Dr. Stephen Craven was surprised on Feb. 16 when he was TVA’s Ike Zeringue Engineer of the Year award recipient for 2023, the utility’s highest honor
He was astounded eight days later when he was selected as the 2023 Federal Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers—an award that covers the entire United States.
Craven, formerly a full-time assistant professor of electrical engineering and now an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said his accomplishments seem insignificant to other engineers such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“I’m working on my front porch and they’re out in Iraq and austere locations. It doesn’t even seem fair,” said Craven, who graduated from UTC in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
For both awards, Craven was praised for his work to increase the transmission efficiency and reliability of the utility’s electrical grid while also enhancing the grid’s cybersecurity protection. His developments can be used by power utilities and other transmission services worldwide.
A transmission and power supply engineer at TVA for 10 years, Craven is the utility’s first winner of Federal Engineer of the Year since 1982.
“Stephen’s innovative approach and leadership not only help secure our electric grid from cyber-threats but also gives our region a competitive advantage as we generate electricity to power the region’s growing economy—while keeping TVA’s power rates among the lowest in the nation,” said Aaron Melda, TVA senior vice president for transmission and power supply.
The TVA award is named after O.J. “Ike” Zeringue, a former TVA president, chief operating officer and chief nuclear officer.
Craven’s father and grandfather both worked at TVA and—while he worked for private companies before joining the utility—those jobs didn’t give him the same “fulfillment I get from working for a company that truly benefits the public,” he said.
“I felt the same way when I was working full-time at UTC,” Craven said. “Having a job with a public service mission is truly worthwhile.”