Mike Deggendorf, Chief Executive Officer, has more than 30 years of experience in the energy and telecommunications industries. He has held positions ranging from operations and marketing to regulatory and governmental affairs.
Prior to his role at Grid Assurance, Deggendorf served as Senior Vice President-Corporate Service at Kansas City Power & Light, responsible for major generation and transmission construction projects, transmission partnerships, security and business continuity, safety and other corporate services. Prior to that role, Deggendorf was Senior Vice President Delivery, where he led KCP&L's distribution and transmission operations, engineering, customer services, and transmission policy & compliance divisions, with specific responsibility for regulatory compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corporation rules and regulations. Deggendorf joined KCP&L in 2002.
At UtiliCorp (which became Aquila Networks), he served as Vice President of Market Services. He led the sales and marketing efforts for regulated and nonregulated products and services, including competitive retail and appliance services in UtiliCorp's regulated service area.
In 2000, he was appointed Senior Vice President of Everest Connections, a voice, video, data communications over-builder targeting the Midwest, where he headed sales, marketing, regulatory and communication functions.
Deggendorf holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Iowa State University, and he has completed graduate work at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and University of Iowa. He is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
An active member of the community, Deggendorf serves on numerous boards including the Kansas City Sports Commission and the Missouri Partnership. Industry engagements include serving on Members Committee of the Southwest Power Pool and Energy Delivery Public Policy EAC for the Edison Electric Institute. In the past, he has served on the board of the Midwest Energy Association and Research Advisory Committee of the Electric Power Research Institute. Deggendorf also serves on the Dean's Advisory Council for Iowa State University College of Business.
Jeff Fleeman, Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for the development of the company's strategic equipment inventory, secure warehouses and delivery logistics.
Fleeman joined American Electric Power in 1981 and his last position was Managing Director of Transmission Business Development.
Fleeman's previous roles at AEP include Vice President — Technology of BOLD™ Transmission LLC, a newly formed AEP affiliate that develops and licenses high capacity high efficiency line design technology. Concurrently, he served as Director of Advanced Transmission Studies and Technologies, where he had system-wide responsibility for: AEP transmission technology strategy; HVDC/FACTs systems; system dynamic analysis; and asset performance and renewal programs including asset replacement planning, grid resiliency analysis, spare transformer strategy and the implementation of AEP's Asset Health Center. He also has held AEP system-wide leadership roles in Transmission Asset Engineering, Substation Engineering, and Major Transmission Equipment.
Fleeman has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from The Ohio State University.
He currently chairs the Power System Electric Research Center Industry Advisory Board, served as Chair of Electric Power Research Institute's Transmission & Substation Advisory Council from 2011-2017 and was Chair of Edison Electric Institute's Transmission Committee from 2005-2007. He is a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Chairs the IEEE/PES Region 2 Scholarship Plus Committee. Fleeman is a member of Council on Large Electric Systems and is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio.
Heather Cushman, Vice President of Finance, brings nearly 20 years of experience in finance, accounting and treasury for public and private companies in industries including international software, foodservice and teleservice operations.
Cushman is also with Berkshire Hathaway Energy U.S. Transmission where she is responsible for accounting, financial analysis, reporting and controls, forecasting and budgeting and joint-venture coordination.
Prior to joining Berkshire Hathaway Energy U.S. Transmission, Cushman served as Corporate Controller at Reed Group and Auto-trol Technology in the Denver region. She started her career with roles at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Cushman holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Iowa State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa.
Chad A. Heitmeyer, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, is responsible for state and federal regulatory policy and relations, business development and strategic planning.
Previously, Heitmeyer was Director of Transmission Asset Strategy and Policy for American Electric Power Transmission. In this role, he was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, partners and state and federal regulators, as well as, facilitating and organizing research and assessment of emerging transmission issues in the Regional Transmission Organizations. Before that, Heitmeyer served as manager in AEP's regulatory services department, focusing on AEP-initiated filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Heitmeyer has been in the electric utility industry since 2000, when he joined American Electric Power.
Heitmeyer earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Findlay and a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toledo.
Dale Russell, Director of Asset Strategy, leads the modeling and analysis of asset impacts due to high-impact, low-frequency events, inventory development, and equipment acquisition. Russell has over 35 years of professional experience.
He also leads transmission and substation asset renewal planning and resiliency efforts at American Electric Power. In this role, he primarily focuses on significant infrastructure renewal programs, but also develops strategic initiatives such as physical and cyber security, telecommunications expansion, synchro-phasor and asset monitoring deployment and spare substation equipment programs.
Russell represents AEP on Edison Electric Institute's Spare Transformer Equipment Program and Transformer Transportation Working Group.
Prior to 2012, Russell was engaged in the telecommunications industry where he worked for AT&T, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, and Alcatel where he was responsible for product development, services delivery, business strategy, and product management.
Russell holds a Bachelor of Science degree, Industrial Engineering from Ohio University, a Master of Science in IE/Operations Research from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Science Management degree from Purdue University.