Peter J. McKenny, Ph.D., has accepted the position of director for the new Transmission and Distribution Program (T&D) at the Gonzaga University School of Engineering and Applied Science, Engineering Dean Dennis Horn announced.
McKenny comes to Gonzaga from the American Transmission Co. (ATC), based in Pewaukee, Wisc. ATC was the first multi-state transmission-only utility in the United States and currently owns, builds, maintains, and operates the high-voltage transmission system through portions of the Upper Midwest.
The new T&D Program will be interdisciplinary, including instruction in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. The program will begin this fall, and will be offered to undergraduates as well as post-graduate
students and engineering professionals employed by power generating entities and related industries.
At ATC, McKenny was responsible for managing an internal design team of 18 engineers and designers, and supervising 10 external consultant companies working on transmission and substation design projects with an installed value of more than $320 million. He also had project responsibilities in the areas of Stray Voltage and Power Transformers. Prior to joining ATC, McKenny was the electrical design manager at Waukesha Electric Systems (WES) where he supervised a staff of 26 engineers and designers, and was responsible for the design of all transformer and substation products.
Other activities McKenny was involved in at WES have included development work on a high-temperature superconducting transformer, extremely high voltage (EHV) transformer insulation design, instructor for several sections of the WES Transformer Seminar, and various projects related to design system improvements. In the early part of his career, McKenny was a faculty member at the University of Maine where he developed and taught courses in Power Systems Analysis, Power Transmission and Distribution, Protection, and High Voltage Engineering. He also conducted research on insulation design and failure as a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md.
As an independent consultant, McKenny studied the effect of a proposed Quebec-Maine high-voltage direct current link on the New England power grid for Central Maine Power, investigated the initiating cause of generator damage at a Bangor Hydro-Electric hydro station, and conducted various studies of distribution system failures. He holds advanced degrees (Ph.D. and master’s in science) in electrical engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY., a certificate in management development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Last month, Gonzaga received a $370,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles to purchase equipment for the new program. The funds will be used to help purchase four power workstations that will permit simulating the generation and transmission of three-phase electrical power, the loading and metering of the transmission system, and the operation of protective relays for protecting generators, transformers and induction motors. The power workstations will be installed temporarily in the Herak Center for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, but will be moved to a permanent location in a new T&D Engineering laboratory by fall 2008. The lab will be located in a new addition to the Herak Center.
Gonzaga expects to begin construction on the 25,000-square-foot addition this fall. The addition, to be located immediately south of the Herak Center, will house the T&D program and provide additional classroom space and offices for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The facility is expected to be ready for occupancy by fall 2008.
For more information, please contact Dennis Horn, dean of the Gonzaga University School of Engineering, at (509) 323-6117.