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First Steps

“Both of those were in consulting teams doing similar logistical improvement projects,” he explained. “It was in those two that I grew to love the travel and lifestyle of consulting, and the dy- namic nature of the kind of work the consultants were doing.”

Vegas also learned, over the span of his five internships, just what he wanted to do and what he didn’t want. He also found that he was more attracted to technology/inventory manage- ment and business consulting than core, traditional engineering focused on quality testing. He learned, too, the type of career opportunities he was interested in pursuing after graduation.

“One of the co-op assignments was with a firm in Cleveland that assigned me to a project run with support from one of the big consulting firms, Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture). Over the course of two separate co-op assign- ments, I worked with this firm and their consulting teams on different business projects that combined IT system and busi- ness process changes. The dynamic nature of this work, the travel, and the challenge of applying technology to help solve business problems was fascinating to me and it led to my deci- sion to work in the consulting industry when I graduated.”

As a new Andersen Consulting hire, and over the course of two years, Vegas did consulting for MCI, one of the largest long- distance phone companies at the time. He worked on billing systems development and computer programming. One of his most memorable projects was in the wireless division of MCI.

“This was back in the late ‘90s when cell phones were starting to take off and marketing of these cell phone companies was getting creative. They’d give you, say, the first minute free on a phone call, free minutes if you called at a certain time of day, lower costs within your local area than if you were roaming.”

Vegas remembers working on coding and development of bill- ing systems for all those capabilities at MCI Wireless.

“I turned down higher-paying job offers to work in a location I felt I would be happier living in. At that time I didn’t have a family of my own yet, and I valued quality of life over a bigger paycheck. Later in my career, after having a family, my priori- ties changed and I made a significant career decision to leave consulting and move into the utility industry in order to limit the amount of travel I was doing that was taking me away from my family every week. Spending more time with my wife and children was an important priority and AEP offered me an opportunity where I could do that.”

Since joining AEP in 2005, Vegas has held leadership positions in operations, information technology and finance. Previously he was vice president and chief information officer for American

28 HISPANIC ENGINEER & Information Technology | Fall 2014

Electric Power, responsible for development and support of AEP’s software applications and operation of AEP’s information technology infrastructure. From 2008 to 2010, he was president and chief operating officer for AEP Texas, overseeing distribution operations serving nearly one million electricity consumers in south and west Texas as well as the operating unit’s safety, cus- tomer services, marketing, communications, community affairs, governmental affairs, and regulatory functions.

Prior, Vegas served as director of strategic planning, working cross-functionally to formulate AEP’s short- and long-term stra-

“Integrating renewable and distributed energy sources, reliability expectations in the face of extreme weather events, and an impending shift in electric generation fuels is going to drive dramatic change in our company and industry. So, I need to focus on developing change leader- ship skills across all disciplines at AEP.” —Pablo Vegas

tegic plans. Before joining AEP, Vegas held senior leadership positions with IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Andersen Consulting. In his last position with IBM, as associate partner, communications sector, Vegas had responsibility for delivering process and technology solutions within the energy sector.

As a leader in the electric industry, Vegas said he needs to make sure that his organization is positioned to flex and change as the electric economy changes.

“Integrating renewable and distributed energy sources, reli- ability expectations in the face of extreme weather events, and an impending shift in electric generation fuels is going to drive dramatic change in our company and industry. So, I need to fo- cus on developing change leadership skills across all disciplines at AEP. This includes a focus on the culture of our organization,

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