Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Compliance
Lori Spence is ACES’ Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Compliance.
Like many at ACES, Lori’s journey has been full of twists and turns, and where she is now is not necessarily where she anticipated she would be. Lori wanted to become an Indiana State Trooper when she was younger and attended Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs to help her prepare for a career in law enforcement. “I’ve always had a philosophy to protect and serve. When I was growing up, my mother was a nurse and my father was an air traffic controller. If they didn’t follow the rules, lives could be lost. I think that’s why I gravitated toward law and compliance,” Lori says. While completing her undergrad, Lori went through the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and became a part-time police officer, working security for sporting events, doing traffic control, and performing undercover work.
While Lori enjoyed the police work she performed during college, she ultimately decided to shift gears and attend paralegal school at Roosevelt University in Chicago. After graduating from paralegal school, Lori moved to Indianapolis to work as a paralegal for a small criminal defense firm; however, she decided to change course again after she was put in danger by a client that was upset with the firm.
In 1987, Lori entered the energy industry as a paralegal for PSI Energy, focusing on litigation and regulatory work. Her coworkers at PSI Energy encouraged her to attend law school and, after four years of taking classes in the evenings, Lori graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. She then practiced regulatory law for PSI, now Duke Energy, including representing the trading floor. In 2000, Lori took a position as Deputy General Counsel at MISO, then transitioned to the Executive Director of its compliance department. Lori retired from MISO in 2019 and began consulting. In 2020, a compliance position became available at ACES. Lori was familiar with ACES from her time at MISO and decided to apply. In February 2020, she was hired as ACES’ Director of Corporate Compliance.
At ACES, Lori is focused on the company’s corporate compliance and audit program. She evaluates generation offers ACES submits on behalf of its Members and Customer to ensure they comply with ISO/RTO and FERC regulations, as well as ACES’ internal policies and procedures. Lori also performs various legal analyses and has developed audit manuals, implemented various enhancements to compliance and operations processes, and reviewed various events to determine if any compliance concerns exist and to ensure ACES is compliant with rules and regulations. “One of the great things about ACES is that my day is never the same. I wake up in the morning with a plan for what I am going to accomplish that day, and within the first half hour I’m working on something completely different. It definitely keeps me on my toes,” Lori says. Lori spends most of her time working remotely from Florida and in her spare time she likes to explore the state with her husband. “My husband and I just celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary and visited Pine Island. We rented a boat and saw pods of dolphins swimming and playing. We also like to explore the outdoors, spend time with family and friends, and play on a golf league,” Lori says.
When asked what advice Lori can give other ACES employees, she advocates for employees to be proactive rather than reactive. “The Legal and Compliance teams at ACES may be small, but we are always ready to help in any way that we can. Having us involved ahead of time will almost always result in a better outcome than bringing us in after the fact,” Lori says. “I may have a law enforcement background, but it’s not a bad idea to invite me to the table first,” she adds.
Lori’s wealth of knowledge and commitment to doing the right thing are just a few of the traits that make her a great fit at ACES.