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Pennsylvania PUC’s Joseph Witmer Receives Inaugural Ray Baum Memorial Leadership Award
WASHINGTON (February 11, 2020) — Joseph Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and counsel to Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, was awarded the Inaugural Ray Baum Memorial Leadership Award at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. This annual award was initiated to honor the memory of Ray Baum, who passed away in 2018 and is given to a member of the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Telecommunications that best reflects his initiative and drive toward public service. Ray Baum was a long-time member of NARUC, the go-to staffer on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a nationally recognized expert on utility law.
Witmer practices public utility law at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, with a focus on telecommunications. He previously worked on public utility issues at the former Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission and the State of Delaware’s Office of Consumer Advocate. His primary focus is advising and representing the Commission on federal-state matters at the Federal Communications Commission and appellate levels. He is chair of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners Telecommunications Staff Committee and the Federal-State Subcommittee of NARUC’s Staff Committee on Telecommunications. He has participated in several NARUC international programs on public utility regulation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Israel and Kosovo.
Witmer studied at Susquehanna University, the University of Detroit Law School, Northeastern University and Harvard University. He was an instructor at Northeastern University for 10 years after completing his graduate studies in comparative politics and political philosophy.
“I was surprised to be the inaugural recipient of the award for my work as a state staff member in NARUC’s telecommunications community,” said Witmer. ”I witnessed firsthand his willingness to do the hard work and study needed to advance the public interest and social compact inherent in public utility service. He set a high standard. I am humbled that my peers chose me for an award in his honor.”
“Joe Witmer embodies the values the award represents,” said Dutrieuille. “He works tirelessly to serve the public interest. I cannot think of anyone more deserving.”
More on Ray Baum
During his nine years as commissioner at the Oregon Public Utility Commission, he served as chair of the NARUC Telecommunications Committee, the state chair of the FCC-State Joint Board on Universal Service, a member of the NARUC Board of Directors, the Chair of the multiyear NARUC Intercarrier Compensation Task Force, a member of NARUC’s Telecommunications Committee Task Force on Telecommunications Act Rewrite, was a member of NARUC’s Washington Action Committee and a member of NARUC’s Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Sequestration. He also testified for NARUC before both the House and Senate on intercarrier compensation and universal service issues; before FERC on ring fencing and cross-subsidies protections; and constantly met with individual FCC commissioners, representatives, senators and federal with his well-known “dialing for dollars” Universal Service Reform slide in tow.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.