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Schweitzer Drive

The Schweitzer Drive bimonthly podcast explores what goes on between the generation of electricity and the light switch. In each episode, host Dave Whitehead, CEO of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, talks with the entrepreneurs, innovators, and experts who are inventing the future of electric power. Electricity is so fundamental to our daily lives, and yet it’s something so many take for granted. Come learn about, explore, and celebrate electric power on Schweitzer Drive!

Episode 11

Employee Ownership: Owning a Career Vs. Renting a Job

One of the best ways to attract and retain great employees is to offer great benefits. In this episode, Dave Whitehead talks with Joey Nestegard, SEL chief business and financial officer, about one of the most valuable benefits a business can offer employees—ownership.


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Episode 10

Application Engineers: When You Really Need to Phone a Friend

We’ve all experienced the frustration of having to wade through layers of automated phone prompts trying to get through to a customer service rep or having to wait weeks for a technician to come out—and even then you have to block a half-day window of time. In this episode, Dave Whitehead examines how this model can look very different, discussing the topic with two SEL experts: Dr. Ed Schweitzer, founder, president, and chief technology officer, and David Costello, chief sales and services officer.


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Episode 9

Creating Value for Customers

It’s been said that teaching is selling. In this episode, Dave Whitehead talks about the art of selling with Laura Stento, senior sales manager. Laura talks about the work she does to help customers solve their challenges and her goal to provide value first. 


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Episode 8

Free Enterprise: America’s Innovation Engine

Whether in engineering or business, Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, a prolific inventor and founder of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, always encourages going back to first principles. In this episode, Dave Whitehead talks with Dr. Schweitzer about how creativity, innovation, business, and economies thrive in a free, flat, fair, and open environment.


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Episode 7

FLISR, VVO, and DERMS, Oh My! Putting Distribution Automation to Work

Did you know that the power system can reconfigure itself when a fault occurs and that it can automatically adjust line voltage so that the energy delivered to your house is just right? Did you know that adding wind and solar power to the grid can make it less reliable? Join Dave Whitehead as he talks with automation engineer Bryan Fazzari about how distribution automation is meeting these engineering challenges head-on.


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Episode 6

Turning the Lights Back on After a Blackout

Often in the wake of a blackout, the focus is on what caused the power to go out, but we seldom hear how utilities get the power back on. In this episode, Dave Whitehead talks with Bill Cook, a power system expert with more than four decades of experience, about how he worked with the operations team at San Diego Gas & Electric to get the lights back on after the 2011 blackout in Southern California.


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Episode 5

Supply Chain Management: Getting Parts to Make Parts

In this episode, SEL Supply Chain Director Diane Donnermeyer talks with Dave Whitehead about how to keep the links of a supply chain connected and strong—even during a pandemic.


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Episode 4

The Need for Speed and the Future of Power System Protection

In this episode, Dave Whitehead talks to Dr. Ed Schweitzer about power system protection, why speed is so important, and what the future might look like.


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Episode 3

The Eyes and Ears of the Power System

Join Dave Whitehead and Fellow Engineer Greg Zweigle for an in-depth conversation about synchrophasors—the eyes and ears of the electric power system.


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Episode 2

Starting a Company, Building SEL—Part 2

Join Dave Whitehead as he talks with Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, the founder, president, and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), about the origins of SEL’s culture and business practices, including Friday Lunch, the product warranty, and the focus on customer service.


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Episode 1

Starting a Company, Building SEL—Part 1

In this episode of Schweitzer Drive, Dave Whitehead interviews Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, the founder, president, and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), about the company’s beginnings and the idea and invention that were the creative spark.


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Episode 0

Welcome to Schweitzer Drive

On Schweitzer Drive, Dave Whitehead, CEO of SEL, explores a broad range of topics impacting the electric power industry,  from integrating new sources of energy and securing the grid to advancements in design, manufacturing, business, education, and more.


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Meet the Host

Dave Whitehead_Schweitzer Drive

David Whitehead

CEO, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

A recognized leader in utility and industrial control system cybersecurity, Whitehead has testified before the U.S. Senate and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the importance of innovation and protecting against cyberattacks. He has presented at numerous cybersecurity conferences and authored dozens of papers on the topic.

For more than a decade, Whitehead led the SEL Research and Development Division, an 800-person multidisciplinary team responsible for the research, design, development, and testing of systems that manage, monitor, and control critical electric infrastructure.

Since joining SEL in 1994, he has been a driver of product and talent development and been instrumental in the development of the steady stream of inventions to come out of SEL. He has been awarded more than 73 patents around the world.

Whitehead received his BSEE from Washington State University and his MSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a senior member of IEEE and a registered Professional Engineer in Washington, New York, Michigan, and North Carolina.