Ben Fowke is Executive Chair of Xcel Energy.
In honoring Kuhn with Public Utilities Fortnightly's highest award, named for the extraordinary industry leader of a hundred years ago — Owen Young — we salute the man behind the transformational "Power by Association." We do this not alone. What follows are the voices of a dozen of the industry's top leaders of the twenty-first century, about Kuhn's accomplishments, and the man himself. Including four utility Executive Chairs, three utility CEOs, four retired utility CEOs, and Kuhn's longtime key associate at EEI, David Owens.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: Talk about what Tom Kuhn did for industry and for the nation. What made the biggest impression on you?
Ben Fowke: There're a lot of things, but I'll start with Tom's ability to drive consensus. I think the term, working across the aisle, is used by a lot of people but not executed by very many. Tom Kuhn is one of the few who has a true track record of working across the aisle. I'll give you two specific examples.
We were able, as an industry, under Tom's leadership, to get an extremely important tax carveout around normalization in 2017 with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It was under the Trump administration, and we got that. It was a single issue that we had a carveout on, and we did it with bipartisan support, working across the aisle.