Joseph Ricasio, P. Eng., Manager, Operations Planning

When it comes to significant grid events, Joseph Ricasio has seen it all since joining the IESO in 2007.

From forest fires and ice storms to the tornadoes that tore through the Ottawa region in 2018, the now seasoned veteran can point with justifiable pride to the unsung heroes that were instrumental in restoring power. But on a team where addressing contingency is second nature – and where there’s always a Plan B and a Plan C – it’s the day-to-day investment in reliability that makes the difference.

“If you do a great job and nothing happens, no one notices,” he says jokingly of the unusual events that put his team in the spotlight and tend to overshadow their 24/7 commitment to the 14.8 million Ontarians who depend on the IESO for reliable power every day. “People notice when there’s a big outage and count on us to respond, but it’s our behind-the-scenes focus on reliability that provides continuous value.”

“We approve and reject outages, ensure market participants are on the same page, develop the operating plan that provides instructions to the control room,” Joseph says. “You could say our control room operators are driving the bus, while we, along with our partners in Power System Limits and Real-time Applications, set the parameters for where to go, advise on speed limits and help navigate the route in the most effective way possible.”

For Joseph, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, attended high school in Wisconsin, and university in Minnesota before completing an internship at the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the route to the IESO was anything but straightforward. However, with a commitment that’s only grown stronger over time, it’s clear that he landed in a place where he can build a challenging and fulfilling career for the long term.

“Consumers assume electricity will be there when they want it, but ensuring the reliability and cost-effectiveness of the grid, which impacts the livelihood and well-being of everyone around us, is something we never take for granted,” says Joseph. “That’s why it’s such a big responsibility, and why leading a team that shares this deep sense of accountability and is willing to go the extra mile makes my role so rewarding.”