Writer: Gabriel Vasquez
Las Cruces Bulletin
An assistant dean, researcher, educator, scientist and engineer – Patricia Sullivan is one of New Mexico State University’s most dedicated employees.
Sullivan’s responsibilities and hard work greatly contributed to the continued success of the New Mexico Green Grid project, a state initiative that aims to set up a delivery system for an innovative approach to electric generation, distribution, storage and management.
“NMSU took one of the leads in the technical support for this program,” Sullivan said. “Part of the effort is to look at ways to implement renewable energy, and the other part was to look at grid reliability and energy conservation.”
Sullivan worked closely with NMSU professor Satish Rande and former professor Bill Kersting to develop the program.
“My role was on the policy end,” Sullivan said. “We are still in the process of looking at policy, specifically the sustainability of some of the existing (energy) policies.”
Sullivan was born in Moriarty, N.M., graduated from Moriarty High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from NMSU in biology with a minor in chemistry. She also holds a master’s degree in public utility economics from NMSU and is an industrial engineering doctoral candidate.
As assistant dean of the College of Engineering, Sullivan is responsible for corporate relations, fundraising development, public relations and marketing, student services and administration of the college’s scholarship awards. According to NMSU, in the five years she has served as assistant dean, the college’s endowment has more than doubled to $24 million, endowed chairs and professorships have grown to 14 and scholarship awards have increased from $350,000 to $1.5 million.
“The College of Engineering has a tremendous network and support from corporate donors and alumni, which is based on the high quality of programs that we offer,” she said. “The program is highly regarded and well-respected and people are very supportive of our efforts to advance our students and faculty.”
NMSU’s Electric Utility Management Program is the only such program in the country. NMSU is one of only a handful of universities that offer degrees in electric power engineering. In its 40-plus years of existence, the program has graduated nearly 300 students with master’s of science degrees in electrical engineering, seven of whom have become CEOs of public utilities.
For her work on the New Mexico Green Grid initiative, Sullivan was named the 2010 Executive of the Year by the New Mexico Association of Energy Engineers in October.
“I’m very honored and humbled to have received the award,” she said. “New Mexico State University is one of the key players in energy around the world, particularly in electric power systems. Professors Bill Kersting and Satish Rande are highly regarded for their expertise and it’s an honor to be part of a program they helped build.”
Jack McGowan, NMAEE award chairman, said Sullivan’s revitalization of NMSU’s energy programs and her work with the green grid project were important factors in the decision that lead to Sullivan receiving the award.
“Her leadership with the New Mexico Green Grid Initiative and her work with NMSU made us realize that this is someone we want to recognize,” McGowan said.