New president ready to lead NIPSCO into next phase of power generation
NIPSCO President Mike Hooper has a firm goal for himself and the utility’s team of employees: 100% reliability.
“We realize Mother Nature can get in the way of our goal, but we will always push to achieve our highest standard to serve our customers,” said Hooper, who began his new position June 1.
“This is a company with a long and impressive history.”
Northern Indiana Public Service Co., the electrical and natural gas utility for much of Northern Indiana, has about 810,000 natural gas customers and 460,000 electrical costumers.
Hooper, 46, succeeds Violet Sistovaris, who served as president since 2015. She now has a larger role with NiSource, parent company of NIPSCO.
Sistovaris in a statement announcing Hooper’s appointment said Hooper’s experience made him the right choice for the role she served the past five years.
“As we look to further our efforts to enhance service and safety to the communities we serve, I am confident in Mike’s experience and proven leadership to sustain our core commitments to customers,” Sistovaris said.
Hooper joined NIPSCO in 2011 and previously served as the company’s senior vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs and strategy. He said NIPSCO’s roots can be traced back to Thomas Edison and his days in Indiana working on his discoveries with electricity.
“When you look at the history of power companies, we are proud to know that ours goes all the way back to the start of the transition to electricity coming into homes and businesses.”
Before NIPSCO, Hooper, who is originally from Virginia, worked for American Electric Power in West Virginia and also in Ohio.
“Before being with NIPSCO, my previous company positions dealt with electric only, and now natural gas is part of the important equation,” Hooper said. “I’ve also found being in Northern Indiana is very unique.”
Before joining NIPSCO, his customer base in West Virginia mostly was individuals. Now he serves residential customers and major industrial users, including steel mills and refineries.
Hooper said one of the key projects he will oversee during the next decade is NIPSCO’s transition from coal to other means of power, such as wind and solar, by the year 2028.
“This is a major process to make such an energy change when you consider that for 60 to 70 years, this is a company that has been driven by the use of coal,” he said.
“We have a much broader view for going forward as we continue to modernize our goals, grow in our efficiency and emphasize the importance of how we communicate with our customers to keep everyone informed.”
Hooper said NIPSCO is often treated as “a large company,” but in comparison with the tasks and responsibilities the team of employees and management are charged with, he said NIPSCO is much smaller than what some realize.
“When you think about what it takes to keep everything operational and running smoothly just on a good weather day to assure the right result when a light switch gets flipped on, it’s incredible, the scale and the needs 24/7, 365 days a year,” Hooper said.
“Our teams are there with the police, firefighters and EMTs, always during the worst working conditions, to help others. We at NIPSCO are so connected to everything and everybody.”
Hooper said he has created both internal and external company improvement plans focusing on better cost efficiencies and a promise to always learn from those around him, both co-workers and costumers.
“I love being part of the Northern Indiana community with the rural landscape reminding me of being in West Virginia, thinking of myself as a gentleman farmer who enjoys raising a few cows and baling some hay in my spare time with family,” said Hooper, who lives in the Valparaiso area.
“We also have a 7-year-old, which takes up a lot of my energy at home.”