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N.Y. Power Authority Names New Head of Niagara Power Project

Lou Paonessa
Khisha Laguerre-Arnold

Photo and Caption

July 15, 2009

For Immediate Release:

WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel announced today that Joseph Kessler, a senior engineer at the Niagara Power Project, has assumed the position of NYPA regional manager Western New York, the top staff job at the hydroelectric facility.   

Kessler, a native Western New Yorker, succeeds Horace Horton, who has retired after a distinguished 17-year career at the Power Authority, including three years as regional manager. The change in leadership at the project took effect today, following a transition period.   

“Joe Kessler has the professional experiences and proven management skills to lead the Niagara project and its nearly 300-member work force,” Kessel said. “Over the years, he has shown outstanding initiative and versatility, demonstrating that he is well prepared to succeed Horace Horton as our Western New York regional manager.  I want to extend great thanks to Horace, whose technical expertise, broad experience, and consistently professional approach have been a tremendous asset to this vital generating facility and our statewide organization. We wish him the very best in his retirement.” 

Kessler joined the Niagara project staff in 2001 as an engineer in the Electrical Maintenance Department. He was promoted to electrical supervisor in 2002 and to senior engineer in 2007. 

“I’m greatly honored by the confidence that President Kessel and NYPA senior management have shown in appointing me Western New York regional manager,” Kessler said.  “As someone from Western New York, I’ve long appreciated the great value of the Niagara project’s low-cost power production for supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the region and major capital investments. I’m excited about the challenge that awaits me and further contributing to the project’s high levels of performance excellence.” 

Before joining the Power Authority, Kessler worked at various companies in Western New York since 1987. He is a registered professional engineer in New York State and the author of a number of technical papers and articles. 

Kessler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Engineering degree, with a focus in Energy Systems, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. 

Kessler currently lives in West Seneca with his wife, Lisa, and their three children, Jordan, Garrett and Emily. 

As regional manager, Horton oversaw the completion of the upgrade of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the project’s main generating facility, and the beginning phases of a Life Extension and Modernization program at the Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant.  That facility supplements the output from the Moses plant during periods of peak power demand. 

Horton’s tenure was also marked by the Power Authority’s receipt in 2007 of a new 50-year federal license for the Niagara project and the implementation of a wide range of initiatives related to the relicensing. Under Horton’s leadership, the project had its best year in 2008 in meeting various performance goals. 

Horton began his NYPA career in 1992 as a technical training instructor at Niagara. He then served in various capacities at the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in the northern Catskills, including operations superintendent of the hydroelectric facility.       

  About NYPA:

■    The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation's largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■    About 75 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.  ■   For more information,

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