2023 AMP Wall of Fame Inductees4 min read
By Zachary Hoffman, manager of communications and publications
The latest inductees to the AMP Wall of Fame are two individuals whose expertise in the areas of legal representation and legislative advocacy have greatly benefited AMP and its members. Gregg Ottinger, former senior counsel at the law firm of Duncan & Allen’s Washington, D.C.-based law firm, and Marty Kanner, founder and president of Washington, D.C.-based Kanner & Associates, were inducted into the AMP Wall of Fame on May 17. Both have long served AMP and its members and are strong supporters of public power.
Serving with the law firm of Duncan & Allen from 1980 until his retirement in 2022, Ottinger spent his entire career protecting the interests of public power. He represented municipalities and consumer-owned electric utilities in a wide array of issues, including power supply planning, contracting, project development, interconnection and transmission services, compliance, planning, critical infrastructure and cybersecurity, and regulatory proceedings. He worked with AMP members his entire career.
“I was at the AMP meeting when the Wall of Fame was created,” Ottinger said during the ceremony honoring him and Kanner. “I’ve been coming to AMP meetings since 1982, and I consider most of these people [previous Wall of Fame inductees] my friends but also my mentors. These are folks who, throughout my career, helped me and pulled me up. I’m so honored to be named alongside them.”
Ottinger has provided valuable counsel to many AMP members throughout his career. Most notably, he represented AMP member systems taking wholesale power from Ohio Power and, later, American Electric Power (AEP) for decades, including in the 1990 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Arcadia v. Ohio Power Co.
Throughout his years of service to public power, Ottinger also supported the City of Clyde’s successful municipalization and assisted with the establishment of other municipal electric systems, supported Ohio Municipal Electric Generation Agency Joint Venture 4 in the development of the 69-kV transmission line project interconnecting Bryan and Holiday City, and negotiated a battery storage and solar agreement on behalf of the Village of Minster.
“Gregg has provided valuable legal counsel to public power over many decades,” said Jolene Thompson, AMP President/CEO. “In fact, Gregg has dedicated his entire career to protecting the interests of public power. AMP and our members have been fortunate to have him leading and representing public power during such pivotal events.”
It was during one such pivotal event that Ottinger recommended Kanner to the organization.
As AMP continued to fight for the interests of member communities who were taking wholesale power from Ohio Power/AEP, it became apparent that the organization needed a skilled lobbyist to advocate on its behalf. Ottinger had previously worked with Kanner — who had served with the American Public Power Association (APPA) from 1989 until he formed Kanner & Associates LLC in 1992 — and suggested Kanner as the perfect candidate to provide advice and handle advocacy relating to the issue.
Kanner was already familiar with AMP through his work at the APPA and because he had previously worked with the Ohio Municipal Electric Association (OMEA) during the 1992 Energy Policy Act, His sage advice and tireless work on the Ohio Power/AEP issue impressed AMP and its members. As a result, he was asked to continue advising and advocating on behalf of the organization on federal legislative matters and national energy policy issues.
Since then, he has witnessed the organization grow into what it is today.
“It has been great watching the growth of AMP, from being an Ohio-only organization with one small power generating plant to what it is today,” Kanner said. “Everyone today assumes that big money always wins. You all and our collective experience are proof that that’s not true. Being right, being on the right side of the issues, being representatives of the best interests of local communities still matters. It has been a true honor to be a part of.”
In his time working on behalf of AMP and the OMEA, Kanner has provided political and policy guidance through many changes in the industry, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the creation of regional transmission organizations and many debates over energy, climate, tax and transmission policy. He has twice been named as one of the Top 25 Hired Guns in Washington by The Hill, a newspaper focused on politics, policy business and international relations.
‘Marty has been a champion for public power for many, many years,” said Michael Beirne, OMEA executive director and AMP vice president of external affairs. “His guidance and ability to put complex issues into simple terms proved beneficial time and again. He has been a great asset to both organizations.”
From his earliest years at APPA, Kanner has always championed the value of grassroots engagement in public power, according to Thompson. In his work with AMP, he has always helped AMP, OMEA and their members to make sure that the interests of public power are staunchly represented during policy discussions.
“He can make compelling arguments with lawmakers and he understands public power,” Thompson said. “Much of the legislative successes that AMP and OMEA have achieved can be credited to Marty’s strategic guidance, advocacy and expertise.”
Ottinger and Kanner join 27 other individual inductees to the AMP Wall of Fame, and plaques outlining their contributions to AMP and public power now hang on the Wall of Fame in the AMP Board of Trustees room at AMP’s headquarters in Columbus.
The Wall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor those individuals who, through their dedication, have made significant contributions to AMP and public power. The AMP Wall of Fame includes the names of individuals and groups who have left an indelible mark on the organization.