Power Authority's Transmission Unit Selects Outstanding Employees

Connie Cullen

April 30, 2002


WHITE PLAINS—H. Kenneth Haase, senior vice president of the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Transmission Business unit, has announced the selection of Derrick Piper as Employee of the Fourth Quarter 2001 and Len Panzica, Mike Parisi, Mark Graham, Carmine Vecchione, and Gary Eng as Employees of the Year 2001.  NYPA is the largest transmission owner in New York State.  The Transmission unit is responsible for transmission planning, operations planning and transmission services, interconnection agreements, and the operation of the Power Authority’s Energy Control Center (ECC) in Marcy and its relationship to the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO)—the non-profit that administers the wholesale electricity market and coordinates operation of the high voltage transmission system in the state.

The staff members were selected for this honor by the Transmission unit’s Employee Recognition Committee which is a group of peers who volunteer to serve and who make their decisions based on nominations submitted from within their unit.  This in-house recognition program is sponsored by the Power Authority at all its offices and facilities state-wide.

Piper, Electrical Engineer II, was selected because of his commitment to and exceptional work with his NYPA colleagues and with professionals from outside organizations involved in NYPA projects.  He has been an instrumental force at the ECC for the PowerNow! In-City Generation Project.  The In-City Generation Project installed, in an expedited timeframe, ten gas-turbines in New York City and one on Long Island that are helping to avert serious power supply problems for these areas, and in addition, helped to keep the lights on there during last summer’s record-breaking heat wave.

Piper has been responsible for creating technical models of the gas turbines for the ECC’s Energy Management System (EMS) and also creating real-time EMS displays allowing the ECC operators to run the gas turbines.  He worked directly with the NYISO to provide the real-time information required to operate the gas turbines.  He also helped develop agreements with other utilities for operation, coordination and interconnection of the gas turbines.

When the ECC brought aboard a new Siemens computer, it came equipped with Advanced Applications Technology.  Piper’s knowledge of this technology is beneficial to all operators, and directly affects all of NYPA’s project operations and the entire power grid.Piper has been with the Power Authority for 10 years and is a resident of Russia.

Len Panzica, Senior Engineer II; Mike Parisi, Senior Electrical Engineer I; Mark Graham, Senior System Planning Engineer I; Carmine Vecchione, System Planning Engineer II and Gary Eng, Electrical Engineer , were selected as Employees of the Year 2001 for their outstanding work on the Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) Project.  While the effort to realize this project involved the hard work and dedication of many people throughout NYPA, these individuals exhibited outstanding leadership and generously shared their expertise to help achieve this milestone in transmission work.

NYPA’s Convertible Static Compensator (CSC), located at the ECC, is a state-of-the-art FACTS device that provides an advancement of an emerging technology to use existing transmission lines to carry more electricity and it also provides an immediate favorable effect on the reliability of New York’s electric grid.

Parisi and Panzica were involved in significant efforts to bring Phase I of the CSC to fruition.  After learning how to safely and effectively operate the FACTS device, which provides transmission system voltage support and regulation, they wrote instructions for on-shift personnel and supervised on-line field testing.  They also visited American Electric Power’s FACTS device in Kentucky, revised operating instructions for the ECC senior system operators and held training sessions for all ECC operators which they developed and taught.

On-line field tests of Phase I of the CSC were held February 6-27, 2001 and were coordinated by Panzica.  While many NYPA staff members were involved, the Transmission unit representatives,from NYPA’s White Plains office, at the tests were Mark Graham, Carmine Vecchione and Gary Eng.  They played key roles in analyzing test results, comparing them to study analyses they had performed prior to the tests, and recommending additional tests or modifications to the planned test schedule.  They split three weeks of testing into shifts to provide full support at the site during the entire field testing period.

Phase I of the CSC was successfully placed into commercial operation on April 2, 2001 when it was accepted by the NYISO for increasing transmission capacity between Utica and Albany by 60 MW.  The extra effort by all resulted in the use of this device for Summer 2001.

Panzica, a Clinton resident, has been with the Power Authority for 29 years with service, at several NYPA locations, in electrical engineering positions of increasing responsibility, and achieved his current position 4 years ago.  He is an active community volunteer including service as an Adult Leader, Troop 9 of the Boy Scouts of America; Team Assistant, Clinton Youth Hockey Association; Assistant Coach, Clinton Little League; Assistant Referee, American Youth Soccer Organization and Member, Clinton Central School PTA.  His wife, Karen Sullivan, is a former employee in NYPA’s Marketing Dept.  They have four children, Lindsay, Derek, Kevin and Heather.

Parisi, a Deerfield resident, has been with the Power Authority for 14 years having served in a number of electrical engineering positions at the ECC, where he presently works, and also in NYPA’s New York City office.  He and his wife, Bridget, have two children, Luke and Claire.

Graham, a resident of Whitestone, has served with the Power Authority for 12 years.  He has a son, Ryan.

Vecchione, a licensed NY State Professional Engineer, resides in New Jersey.  He has 12 years of service with the Power Authority including the last seven years in his present position, and he currently works in NYPA’s White Plains office in the operations planning group.

Eng, who also works in the White Plains office, moved this past December to NYPA’s Power Generation unit from the Transmission unit where he earned this award serving as an Electrical Engineer I.  During his 15 years of NYPA service, he also worked in Nuclear Generation as an Associate Electrical Engineer.