Wisconsin State Journal: Blackouts lit way to energy career
March 18, 2012
Patricia Kampling ['81] was only 6 years old but she remembers the night the lights went out in New York City in 1965.
"My dad was stuck in the subway. He had to walk home," said Kampling, who grew up in Queens and Westchester County, N.Y. The massive Nov. 9, 1965, blackout left more than 30 million people in the dark for up to 12 hours in seven Northeast states and Ontario, Canada.
Then, just after Kampling graduated from high school, another blackout struck, focused this time on New York City, on July 13-14, 1977.
"I wanted to find out more about that industry," she said. "I wanted to help people."
When Kampling graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania with degrees in engineering and economics, the energy industry beckoned. After the oil embargo of the 1970s, utility companies were building power plants and hiring engineers. "It was a very exciting, dynamic time," she said.
Kampling is about to begin a different type of dynamic time: She will take over April 1 as chief executive officer, president and board chairwoman of Alliant Energy. As the successor to Bill Harvey, who has been chairman and CEO for the past six years, Kampling will be one of only a handful of women in the U.S. to lead an investor-owned utility. ...