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SEL taps chief operating office Whitehead as its next CEO

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 18, 2019

Dave Whitehead
Dave Whitehead
By Paul W. Smith The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories has named Dave Whitehead as its next chief executive officer.

Whitehead joined the company as a hardware engineer in 1994 and most recently served as chief operating officer. He is now the company’s highest-ranking executive under Edmund O. Schweitzer III, the company’s founder, president and chief technology officer.

“Having worked closely with Dave for more than 25 years, I am proud to see him move into this role,” Schweitzer said in a company news release. “He not only brings an incredible amount of technical knowledge, he also has the business acumen needed to guide SEL as we continue to grow and expand our services and offerings around the world.”

For more than a decade, Whitehead led the company’s 800-person multidisciplinary R&D team. He has had a hand in the development of the steady stream of inventions to come out of SEL. An electrical engineer and prolific inventor, he has been awarded more than 73 patents around the world.

Whitehead is also a thought-leader within the electric power industry. He has testified before the U.S. Senate on the topic of cybersecurity and industrial control systems, a subject he presents on regularly at industry conferences. He serves on the board of directors of SEL and Veracity Industrial Networks, is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is past chairman of the IEEE Power & Energy Society Substations C6 Committee.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to take on this role and continue to serve our customers, industry, communities and employees,” Whitehead said.

Luis D’Acosta served as CEO for roughly three years, until the company changed its leadership structure in June 2017. The company did not fill the CEO position but named Whitehead as COO and Tony Lee as chief manufacturing officer. Lee later was named chief research and development officer.

SEL, which invents, designs and builds digital products and systems to protect power grids, has more than 5,200 employees worldwide with customers in 164 countries. It owns and operates manufacturing facilities in Pullman, Lewiston and Lake Zurich, Illinois.

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