press releases

NARUC Panel Honors Parrish, Smith with Coveted Terry Barnich Award


For Immediate Release: February 15, 2015
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382,


WASHINGTON—In recognition of their dedication to helping developing countries establish sound utility regulatory procedures, a national panel honored two of their colleagues with the prestigious Terry Barnich Award.

The Terry Barnich Award is given annually by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Committee on International Relations. First awarded in 2012, the Award recognizes the ongoing commitment of NARUC members to furthering regulatory best practices around the globe. Mr. Barnich is a former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, who in 2007 served in the State Department in Iraq, providing needed expertise in energy. Mr. Barnich was killed in Fallujah on Memorial Day in 2009.

For the first time since its inception, the 2014 Terry Barnich Award was given to two winners—Denise Parrish of the Wyoming Public Service Commission’s Office of Consumer Advocate and Bill Smith, executive director of the Organization of MISO States. Both offered countless numbers of volunteer hours last year aimed at bettering utility regulation overseas through NARUC’s international programs funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“After much thought and consideration, we determined that both Denise Parrish and Bill Smith deserved this Award,” said Committee on International Relations Chair Eric Callisto of Wisconsin. “Both have lengthy and distinguished histories of participation in NARUC’s international efforts and both have made considerable contributions in the last year. We deliberated at some length, and ultimately reached the decision that it was impossible to rank one nominee above the other; they have both earned this award.”

Ms. Parrish has been engaged in NARUC’s international programs for the past decade, working in various capacities with the Energy Regulators’ Regional Association and the International Conference of Energy Regulators. In the past year, she presented at the ERRA meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, which led to discussion with Mr. Goran Babi? of Croatia, with whom she is now working on a paper on rate smoothing for possible publication by ERRA. Her ICER work includes a paper on the topic of practices to engage, empower, and protect customers in the energy regulation process.

In addition, Ms. Parrish has been very active in Women in Energy, helping to arrange and present webinars and promoting the Women in Energy mentoring program. She has visited 23 countries over the past 10 years to discuss regulation and transparency practices. She also served three years as chair of the Staff Subcommittee on International Relations.

Mr. Smith has been active in international issues for decades, most notably as a founding member of the Black Sea Regulatory Initiative, which has been one of NARUC’s most notable international partnerships. This initiative is a partnership between the Organization of MISO States and the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine. His regulatory expertise and diplomatic skills have been essential to making this an effective effort in a region of challenging tensions. The project's delivery of work products in the areas of renewable energy development, energy efficiency, and cross border trade, unanimously endorsed by the partners, is a testament to the significance of the project in a divided and evolving region of the world. Mr. Smith has crafted presentations and led in-depth discussions in the areas of transmission planning, energy markets, market monitoring, and regulatory governance, among others.

Mr. Smith also participated in two other international efforts in 2014. He contributed to the Georgia bilateral project, providing expert assistance in the areas of cross-border markets and cost allocation, and to the province of Manitoba providing an orientation to U.S. markets, especially Midwest markets.

About Terry Barnich: Terry Barnich was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, on Memorial Day in 2009 while working as the Deputy Director of the State Department office overseeing U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq. Mr. Barnich served as Chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission from 1989-1992, and he was an active member of NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications. He also provided expert testimony on a wide range of regulatory issues as well as authored numerous articles concerning emerging competitive markets.

In 2007, Mr. Barnich volunteered to serve our country in Iraq providing needed expertise in energy. He served as Deputy Director and counsel to the electricity section of the State Department’s Iraq Transition Assistance Office and as legal advisor to the Iraqi Minister of Electricity and later became Deputy Director, overseeing all U.S. State Department reconstruction programs. In these roles, he helped develop the framework to attract future private investment to Iraq. He also served as liaison to policymakers at the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the Iraqi embassy in Washington. In this role, Mr. Barnich was a top consultant when the President, Vice-President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs visited Iraq.


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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.

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