Get to Know Rob Horton
Hoosier Energy’s Chief Operating Officer
EnergyLines February 2019
EnergyLines sat down with Rob Horton to learn about his career at Hoosier Energy, what challenges the utility might face in the next few years and his love for the great American pastime – baseball.
What are the top priorities you are focusing on?
Because of my background, my focus is always rooted in safety. I feel that strategic priorities can be aligned and promoted via safety. If you can do safety right, then you will have a good culture, do things more efficiently, more reliably and more competitively. It starts and ends with safety.
What have you learned from your experience working in the electric industry that applies to your position?
I started as an intern and had no idea the path it would lead me on. As I began my path, I was very green, not knowing much about the Merom Generating Station. I made several lateral moves to learn all aspects of the plant. Boiler House Auxiliary Operator was my first permanent position. This was one of my best opportunities because I was working swing shift and was able to learn a lot of the aspects of different positions. I do know more about the generation side than the transmission side. That’s what excites me about where I am; I get to learn more about transmission.
We are all working toward a common end result. Being out in the field opens up more of those doors for conversation and collaboration. We have a huge number of great people who are willing to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done for greater outcomes for our members.
What challenges do you see electric utilities facing in the next few years?
One of the biggest challenges will be the pace at which things are transitioning. Whether it be from the generation component or the distribution transmission component, technology continues to grow at a rapid pace. We continue to be faced with equipment changes, changes in membership’s usage and membership’s requests for new technology innovation. This can include electric vehicles, battery storage, solar and wind generation and much more. We will need to figure out what the next generation of membership is really wanting to see from their utility provider. Utilities have previously only been in the background; as long as lights came on, no more thought was given to it.
What do you find most exciting about working at a cooperative?
Though some call it a cliché, I love the family atmosphere. I like the size of a cooperative, too. I like that I drive and live in our service territory, knowing that my friends’ families are benefiting from a service we provide. When you get out into the rural countryside, you get a better feel for how important our service is, as you see the power lines stretch for miles at a time. It’s a necessity.
What is something fun that employees and members don’t know about you?
I like the team aspect here at work, and that started in my family. I have a wife and two boys and we love baseball. My boys have always played baseball and I have been coaching for about 13 years. I started off coaching them in Little League and have now moved up to the high school with them, as an assistant coach. My wife started out as a team mom and moved into statistician as the boys got older. We love going to St. Louis Cardinal games as a family as well. I love to see a team work together and thrive.