Thought Leader - Brian Harrell
Thought Leader - Brian Harrell

Category: Thought Leader

Name: Brian Harrell

Title:  Director of Security and Risk Management 

Company: Navigant (Harrell has since left Navigant to take a position with the Ponemon Institute. AlertEnterprise.)

Why nominated: Dedicated to moving the needle in the electric utility industry, Brian created the Grid Security Exercise (GridEx) for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which examines policies, procedures, and responder skills for physical and cybersecurity grid events, to help the industry capture lessons learned and cybersecurity best practices.

Profile: Brian Harrell, CPP, is the Director of Security and Risk Management at Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NCI), which provides critical infrastructure owners with consultation on risk mitigation, protective measures, and compliance guidance. An advocate and internationally recognized expert for improving the security posture of the electric utility industry, before he joined Navigant Consulting Brian Harrell was the operations director of the Electricity ISAC and director of critical infrastructure protection programs at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). At NERC he led the charge to protect North America's electric grid from both physical and cyberattack. His long and varied career has included time in the U.S. Marine Corps, the Department of Homeland Security, and a number of private sector agencies.

Harrell distinguished himself at NERC with the creation of the Grid Security Exercise (GridEx), an initiative that still offers the industry a realistic opportunity to capture lessons learned and cybersecurity best practices. His work on safeguarding the North American power grid has included highlighting the threats and vulnerabilities as well as the best ways to mitigate security risk and improve response and recovery. Currently, he's working closely with energy companies, trade associations and federal officials in an effort to harden facilities as well as manage critical infrastructure programs (CIPs). Those programs aim to boost resilience in the power grid and ensure it's less susceptible to attack.

What colleagues say: Brian is a true thought leader with an unbridled passion for the safety and security of our nation's infrastructure. Brian has consistently demonstrated his servant leadership, knowledge sharing, and collaborative relationship building throughout his work at DHS, NERC, E-ISAC and Navigant. Few people I have encountered have demonstrated the sustained tenacity to achieve what Brian has achieved with the multiple barriers we all know occur in our workplaces. Three words can sum up my personal and professional relationship with Brian. Commitment, Courage, and Discipline. If you are looking for positive results, a leader that possesses the highest virtue, and a man with candor, tact, and diplomacy, I highly recommend this warrior to be a change agent in achieving any goal assigned.”

-Darren T. Nielsen, Manager, Cyber & Physical Security Audits Western Electricity Coordinating Council