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ReliabilityFirst Welcomes Niki Schaefer as VP & General Counsel

ReliabilityFirst (RF) is pleased to welcome Niki Schaefer back to the organization. As vice president and general counsel for RF, Schaefer is responsible for ensuring the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) functions are effectively executed for electric utilities in the 13 states and Washington, D.C. that make up the RF footprint. In this role, she leads the Legal, Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring teams.

“Niki’s extensive background in helping shape strategic objectives and policies, as well as managing high-performing teams, make her uniquely positioned to significantly contribute to RF’s mission of preserving and enhancing the reliability and security of the bulk power system,” said Tim Gallagher, RF president and CEO. “Those who had the pleasure of working with Niki during her previous time at RF understand why we are so thrilled to welcome her back to the team.”

As part of RF’s ongoing efforts to serve entities and stakeholders more effectively, Rob Eckenrod will take on the new role of vice president, entity engagement and corporate services. “Rob has been an outstanding addition to the RF team, and this new role marries his comprehensive experience on ‘the other side of the table’ with the knowledge he’s gained as a key leader at RF this past year to deliver proactive solutions to our industry partners,” said Gallagher. “We recognize that COVID-19 has created challenging times for everyone but the organizational changes better position RF to meet the needs of our constituents, and given our history with both Rob and Niki, we have every confidence in their ability to help lead us through it.”

Schaefer returns to RF from Eaton Corporation where she served as counsel to senior leadership teams across multiple business units within Eaton’s electrical sector supporting more than $2 billion in revenue. Prior to Eaton, she was the managing enforcement counsel at RF and directed the teams responsible for carrying out enforcement of electric reliability regulations. Before working in the electric industry, she was a trial lawyer for a large Cleveland law firm litigating commercial and personal injury cases in State and Federal Courts across the country.

Schaefer received her B.A. in American Studies from Cornell University, and graduated cum laude from CWRU School of Law where she received an academic scholarship. In addition to earning multiple professional awards – most recently being named to the 2020 Super Lawyers list by Cleveland Jewish News – Schaefer is very active in the Cleveland community through volunteer work for University Hospitals Partnership for Families and the American Heart Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Gathering Place, a non-profit that provides free therapeutic services to people with cancer and their loved ones.