The IEEE Power Engineering Society (PES) announced the Douglas M. Staszesky Distribution Automation Award at a press conference at the IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference and Expo. Wanda Reder, PES president made the announcement Wednesday.

The award is being sponsored by S&C Electric Co. (Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), where Staszesky, who died on Feb. 26 from brain cancer, had worked in various roles since 1989. Most recently, he served as director of product management for automation systems products and was responsible for customer service, application support and marketing.

The purpose of the award is to recognize those in the industry who have made a significant contribution to making the automation of distribution systems a practical reality.

“Doug Staszesky worked with a great deal of energy and passion to bring new technologies and new concepts to the field of distribution automation and to promote the value of investments in such systems to electric utility decision makers,” said the IEEE PES in a statement about the new award.

Selection criteria for the award will be based on evaluation of accomplishments as revealed by documented testimonials from industry members. Recipients may be electric utility practitioners, consulting engineers, design engineers or application experts at manufacturers, or educators. Emphasis will be on the creation of practical solutions that produce real improvements in terms of system reliability and availability to the benefit of an electric utility and its customers. It is possible for collaborators to receive the award jointly, in which case the monetary portions of the award would be divided.

The recipient of the award will receive a US$2000 scholarship in his or her name to the engineering school of his or her choice, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the presentation ceremony.

S&C Electric Co. has provided initial funding of $70,000 for the award, which will fund it on an annual basis in perpetuity. However, to ensure that the award is presented to appropriately qualified recipients and to maintain the prestigious nature of the award, it might not be presented every year. Additional funding may come from individual voluntary contributions made directly to this IEEE Foundation fund.

When reflecting on the fact that this award was to be given in his honor, Staszesky recalled all those who had invested in him. First to mind was his uncle Frank Staszesky, who had served as a president and COO of Boston Edison Co. Staszesky followed his uncle into the utility business, working first at the Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) in New Jersey. Five mentors at PSE&G made quite an impact on him: Rich Johnstone, John Thomas, John Redmon, Bernie Berkowitz and Bob Peters. When Staszesky found himself at S&C, he looked to invest in others and felt he had an impact on Chris McCarthy, who is continuing Staszesky's work in automated switching.

Staszesky's work ethic and winsome personal style made for an unbeatable combination, and he impacted many lives.