September 29, 2020 -
After a lifetime dedicated to the support of municipal utilities in Indiana, Raj Rao, President and CEO of the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), was named a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash. The award was presented on September 28 at the Office of Governor Eric Holcomb with Governor Holcomb, Rao, and his wife Jabili present. They were joined by former, current, and future chairpersons of the IMPA Board of Commissioners Sue Saunders (Lewisville), Phil Goode (Crawfordsville), and Brent Slover (Linton).
“I am incredibly honored to be named a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash,” commented Rao. “Growing up in India, I came to the United States to pursue an education. Little did I know that I would find a career, life, and home in Indiana. It is the highest privilege and honor of my life to serve the citizens of Indiana and the public power industry.”
“I am pleased to present a Sagamore of the Wabash to Raj Rao today,” commented Governor Holcomb. “Raj has been leading IMPA for 34 years and giving back to his community along the way. He makes us proud to be a Hoosier.”
Over the last 40 years, Rao has crafted a remarkable career in the not-for-profit, public power sector of the electric utility industry in the Hoosier state. His stewardship of IMPA has benefitted countless citizens, businesses, and communities throughout Indiana.
After completing his undergraduate engineering degree in India, Rao came to the United States from Hyderabad, India and earned his Master’s degree from Ball State University. Rao’s contributions to IMPA and Indiana’s electric utility industry began in 1977 when he was hired as an engineer at Richmond Power and Light, a community-owned electric utility, in Richmond, Indiana. In 1983, IMPA began operations and Rao was asked to move from Richmond Power and Light to this new organization as Director of Engineering to help establish it as a credible municipal wholesale power provider. Rao was named CEO of IMPA in 1986 and has served tirelessly in that role ever since.
Rao is one of the most respected utility executives in his field and is looked upon as an expert and innovator in the development of solutions for Indiana’s – and our nation’s – power needs. Rao’s determination and deep desire to help has been, and continues to be, the driving force behind IMPA’s overall success. During his tenure, IMPA has grown from an Agency with zero assets to a $2 billion organization today. The Agency was formed to provide municipal utilities with a low-cost, reliable, environmentally-responsible power supply, and IMPA’s 61 member communities continue to enjoy some of the lowest residential electric rates in the state today.
While Rao has established an admirable life and company in Indiana, he has not forgotten his roots, either. He exhibits the same commitment and dedication to those still living in his home country of India. Once settling in Indiana, Rao became heavily involved in the India Association, serving on the Board for several years, and financially helping to send over 30 kids back in India to college over the years. He has done all of this while raising two remarkable daughters and becoming the leader of one of the finest public power utility organizations in the US.
Rao’s tireless commitment to public power and his strong dedication to the citizens of the Hoosier state are evident. The energy with which he has approached his career, and his life, is tremendous. Through every one of his actions and words, his true passion for and commitment to his adopted home of Indiana rings true.
The Sagamore of the Wabash is the highest honor which the Governor of Indiana bestows. It is a personal tribute to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state. The term “Sagamore” was used by the American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a great man among the tribe to whom the chief would look for wisdom and advice.
The Indiana Municipal Power Agency is the not-for-profit wholesale power provider to 61 cities and towns in Indiana and Ohio who own and operate the municipal electric distribution systems in their communities. IMPA member communities deliver electric service to approximately 330,000 individuals throughout the state. For more information, visit www.IMPA.com.