Every design needs an architect, and the smart grid is no different. If anyone could be called an architect of the smart grid, Doug Houseman, vice president of technology and innovations at EnerNex, could. He is the lead architect for the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s (SGIP) Conceptual Architecture Project, the coordinator for Smart Grid Tutorials for IEEE, Secretary of the IEEE Smart Grid Coordinating Committee and the lead author of the CEATI Distribution Utility Technology Roadmap. The SGIP engages stakeholders from the entire smart grid Community in a participatory public process to identify applicable standards, gaps in currently available standards, and priorities for new standardization activities for the evolving smart grid

Houseman has spent the last 20+ years traveling around the world to solve T&D-related issues. He has also spent the last 17 years leading a global utility architecture practice.

“I have learned the needs that are most common and the architecture pieces that help make an architecture actionable,” Houseman said. “Given the work over the last 18 months on the Smart Grid Architecture Committee’s (SGIP-SGAC) Conceptual Architecture, I have had the pleasure of working with the best of the best in North America on a common conceptual architecture framework for Smart Grid in North America.”

Houseman will be participating as a keynote speaker and in the main agenda at the Smart Energy Summit 2013 on Feb. 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas. He will present "Getting to 2050 Profitably with Happy, Engaged Customers" on Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. The presentation focuses on the rapid progress in energy management solutions and technologies and the varied strategies utilities can employ to address the unique customer segments in the energy market.

The consumer-focused executive energy conference features keynote presentations from Alarm.com and SDG&E, Lowe's, and Honeywell. The keynotes will all focus on energy management in the connected home and specifically partnership opportunities, strategies to leverage connected devices, retail strategies, and necessary steps to engage consumers in this growing market.

Houseman, in the past, has also organized Architecture 101, a bootcamp session that provides an overview of why smart grid architecture is important, specifically as it relates to the interoperability standards needed for smart grid to flourish.

“If you can design a future you can execute it. If you cannot picture and design the future, you will never achieve it,” Houseman said.

Houseman’s purpose in working with smart grid architecture and in teaching it is to make a better future. He said he also enjoys interacting with “some of the brightest, most creative people in the industry. Bouncing problems off these people and getting reactions leads to all sorts of ideas about how to make a better future,” he said.

Houseman started early in the utility business at age 9, when he would ride along with his father on weekends to put up line poles for electrification in the rural area they lived in. At 17, he decided to join the Navy and when they figured out he understood electric utilities, “that was all there was,” he said.

Now, he has developed and taught most of the IEEE smart grid tutorials and has worked with Ivy Tech in Indiana to create a smart grid lineman course that will be taught on all of their campuses in Indiana (They are the community college network in Indiana). He said he had a great time at the IEEE PES General Meeting last summer teaching 3-1/2 days of smart grid tutorial and working with a wonderful set of students. He also led a number of tutorials and sessions at the IEEE T&D show in the spring, including two new ones that had never been taught before.

Houseman tells students that learning the mistakes of others can make their projects go so much better and even make them more fun. He likes to keep his courses fun and interesting and to challenge the students and get them to react. “It is no fun to just absorb, you have to force people to think, and think hard during a class,” he said.

Designing the smart grid is not his only goal. He builds and flies high-powered model rockets, and his next goal is to pass 50,000 feet with a cardboard and plastic rocket.