Abstract: From programing firmware for IoT devices to misoperations in the field and control room, humans have the potential to offer creative, collaborative, and highly efficient solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges. However, human errors can lead to software vulnerabilities, blackouts, and loss of public trust. As we strive to make infrastructures more robust and lives safer, paradoxically, we often put humans at increased risk of distraction and error. Growing system and market speeds, interconnectivities between critical infrastructures, fear of compliance violations, and public scrutiny create challenges for operators, increase risks and costs, and prevent the system from deriving the greatest benefit from its people. Organizations are complex sociotechnical systems with complex political hierarchies; techniques such as root cause analysis demonstrate how intertwined our people and organizations are with technical system outcomes. Michael Legatt will highlight his work as a human factors engineer, from an emergency operations center during the 2003 blackout, to ten years at ERCOT (the grid operator for most of Texas), to founder of a company focused on improving human-computer and human-organizational interfaces for critical infrastructure management.
About the Speaker: Michael Legatt is the CEO and Founder of ResilientGrid. He has been a programmer for over 20 years in the energy, financial, medical, neuroscience research, and educational sectors. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology/Neuropsychology, a Ph.D. in Energy Systems Engineering, and is a Certified Performance Technologist.
As an amateur radio operator, he received a commendation for helping to provide emergency communications during the 2003 blackout in the northeastern United States, which sparked his interest in the psychology of critical infrastructure management.
Prior to founding ResilientGrid, Michael spent a decade as Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ Principal Human Factors Engineer. There, his development of the Macomber Map® was featured in several news outlets, and was credited as being instrumental in helping ERCOT operators maintain grid reliability through severe weather and record-setting wind generation. He also works on the behavioral aspects of consumer electric use, electric vehicle to grid integration, behavioral aspects of conservation and consumer awareness in grid management, and the cybersecurity, behavioral, and reliability issues that arise with integrating new technologies across layers of the grid.