Reef Industries

Robert C. Degeneff 1943-2019

Bob was known industry wide for his pioneering work in transient voltage response modeling of transformers.

Robert “Bob” C. Degeneff

Robert “Bob” C. Degeneff passed away on March 16, 2019, surrounded by his family. He was born in the St. Louis, Missouri area, and graduated Ferguson High School, where he excelled in academics and sports, especially baseball. After high school, Bob went on to General Motors Institute (Kettering Institute) where he received a degree in mechanical engineering.

He came to Upstate New York in 1967 to pursue a Master’s degree in Electric Power engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and then enlisted and served as Captain in the United States Air Force until 1971.

After his service, Bob returned to upstate New York to obtain his Doctorate in Electric Power engineering, and stayed in the area to start his career and raise his family.  While completing his doctoral degree he began working for General Electric Company in the Large Power Transformer Department in Pittsfield, MA. In 1980, he moved to GE’s HVDC Department followed by their Software Services group.

Early in his career at GE,Bob became one of the pioneers in developing computer-modeling tools to understand the transient voltage response of transformers. Transformer manufacturers around the world eventually developed similar computer modeling programs based upon his work. He continued his computer modeling of transformer transient response throughout his lifetime and is known industry wide for this work. While at GE, Bob was recognized with their Power Sector Centennial award in 1978, and again in 1983 with their Patent award.

In 1989, he became a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the world known Electric Power Engineering department until his retirement.Concurrently, he also founded and began to direct his own company Utility Systems Technology (UST) for consulting to the Electric Power industry. Bob grew the company to produce power quality mitigation products that are now in use around the world. After retiring, he continued his professional endeavors manufacturing electronic voltage regulators and sag mitigation equipment, and as a worldwide consultant for the Power Transformer sector.

Bob was active in IEEE and CIGRE as a participant, educator, and mentor to his fellow colleagues.In 1993, he was elevated to IEEE fellow “for contributions to the modeling and computation of transient voltages in transformer windings,” and in 2008, was honored with the IEEE Herman Halperin award for his four decades of technical contributions to the modeling of transformer coils and windings. Most recently, he was presented with the IEEE-PES Transformers Committees 2015 Distinguished Service award for his long-term commitment and technical support of the committee.

He was a professional Engineer in the State of New York and member of several honor societies including Eta Kappa Nu.  Always an inquisitive engineer, Bob held eight patents related to electric power equipment design and modeling, and throughout his career, he published a book, several book chapters, dozens of papers (two of which were IEEE-PES prize papers) and technical articles continuously advancing the state of the art.

Committed to his family, a woodworker, and collector of technical books, he was buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Chapel, St. Louis, MO., with military honors. Bob is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, and a grandchild.