David E. Whitehead is chief executive officer at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), where he oversees the company’s global operations, including research and development, quality, sales, engineering services, manufacturing, and business areas. Whitehead is responsible for translating the company’s executive vision into effective corporate strategies that prioritize quality, innovation, service, profit, and growth—in that order.
For more than a decade, he led SEL’s 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. He was instrumental in growing the Research and Development division and leading the development of a steady stream of innovative inventions from SEL. He has been awarded more than 73 patents around the world.
After joining SEL in 1994, he served in a variety of roles within the company, including hardware engineer, research engineer, chief engineer of the Government Services division, and vice president of Research and Development.
A recognized leader in utility and industrial control system cybersecurity, Whitehead’s inventions have led to breakthroughs in advancing cybersecurity in the energy sector. He 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 numerous papers on the topic.
Whitehead serves on the board of directors of SEL and Veracity Industrial Networks, is a senior member of IEEE, and is the past chair of the IEEE Power & Energy Society Substations C6 committee. He received a BSEE from Washington State University, an MSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an honorary doctorate of engineering from the University of Idaho. He is a registered professional engineer in Washington, New York, Michigan, and North Carolina.