With decades of industry expertise and continuous investment in innovation, Itron has developed the industry’s most comprehensive, secure, and proven portfolio of intelligent devices, smart, foundational networks, and software and services to deliver the right outcomes for utilities and cities as Itron works to create a more resourceful world. Aditi Dravid wants to help Itron with its efforts in achieving unparalleled reliability, insight, efficiency, and opportunity.
As associate general counsel and chief compliance officer at Itron, Dravid does just that, supporting the company in its mission to manage energy and water by working with Itron’s customers to ensure their success, so that together, they can improve the quality of life, ensure safety, and promote the well-being of people around the globe.
“I know it might sound lofty to say that we’re trying to create a better world,” Dravid acknowledges. “But it’s the truth—and it’s unique, considering the profit- and shareholder-driven expectations for most public companies.”
Itron’s social responsibility vision, including its goal of implementing renewable energy sources and building high-efficiency smart cities characterized by an enhanced quality of life, speaks to Dravid on a personal level as well.
“My parents grew up in India, and I remember traveling there every year as a kid,” Dravid explains. “There are so many water and energy resource issues in that country; Indian municipalities and utilities don’t have the same ability to safely, securely, and reliably deliver critical infrastructure services as we do in the US. I recall what at the time were these strange constant rolling blackouts during family trips back to India, because, growing up in the US, I was used to a way of living that is, honestly, pretty luxurious compared to a lot of other countries.”
Those experiences make Itron’s work especially meaningful to Dravid. Itron enables utilities and cities to make wise and resourceful use of water and energy. The availability of intelligent devices and networks to power critical infrastructure services at the point of service presents enormous opportunities for enhancing the reliability of energy and water delivery systems to communities in more than one hundred countries—exactly what Dravid saw was lacking during her childhood trips to India.
To help Itron achieve its corporate goals, Dravid says that Itron’s legal team has likewise re-positioned itself to better serve its internal clients as well as company needs. The legal team is committed to improving its own services and, during her tenure with the company, streamlined contact review processes, facilitated clearer roles and responsibilities, and implemented additional technology and systems for legal efficiency.
In her role, Dravid hopes to continue transitioning away from reactive practices toward proactivity. “On the compliance team, for example, we’re trying to proactively identify areas of compliance and regulatory risks for the business teams so that they can make informed decisions ahead of time,” she notes.
While this transition has naturally created a few challenges, Dravid has relished the opportunity it has provided to leverage her wide-ranging legal experiences, from compliance and regulatory to litigation and employment matters. “I love being a lawyer,” she says laughing. “I love getting involved in the nitty-gritty of laws and regulations, and then applying the law in a common-sense approach to find legal solutions to support business goals.” As AGC and compliance officer, she says, “I’ve tried to use my background to help create awareness in areas where the team did not have the bandwidth to do so before.”
“For any company going through change, I think it helps that in-house counsel have diverse experience and knowledge about a broad set of issues so he or she is able to speak from a viewpoint of experience.”
Her background has been used at Itron for a very specific reason: its diversity. She is responsible for legal support in the following areas: employment, litigation, compliance, and regulatory.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in finance from Washington University in St. Louis, Dravid went to work for an investment bank, a position that allowed her to fully realize her love of analytics and its intersection with law. Following her graduation from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Dravid secured positions at an array of different organizations—an Am Law 100 international law firm, an oil major, and a privately held Goldman Sachs company that transitioned through an IPO to a Fortune 500 company during her time there.
As a result of working in such different environments, Dravid has seen and touched many different legal issues that whenever a situation has arisen at Itron, she has “previously either dealt with it directly or at least seen it to know how to approach it.”
But it’s not just experience that Dravid brings to the table at Itron—it’s joy as well. “I so enjoy the innovation and rapid evolution in this industry,” Dravid says. “It’s very intriguing and challenging—new subject matters and experiences all the time.”
Dravid says enjoys the dynamic, fast-paced environment because of her background as a litigator, even though it is a new industry for her. Her litigation background has been instrumental in her transition to corporate life, she notes, because it forced her to constantly ask questions and become an expert in new subject areas with every case she handled.
“My natural default is a desire to learn and understand, and I tend to ask a lot of questions,” Dravid says. “My litigation experiences also have taught me to keep perspective and remain centered—litigation can be so competitive and adversarial, but when you learn not to take things personally and give people the benefit of the doubt under strained circumstances, you really are better able to serve your clients.”