This week, DTE Energy is saying farewell and thank you to an employee with 40 years of service. In a world where most professionals assume they will hold positions at several different companies before they retire, Dave Harwood, DTE’s director of Renewable Energy, stands out, having spent his whole career at DTE.
In fact, Dave has served in 15 different roles over the course of his career, working in nearly every part of the generation side of DTE Electric. Dave started his career at DTE, then Detroit Edison, even before graduating from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, working as a summer intern in the Chemical Engineering Group; he returned to the group immediately following graduation.
During his long career at DTE, Dave has worked at facilities throughout DTE’s electric service territory. He served as the chemical engineer responsible for water quality systems at the Conners Creek Power Plant; a nuclear operations planner at the company’s Fermi ll facility; an engineer at the North Area Plants; and a director in the Generation Optimization area, among other roles. He even spent some time traveling around the Midwest and East Coast analyzing investment opportunities for DTE’s non-regulated businesses.
For the past nine years, Dave has headed up DTE’s Renewable Energy business unit, helping the company add 28 new wind and solar projects to DTE’s generation fleet, totaling almost 1,100 MW of new renewable capacity. These projects enabled the company to meet Michigan’s 10% and 15% renewable requirements and then create its MIGreenPower voluntary renewables program. “These have been some of the most rewarding years of my career,” Dave said. “Moving into this role enabled me to apply what I had learned in almost every previous experience.”
Given his knowledge of the company and the industry and his engaging leadership style, Dave will be sorely missed by his team and many DTE colleagues. Many at the company have benefitted from Dave’s mentorship. An active and proud U-M alum, Dave also frequently visited campus for various events including serving as a guest speaker for classes at the College of Engineering and the Ross School of Business.
While Dave is looking forward to spending more time with his family along with fitting in more golf and boating, he knows he will miss his colleagues and team. “Given the longevity many of us have at DTE, there are folks here that I’ve worked with and been friends with for almost the entire 40 years,” Dave said. “We work on some pretty cool stuff, complex issues from time to time and we are challenged with some difficult problems. But that’s the fun of it, when you have a good team around you and also good friends; that’s going to be the part I miss, the relationships.”