Prior to joining ECAR, Mr. Mitchell worked for the Ohio Edison Company (now part of FirstEnergy) for over 17 years in various positions, including experience in transmission planning and distribution protection.  Mr. Mitchell is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio and Pennsylvania and received his BSET degree from the University of Akron.Director, Reliability Assessment & Performance Analysis0
Jim Uhrinhttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=7Jim UhrinDirector, Compliance MonitoringMr. Uhrin, Director of Compliance Monitoring for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since January, 2007. Mr. Uhrin has over thirty-five years of working experience in the electric utility industry.  Mr. Uhrin is responsible for and serves in an oversight role over all of the Compliance Monitoring functions performed at ReliabilityFirst (Ops/Planning and CIP).  Some of these monitoring functions include audits, spot checks, investigations and complaints.    In Mr. Uhrin’s previous role at ReliabilityFirst he served as the Manager of Compliance Service and Investigations, where he was responsible for the oversight of the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP), Regulatory Reviews, and implementation of most of the CMEP related activities.   Prior to joining RF, Mr. Uhrin was the Manager of Dispatch and Operation for PJM Interconnection, L.L.C, in their West Office, where he managed both the day to day operations of the Bulk Power System and their West Regional office.   Before joining PJM, Mr. Uhrin held various positions with Allegheny Power as Operations Support Manager, Team Leader and Engineering positions in Allegheny’s Operations and Network Planning Groups.   Mr. Uhrin is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and has taken some MBA course work at Duquesne University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania and was a NERC Certified System Operator (2010).Mr. Uhrin, Director of Compliance Monitoring for ReliabilityFirst, has held this position since January, 2007. Mr. Uhrin has over thirty-five years of working experience in the electric utility industry.  Mr. Uhrin is responsible for and serves in an oversight role over all of the Compliance Monitoring functions performed at ReliabilityFirst (Ops/Planning and CIP).  Some of these monitoring functions include audits, spot checks, investigations and complaints.    In Mr. Uhrin’s previous role at ReliabilityFirst he served as the Manager of Compliance Service and Investigations, where he was responsible for the oversight of the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP), Regulatory Reviews, and implementation of most of the CMEP related activities.   Prior to joining RF, Mr. Uhrin was the Manager of Dispatch and Operation for PJM Interconnection, L.L.C, in their West Office, where he managed both the day to day operations of the Bulk Power System and their West Regional office.   Before joining PJM, Mr. Uhrin held various positions with Allegheny Power as Operations Support Manager, Team Leader and Engineering positions in Allegheny’s Operations and Network Planning Groups.   Mr. Uhrin is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and has taken some MBA course work at Duquesne University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania and was a NERC Certified System Operator (2010).Director, Compliance Monitoring0
Ray Sefchikhttps://www.rfirst.org/about/Leadership/leadership/DispForm.aspx?ID=9Ray SefchikDirector Reliability Assurance & MonitoringMr. Sefchik, Director Reliability Assurance and Monitoring, ReliabilityFirst Corporation, joined in 2011. Mr. Sefchik is currently responsible for Risk Analysis and Mitigation, and Entity Development activities. Previously he was the Senior Manager, Events Analysis, Situational Awareness, and Threats & Vulnerabilities and the Manager, CIP Compliance Monitoring. Mr. Sefchik previously worked at the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), where he held the positions of CIP Audit Manager and Manager of CIP Compliance for 2 years. Prior to MRO, Mr. Sefchik was employed by FirstEnergy Corp. in Akron, OH, where Mr. Sefchik held the position of Senior Security Analyst for 5 years. Mr. Sefchik was responsible for Enterprise and Business Unit specific Cyber Security Architecture; Governance and Compliance activities. Prior to his work in the Electric Utility Industry, Mr. Sefchik was employed by Lockheed Martin IT and other Federal Government Contractors for 14 years in support of NASA Agency IT initiatives. Additionally, Mr. Sefchik has 32 years of experience in Information Technology Operations, Systems Integration, specializing in Security, Networking and Telecommunications. He holds the CISA, CISM, and CISSP Auditing and Information Security Certifications. Mr. Sefchik is also an active member of the ISACA, (ISC)2 and InfraGard organizations. Mr. Sefchik, Director Reliability Assurance and Monitoring, ReliabilityFirst Corporation, joined in 2011. Mr. Sefchik is currently responsible for Risk Analysis and Mitigation, and Entity Development activities. Previously he was the Senior Manager, Events Analysis, Situational Awareness, and Threats & Vulnerabilities and the Manager, CIP Compliance Monitoring. Mr. Sefchik previously worked at the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), where he held the positions of CIP Audit Manager and Manager of CIP Compliance for 2 years. Prior to MRO, Mr. Sefchik was employed by FirstEnergy Corp. in Akron, OH, where Mr. Sefchik held the position of Senior Security Analyst for 5 years. Mr. Sefchik was responsible for Enterprise and Business Unit specific Cyber Security Architecture; Governance and Compliance activities. Prior to his work in the Electric Utility Industry, Mr. Sefchik was employed by Lockheed Martin IT and other Federal Government Contractors for 14 years in support of NASA Agency IT initiatives. Additionally, Mr. Sefchik has 32 years of experience in Information Technology Operations, Systems Integration, specializing in Security, Networking and Telecommunications. He holds the CISA, CISM, and CISSP Auditing and Information Security Certifications. Mr. Sefchik is also an active member of the ISACA, (ISC)2 and InfraGard organizations. Director Reliability Assurance & Monitoring0