WIRES, the transmission trade association, has announced the retirement of Executive Director James J. “Jim” Hoecker.

Hoecker, a widely recognized expert in the field of electric transmission law and policy, served WIRES with distinction, and his invaluable insight has helped advance the organization’s mission among policymakers, industry leaders, and others who share WIRES’ belief in the need to invest in the nation’s transmission network.

Prior to working with WIRES, Hoecker held several positions at FERC, serving as legal counsel, commissioner, and ultimately as chairman from 1997 to 2001. Among his achievements at FERC were development of electric transmission and natural gas pipeline open access and the creation of regional transmission organizations. After his career at FERC, Hoecker founded Hoecker Energy Law & Policy PLLC, and joined Husch Blackwell LLP, where he will remain active in his law and consultancy practice. Hoecker holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a Ph.D from the University of Kentucky.

WIRES President and National Grid Vice President of Transmission Asset Management and Planning Brian Gemmell praised Hoecker’s service in advancing advocacy for critical investment in a reliable, resilient transmission grid to support the nation’s digital economy and enable the clean energy future.

“WIRES is deeply grateful for the guidance and expertise that Jim Hoecker has provided to our organization throughout the years,” Gemmell said.  “Taking the steps to ensure that our country has a robust electrical transmission grid is no small task, and Jim more than rose to the challenge. We want to thank him for his tireless advocacy on behalf of our organization since its inception in 2005.”

Hoecker, a founder of WIRES, has led the organization since 2005, and will support the group until the end of 2019.  Under his leadership, WIRES has become the key voice within the industry, taking the lead on transmission issues for over a decade. He has testified before Congress and FERC multiple times, coordinated important industry studies, and presented their findings to Congress and their staff.  WIRES’ membership has grown under his leadership.

“We started WIRES because it was the one sector of the electricity industry for which no one advocated. The grid was an afterthought, despite its importance as critical infrastructure.  Judging by the number of groups and policy makers now focused on grid modernization, that has changed,” commented Hoecker.  “WIRES is ready to move to the next level.  I am terrifically grateful to have represented WIRES and its progressive member companies for so long.”

WIRES will begin the search for an Executive Director to succeed Jim Hoecker.