Employee Spotlight - September 2016

Jacob Thomas

SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER | Marietta, GAHeadshot_Thomas_Jacob

Jacob (Jake) Thomas, P.E., started at GDS in our Marietta, Georgia office in June of 1996. Prior to full-time employment, Jake worked as a coop student (Georgia Tech) for four quarters in the Distribution Services department. He is currently a Senior Project Manager and specializes in statistics, economic analysis and quantitative research, including retail and wholesale rates, cost of service, demand‐response, load forecasting, load research, market research, economic impact analysis and various data mining and analysis applications. His primary client base has been electric cooperatives and municipal systems. In addition to project work, Jake participates on a committee that coordinates GDS’ “Lunch and Learn” program, which is designed to provide GDS employees insight into the various services provided by GDS, introductions to new employees, and highlights of current clients and projects.

Recently, Jake has been the lead GDS consultant on a project involving rate case support for Nucor Steel and their attorneys, specifically cost of service related issues identified in a Dominion Power rate filing. Additionally, Jake is currently part of the GDS team working for Ameren Missouri Company, and he is leading the effort to review the Company’s forecasted energy efficiency impacts by end-use and to differentiate the impacts between DSM program measures and those due to naturally occurring customer activities. Jake has also been instrumental in the sample design and statistical analysis conducted in a load research project completed for Sharyland Utilities, L.P., and the development of a marketing plan completed for Cleveland Public Power. In past years, notable projects include completion of an economic impact study, testimony, and cross examination regarding the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, a statistical analysis to determine the load impacts associated with a Critical Peak Pricing study completed for Marblehead Municipal Light Department, evaluation of demand-response potential for East Texas Electric Cooperative, management of a lighting metering study as a member of the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluator team, and completion of various load forecasting and retail rate projects for electric cooperative and municipal electric systems across the country.

I am the proud father of three children, ages 5, 9 and 13. My wife, Melissa, is an accomplished artist and photographer and does an amazing job of holding down the fort when I’m traveling or working hard to meet or exceed my clients’ expectations. While family activities consume most of my free time, I enjoy playing golf, watching all kinds of sports (Atlanta homer all the way), and traveling. I am also the department head in charge of the television and video ministry at my church, which I have attended since age 15. I am an avid reader, trying to find precious minutes of free time to read a few more pages from a variety of texts including modern fiction, non-fiction, and the classics. Need a recommendation? I’ll be glad to discuss books with you (hard copies only, not interested in e-readers).

Favorite Places to Visit
I have been fortunate to visit some pretty neat places, including a Mediterranean cruise, Hawaii, and both Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, Mexico. My favorite so far has probably been Monte Carlo – a visit there will quickly give you an appreciation for why the super wealthy like to hang out in the French Riviera! And as a statistician, you have to appreciate at least a look-see at the Monte Carlo Casino. My favorite vacation of all? The next one!

What do you like best about GDS?
When I have been interviewing potential new cooperative students, some have asked me in the past why I chose to accept an offer to work with GDS after my own cooperative experiences. And, my answer has stayed the same throughout the years – the people. The people I work with are genuinely good people and working with them is a real blessing. I have developed many close friendships through GDS and truly do consider GDS to be family. The work is also challenging and thereby rewarding, but GDS is nothing without its quality people.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your time at GDS?
The work we do at GDS requires us to think critically, evaluate everything, and take nothing at face value. That approach has been valuable to all aspects of my life. We learn not to react so much as to slow down, evaluate, and think through a problem. Sometimes, it gets me in hot water on the home front when I employ that approach to things my wife says, but she mostly understands it’s the way us GDS folks are wired (love you, babe!).

Jeffrey Huber

PROJECT MANAGER | Marietta, GAHeadshot_Busbee_Alfred

Jeffrey Huber, a Project Manager in the Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy Department (EERD) in Marietta, joined GDS in 2005. Jeffrey has worked on a variety of projects relating to energy efficiency market research, program planning, implementation and evaluation. In addition, he routinely serves as the residential sector lead for GDS’ energy efficiency and behavioral conservation potential assessments, having completed over 20 studies during the last decade. During his time at GDS, Jeffrey has become an integral part of the EERD Department, helping to direct the work of other employees in the Department and maintain the relationship of GDS clients. Although he works out of the Marietta, GA office, Mr. Huber occasionally assists the Madison (WI), Manchester (NH), and Augusta (ME) offices with DSM-related projects and benefit-cost analyses.
Jeffrey grew up in Sarasota, FL and attended the University of Florida as an undergraduate, as well as the University of Tennessee for graduate school. Unique to GDS, Jeffrey received his MA in Physical/Forensic Anthropology, having studied at the “Body Farm” (google it). Jeffrey eventually settled in Atlanta, GA where he and his wife, Stephanie, welcomed son Weston into the world this April. If you have questions about energy efficiency, or number of bones in the human skull, stop by or email Jeffrey.

What are you and your team up to?
GDS EERD has recently completed several energy efficiency and demand response potential studies for service territories in Maine, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. We are also currently conducting a similar study for a utility in Missouri. EERD is also presently coordinating with other GDS departments to quantify the impacts of energy efficiency in utility load forecasts and future resource planning.

Given you background isn’t in EERD, what attracted you to EE and GDS?
Candidly, the job market for individuals with an anthropology degree is limited, but I was able to leverage my statistical coursework and background into a position with the energy efficiency department at GDS. Shortly after my employment, the recession occurred yet energy efficiency remained relevant and work load expanded. I’ve experienced, first-hand, the importance the important role that energy efficiency can play in the utility industry and the economy.

What book did you read last?
“Popular Crime” by Bill James. Bill James, a baseball statistician and the inventor of sabermetrics, presents a history of true crimes that have obsessed the American public and news media over the last two centuries.