Southern Company leaders speak at Aspen Ideas Festival

News Center Stories

July 14, 2016

Southern Company leaders speak at Aspen Ideas Festival

CEO Tom Fanning and other Southern Company executives spoke to innovative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers and other leaders from across the globe at this year's Aspen Ideas Festival held recently in Colorado.

The annual festival brings decision makers together and allows Southern Company a platform to inform them of the many things the company is doing to meet the challenges of the future, such as partnering with the military, protecting the grid and looking for innovative ways to make renewable energy affordable and reliable for all.

At the festival, Fanning spoke on a panel on managing risk in the age of cyberterrorism. He was joined by other guest panelists Thad Allen, executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton; David Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general, chairman of KKR Global Institute and senior fellow of Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; and Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, in discussing the action that government, the private sector and individuals should be taking to prepare for cyberattacks, especially as the Internet of things complicates our interconnected lives.

During the panel discussion, Fanning stressed that "there is no such thing as a silo" when it comes to cybersecurity.

"Eighty-seven percent of the critical infrastructure in America is owned and operated by private industry, like Southern Company, like the electric utility industry," said Fanning. "We can't work in a silo. We must understand that we are inextricably intertwined with (other) sectors, and we generally call out five of them: finance, telecom, transportation, water and then, of course, electricity. And let's not forget with the private effort, the federal efforts, we must integrate an effective partnership with the state and local governments."

In other highlights from the Aspen Ideas Festival, Southern Power CEO Buzz Miller spoke on "Energizing the Future: Clean, Renewable, Sustainable Power Growth," and External Affairs President Chris Womack participated in a panel discussion on "New American Security: A Greener, Cleaner Military."