NYPA Staff

Meet NYPA’s Jonathan Saxon

Jonathan Saxon is one of the first individuals to join the inaugural class of the New York State Excelsior Fellowship Program. He graduated from Morehouse College in May of 2013, and started working for the New York Power Authority (NYPA) this past September under the tutelage and leadership of Brian Warner, NYPA’s director of policy analysis and external communications.

As a part of NYPA’s Public and Governmental Affairs group in Albany, Saxon’s primary responsibility includes tracking and analyzing legislation that could have an effect on how NYPA conducts business. His job also includes interacting with state and local lawmakers, serving as a liaison between NYPA and its stakeholders.

 Jonathan Saxon

Jonathan Saxon

In the coming two years, Saxon plans on absorbing as much knowledge and information as possible, picking up skills that he can use and transfer to any future career opportunities, and meeting with people in the ongoing pursuit of building a healthy, functioning professional network. After his time with the Power Authority, he plans on going to graduate school to pursue his JD/MBA.

Saxon is excited for the opportunities and challenges that NYPA and Government Relations will present. It is Jonathan’s goal that, after his two years as an Excelsior Fellow, he will be able to look back on his work and contributions as a public employee for the State of New York with pride.

The New York State Excelsior Fellowship Program was established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this year to bring highly talented college graduates of colleges, universities, graduate, law and business schools into government service. Read more about the program.

NYPA Staff, Women In Engineering

Scottish-native, Lena Smart joined New York Power Authority in 1996 as an IT Help Desk Contractor. After a stint on Wall Street, Lena returned to NYPA in 2003 to head and build the Authority’s Cyber-Security team. Lena will speak at the WICE NY Conference on Cyber-Security on November 4th.

  1. How did you get started working in cyber security? I watched the movie War Games when I was 16, and that opened my eyes to the interesting things that computers could be used for.
  2. What surprises you most about working in cyber security?  The constant change in technology.
  3. What are you working on now? We are building a brand new network for NYPA’s operations circuits.  It’s very exciting and I’m enjoying it.  We are breaking our network in two.  One network will be used for Business type traffic – email & file sharing.  The other half will be an Operations Network.  This will allow us to proactively manage our critical circuits, and also maintain an accurate inventory of critical communications equipment that is available to Site and Corporate staff via a database.
  4. What is your advice to women getting started in your field? Stand your ground.  Learn your craft and become an expert.  Then it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman.  People will respect you for your knowledge, not your gender.
  5. Do you mentor?  Yes.  Both with the NYPA program and unofficially.  I enjoy mentoring, particularly when I am able to help someone with a problem that they thought was insurmountable.  I also like to teach people about cyber security, and how best to protect themselves from the “trolls” or “identity thieves” that lurk on the internet.
  6. You mentioned that playing the cello is essential to your work-life balance? I received the cello as a gift, some years ago.  I always wanted to learn how to play it, after hearing Jacqueline Du Pre play an Elgar Concerto, when I was 11 years old.  I’ve been playing for about 5 years.

  7. Besides, playing the cello? Tell me something else about yourself – anything?  I don’t have a college degree in computer science, but I taught myself how to work with computers, networks and programming.
  8. What do you think about this statement? “Everything is moving online. Today, it seems that people and companies are putting every aspect of their lives and work on the internet.”  Two words – Edward Snowden.  He lifted the lid on secrets, and you can’t close that box now it’s opened up to the world.  If people want to have privacy, stay away from the Internet.  Once you put something online, it’s there forever.  Whether you like it or not.

Meet NYPA’s Cyber-Security Expert Lena Smart