10-27-2016  1:58 am      •     
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Daniel F. Packer

As the industrial age has progressed, the energy industry has progressed along with it, growing in size and sophistication to power our technological world. And as more and more African American professionals have succeeded in the workplace, many have found their niche in the energy industry.

On June 23, local African Americans will have the opportunity to learn about opportunities in the energy industry and get some firsthand information about the nuts and bolts of energy infrastructure when the Seattle-Portland chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy hosts a public presentation and forum. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at Legacy Emanuel Hospital's Lorenzen Center, 2801 N. Gantenbein Ave. A reception will follow.

The evening's keynote speaker will be Daniel F. Packer, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans Inc., an electric utility company. Packer will address a topic near to the hearts of AfricanAmericans— Hurricane Katrina. Packer dealt directly with the impact of the storm when he remained in Louisiana to manage and oversee the repair of Entergy's infrastructure in the storm's aftermath.

Packer's speech, "What Happened When Katrina Struck:AFirsthand Perspective From a Utility CEO," will tell the tale of the nightmarish period after the storm, when the lack of electricity paralyzed the region. The lessons of Katrina, said Packer, will help other regions better prepare their energy infrastructure for major disasters.

"Mr. Packer experienced that chaotic period right after Katrina," said Sherra Neal of the Bonneville Power Administration. "He and the mayor (New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin) stayed back and monitored the situation together. He wants to share that with the people of the Great Northwest."

The American Association of Blacks in Energy was founded in 1977 to ensure the participation of people of color is included in the discourse and development of energy policy, regulation and research.

The organization's Seattle-Portland chapter includes employees of major regional energy companies — such as the Bonneville PowerAdministration, Seattle City Light, Northwest Natural Gas, Tacoma Power and Puget Sound Energy — along with several entrepreneurs. In addition to its role as a professional organization, the chapter encourages members of the African American community to support and use alternate energy resources, educates on how to conserve energy and manage costs, and encourages Black youth to pursue traditional and non-traditional energy careers.

For more information, visit www.aabe-sea-por.org.

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