2 Indian Americans Appointed to President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council
- Manu Asthana and Madhu Beriwal will advise the White House on how to reduce physical and cyber risks and improve the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors.
President Joe Biden has appointed two Indian Americans as members of the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). According to a White House press release, Manu Asthana of Pennsylvania and Madhu Beriwal of Florida are among “highly qualified and diverse industry and government leaders” appointed to the council which advises the White House on how to reduce physical and cyber risks and improve the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors.”
As CEO and President of PJM, Asthana “oversees the largest power grid in North America and one of the largest electricity markets in the world,” according to the White House. He is responsible for the reliable operations, competitive markets and transmission planning for 65 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia. “Under his leadership, PJM has implemented significant risk management reforms and established a clear path for defining the grid operator’s role in the energy transition to a cleaner, more efficient grid while maintaining reliable electric service,” said the press release.
“I am honored to be appointed to this role at such a pivotal and transformational time in the energy industry’s history,” Asthana said in a PJM statement. “At PJM, we understand the critical importance that electricity plays in the daily lives of Americans, and our top priority is the reliability and safety of the electric grid.”
He is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and serves on the Board of Trustees of Texas Children’s Hospital. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. He earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Joseph Wharton Scholar.
Beriwal founded Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. (IEM) in 1985 and continues to serve as CEO and president. It is the largest woman-led homeland security and emergency management firm in the United States.
Under her leadership, “IEM has led some of the largest mitigation and resilience efforts across the United States, building back stronger following disasters including disaster recovery programs, delivering federal funds to survivors and communities faster than any other program of the same type and magnitude,” according to her company profile.
Beriwal was the corporate architect of “Hurricane Pam,” an innovative scenario-based exercise that drove catastrophic hurricane planning for 13 parishes and more than 300 participants in Southeastern Louisiana. In 2006, she was invited to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the importance and relevance of the project.
She was inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame in 2012. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography and economics.
Since its establishment in 2001, the NIAC has conducted dozens of studies to address problems such as: improving intelligence information sharing across government and industry; identifying and reducing complex cyber risks; better preparing for and responding to disruptions that can ripple across multiple infrastructure systems; facilitating cooperative decision-making among senior executives and federal leaders during imminent threats and disaster responses, and addressing the skills gaps and loss of institutional knowledge in key national workforces.