In 2013, Chris Armstrong had just earned his MBA from Taylor University and was looking for a career change. “I went to Indiana University for my undergrad and a few of my friends that I still kept in touch with were working for ACES. They all had great things to say about the company, so I decided to apply for an open position and was hired as a real-time trader. I started trading on behalf of ACES’ Members and Customers operating in the CAISO and SPP markets, and eventually switched to ERCOT,“ Chris recalls.
In 2016, Chris accepted a position in ACES’ Transmission department and his current title is Transmission Analyst II. In this role, Chris focuses on congestion revenue rights (CRR) in ERCOT. “The Transmission team’s primary focus is to work with our Members and Customers to layer in hedges over time in order to minimize the exposure to price separation between generation and load,” Chris explains. “I feel that on the real-time desk, our work was more reactionary. In transmission we focus a lot on planning. It’s very rewarding to research, analyze historical data and forward models, figure out why certain things are happening, make a plan, and then see it all play out over the next few years,” he adds. Chris says that he really enjoys the people on his team, and found it to be a great cultural fit for him.
When not at work, Chris enjoys spending time outdoors. Chris says that his love for the outdoors was passed on to him from his parents. “My dad was always into hiking and camping, and we still go on trips together. He has a goal to hike all 900 miles of trails in the Smoky Mountains now that he is retired, and has already hiked about 600 miles. We’re planning to hike around 30 miles this fall,” Chris says. “We used to take 10- to 12-day trips to Quetico Park in Ontario. A lot of people would shy away from going that long without cell phones, sleeping on rocks, living on granola and whatever fish you can catch, and drinking water out of a lake, but I love it,” he adds.
Chris hopes he passes the love for the outdoors to his two children, who are now 5 and 9 years old. “I try to keep active and spend as much time with my family as I can. We just adopted a German short-haired pointer puppy that requires a lot of exercise and attention. We’ve been running between two and five miles with the dog every day,” Chris says.
Chris is also an avid music fan and loves attending concerts. One of his favorite bands is Phish, whom he’s seen more than 40 times across the U.S. since 1996. “I really enjoy the organic sound of bands like Phish, the Grateful Dead, and Wilco. They’re all amazing musicians and you get something new every time you see them,” Chris says. He also says that he enjoys the communities that surround these bands and made a lot of friends in college by sharing Grateful Dead bootlegs. When asked if Chris has any advice for new ACES employees, he encourages everyone to embrace the culture. “You won’t find many places where the CEO knows your name and will talk to you about anything. It’s also rare to find a company as open and accepting as ACES. We’re all here to help our Members and Customers and it’s a team effort. I’m happy to come to work everyday, and I think a lot of others are, as well. You don’t hear a lot of people say that,” he remarks.
Chris’ positivity and commitment to helping others are just a few of the traits that make him an ideal ACES employee.
*Note that since being published, Chris has been promoted to Training Manager*