2022 40 Under 40: Varun Perumalla, SMIEEE, 34

Lead Architect, California Independent System Operator; MBA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

By Amara Rozgus, Chris Vavra, and Christina Miller May 16, 2022

Passionate about electrical engineering since childhood, Perumalla pursued a master’s in electrical engineering (power systems) and in business administration. He strives for building the “grid of the future” using the latest technologies and power engineering. Perumalla’s passion at work is to design complex data integration between the systems that are responsible for grid reliability in the Western U.S. and leverage the newest technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, machine learning and digital twins to apply to the power systems to make the electric grid more secure, reliable and resilient. Over the course of his career, Perumalla has designed the recloser control at Beckwith Electric and enhanced the economic dispatch and unit commitment algorithm at Power Costs Inc. He joined as a consultant at California ISO in 2013 and converted to a full-time employee in 2014 at the engineer level; he is now a lead architect, power systems and market technology. Perumalla always believes in giving back to the community and, because of that, he is very involved in industry activities, such as representing as a U.S. delegate for two working groups within the International Electrotechnical Commission. He is also a U.S. delegate at study committees in the International Council on Large Electric Systems. Perumalla has been a senior member of IEEE since 2018. In addition, he loves mentoring fresh graduates and young engineers in power engineering to help them chase their dreams. Outside of his work, he enjoys traveling internationally with his wife and camping with his family. He wants to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, a longtime dream.