Michael L. Telson is the Vice President for Energy and Electromagnetic Systems in the Washington, DC office of the General Atomics Corporation of San Diego, CA. He also has an appointment at the University of California Washington, DC Center as its Assistant Director for Science Initiatives.
Before that, he served as senior advisor on energy and science programs to the University of California, as well as Director of National Laboratory Affairs, in its Washington Office of Federal Governmental Relations.
From 1997 - 2001, he served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He reported directly to Secretaries Pena, Richardson and Abraham advising them on all financial matters.
Before the DOE, he served as the energy and science analyst on the staff of the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives. He was responsible for reviewing the programs of the DOE, the NSF, and NASA, as well as government-wide R&D policy. He was with the Budget Committee from 1975 to 1995.
In the 95th Congress, he served as the staff economist of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Energy, created to help enact the 1978 National Energy Act. In the 96th Congress, he served as staff coordinator of Speaker Thomas Phillip O’Neill's Task Force on Energy created to deal with problems relating to the 1979 oil shortages that led to the enactment of the 1980 Energy Security Act. He was a member of the first class of AAAS Congressional and Engineering Fellows (1973-4) serving with the U. S. Senate Energy Committee.
In 1999, he was elected AAAS Fellow “for distinguished contributions in the formulation of science and technology policies and budgets and in interpretation of these policies and budgets to the scientific community.” In 2004, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society “for his contributions as both a senior congressional staffer, and a senior official in the US Department of Energy, to the support of the physical sciences in the US.” In 2002, he was elected a Senior Fellow of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics.
In January of 2001, Energy Secretary Richardson recognized his contributions by giving him the “Meritorious Service” and “Superior Performance” Awards, and in October of 2001, Secretary Abraham gave him DOE’s “Gold Medal for Excellence.”
He holds Ph.D., E.E., M.S., and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He was a Hertz Fellow throughout his graduate studies.