Randy Zwirn

    Randy Zwirn, President of the Westinghouse Power Generation Business Unit, took the helm at the Westinghouse Orlando power generation headquarters in his 21st year of management responsibility with the company. He has been in power generation since 1982. The business unit presidency is his peak to date in a fast track career that saw him begin, perhaps prophetically, in the company's international operations.

    Siemens acquired Westinghouse Power Generation from CBS and renamed it Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation adding 300,000 MWs to the company's installed base.

    Randy Zwirn stayed on as CEO and became a member of the Executive Management Board.

    "The power market, mainly in the US, has seen a marked resurgence," Zwirn, a member of World Cogeneration's Class of 2000 said as he announced contracts totaling $2.2 billion which will add over 7,000 megawatts to the U.S. power grid.

    The 50 HZ market accounted for 80 percent of Siemens business while the 60 HZ market accounted for 90 percent of the Westinghouse business before the merger. Zwirn sees this as complementing the new company both geographically and technologically. Zwirn envisions further synergies. Westinghouse has a great deal of experience in working with Architect Engineers, he observed, while Siemens has knowledge of turnkey construction of power plants.

    "What we're doing," says Zwirn, "builds on a base market strategy - that is, we're setting up sustainable, competitive bases in the regions we target. We establish systems and structure, with a strong local orientation. And we're there to stay."

    Zwirn has a personal philosophy about doing business around the world. "We don't just emphasize hardware when we approach a customer," he says, "even though we continue to put major resources into technology, product development and manufacturing." Instead, he promotes solutions tailored to local requirements. "Just about everywhere we go, customers are being driven by competitive pressures. That's a whole new world, and we're tuned to it." In the United States, he is convinced, the formula for customer satisfaction has changed basically. "There are some myths in this market," he insists, offering an example. "We keep hearing that there is too much US capacity, but we see many places and competitive situations that could be helped with a new plant. Particularly with advanced combustion turbines, we've achieved such a high level of efficiency that it can be a good investment to build a new power plant. It can make real financial sense for an owner or investor who sees the opportunities being created by deregulation and competition." He calls for a clean cut with the past, an imaginative step into a new way of trying to see what his customers, and potential customers, really need to be competitive. "The real measure of success in the mind of today's power generator," he says, "is how many kilowatt-hours he can sell at a profit-making price. So availability, for example, isn't just availability, it's availability during peak periods of demand, when the price of power is higher, and you can get a decent margin." The old measures of success are outdated for Zwirn, and for his organization. "Our customers are entering an extremely competitive period in the history of this industry. We want to offer the specific kinds of value power generators need - help them to make power to make money. Period."

    When the point is made to Zwirn that more efficient transmission may reduce need for some new generation facilities, he just repeats his remarks about providing solutions first and hardware second. "You can't be successful," he says, "unless you have successful customers."

    "We're focused on excellence in every aspect of the business," Zwirn says. "That includes the way we execute our contracts." He makes such statements with an emphasis that leaves little doubt about his own commitment.