Meet the Panel

Bios of professionals attending the 2019 Student Industry Faculty Luncheon and Job Fair.

Praveen K. Kumar, P.E.

Lead Electrical Engineer/Program Manager, Commonwealth Engineering

Praveen earned his bachelor’s degree in EE from R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore, India, and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering – Power Systems from Michigan Technological University. He holds graduate diplomas in ‘Astronomy and Astrophysics’ and in Hybrid Vehicle Engineering. He has worked on hybrid automotive engineering projects with Volvo, General Motors, and the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to being a Program Manager for Florida, in his role as a high voltage protection engineer with Commonwealth Associates, Inc., Praveen has worked extensively on system protection, with a special focus on transmission grid and substation protection for major utilities. His interests include renewable energy interconnections, smart grid, economic analysis, and market research. He has been a student member and now an active member of IEEE for the past 10 years. He is currently serving as the Chair for the IEEE- Young Professionals Affinity Group for Region 4 and has been in an IEEE leadership role since 2012.


Lukas Graber

Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech

Lukas Graber received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from ETH Zurich in 2002 and 2009 respectively. He conducted the experimental part of his M.S. research project on transient recovery voltage in the high voltage laboratories of Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon. His Ph.D. research focused on SF6 leakage detection in gas insulated switchgear and was awarded with the ETG Innovation Prize. Before he joined Georgia Tech in 2015, he worked several years at the Center for Advanced Power System, Florida State University - initially as a post-doctoral research associate and later as a research faculty member. His focus was on superconducting power cables and fault current limiters, ultra-fast mechanical switchgear, short circuit forces in substations, and grounding aspects of power distribution on future all-electric Navy ships. He authored and coauthored 40+ publications in journals and conference proceedings and holds several patents. Besides fundamental and applied research projects, he is also interested in commercialization aspects of new technologies. He is a guest technical editor for special issues of the IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity. In his free time, he likes to tinker with audio electronics, play the trumpet, scuba dive in Floridian waters, and paraglide in mountain ranges around the world.


Robby Simpson

Systems Architect, Grid Solutions, GE Renewable Energy

Robby Simpson, PhD, is a System Architect for GE’s Grid Solutions, where he guides the architectures for GE smart grid systems. Accordingly, Robby divides his time between designing and evaluating GE’s Grid Solutions' architectures with particular attention to scalability, security, and interoperability and standards bodies' activities.

Robby has been engaged in the smart grid industry for a number of years, particularly in the areas of distributed energy resources, AMI, metering, demand response, and home area networking, and has been heavily involved in accelerating standards for smart grid interoperability. Robby is active in IEEE (he is a member of the IEEE-SA BOG, Chair of the IEEE-SA CAG, and Vice Chair of IEEE P2030.5), ANSI, IEC, IETF, SEPA, and the Zigbee Alliance. Through these efforts, he not only helps to accelerate standards development, but also ensures the adoption of those standards within GE and the market as a whole.

Robby received his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Clemson University and his M.S.E.C.E. and Ph.D. (Electrical and Computer Engineering) degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where he focused on Internet measurements, large-scale simulation, network protocols, and information security. Prior to focusing on smart grid, Robby worked on satellite communications at MIT’s Lincoln Labs.

Robby has published several refereed conference and journal papers on topics ranging from network measurements, network security, and network simulation to superconductor behavior. Robby has also received numerous awards for his academic and industry efforts and is an Eagle Scout (and still believes it to be worth mentioning all these years later).

In his spare time, Robby enjoys horseback riding, playing table tennis, traveling, and spending time with his family.


Peter Sauer

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois

Pete Sauer obtained his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1969. From 1969 to 1973, he was the electrical engineer on a design assistance team for the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, working on design and construction of airfield lighting and electrical distribution systems. He obtained the MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1974 and 1977 respectively. He has been on the faculty at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1977 where he teaches courses and directs research on power systems and electric machines.

From August 1991 to August 1992 he served as the Program Director for Power Systems in the Electrical and Communication Systems Division of the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. He is a cofounder of PowerWorld Corporation and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1996-2001. He is a cofounder of the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC) and has served as the Illinois site director from 1996-2015. He retired from the Air Force reserves as a Lt. Col. in 1998.

He has authored/coauthored over 200 technical papers and the book with M. A. Pai, “Power System Dynamics and Stability”, published by Prentice-Hall in 1998. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia and Illinois, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He is currently the Grainger Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at Illinois.