Longtime Southern Company executive named COO at McCrary Institute

Published: Nov 28, 2023 10:20 AM

By Joe McAdory

Nick Sellers, who served in a variety of leadership positions within the Southern Company umbrella for more than 20 years, has been named chief operating officer (COO) for Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security.

In this newly created role, Sellers — vice president at Alabama Power from 2012-23 — will oversee day-to-day operations of the institute and find creative means to secure funding and drive value through cyber research, cyber policy creation and cyber workforce education initiatives.

“We’re thrilled to have someone of Nick’s caliber join us at the McCrary Institute,” said Frank Cilluffo, director, McCrary Institute, former member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council. “This is an exciting time for the Institute and all things cyber at Auburn. Nick is a seasoned executive and his experience and leadership in the private sector will help us immensely as we continue to grow and innovate.”

Sellers said he is excited for this opportunity and is committed to “bring further value to Auburn University and the McCrary Institute.”

“First and foremost, the cyber policy initiatives that Frank Cilluffo is helping to lead — both in the halls of Congress where laws are made and in the regulatory bodies where the rules are made — it’s imperative that we grow these initiatives through platforms we intend to launch at the McCrary Institute,” Sellers said.

“Secondly, we want to use those policy initiatives to drive partnership and growth opportunities around applied cyber research and cyber workforce education. It’s important to build authentic relationships and teamwork inside the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the greater Auburn Family, and identify how our tremendous assets can bring more value to cyber research and policy. Then, we can connect those to what we're trying to accomplish in Washington, D.C., and grow our applied research capabilities both here at Auburn University and at the Research and Innovation campus in Huntsville.”

Sellers recognized Auburn University’s commitment to fostering cyber research, building a cyber-informed workforce and the importance of establishing cyber-related policies.

“It starts with the university administration and dovetails right into the McCrary Institute’s advisory board, who are experts in their fields and proven leaders who care deeply about making America safer and understand how our role in cyber can make this happen,” he said. “Frank Cilluffo is a leading national voice on cyber security. My role will focus on implementing platforms and services that expand our reach, grow our value proposition, and drive more connectivity between Frank’s policy leadership and our extensive research expertise at Auburn.

“At the very top, there is a clear consistency within Auburn leadership – including President Chris Roberts, Dr. Steve Taylor, who serves as senior vice president for research and economic development, and Auburn Engineering Dean Mario Eden – to develop our mission and outreach opportunities.”

Sellers has a versatile career beyond the power grid. He served as CEO for the 2022 World Games, hosted by Birmingham, was policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama, special assistant for economic development for the Business Council of Alabama, and chaired the Alabama Sports Council.

A graduate of the University of the Pacific, Sellers earned his Juris Doctor in 2008 from the Birmingham School of Law. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Sellers’ duties at the McCrary Institute began October 1.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory, jem0040@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447
Nick Sellers is dedicated to "bring further value to Auburn University and the McCrary Institute.”

Nick Sellers is dedicated to "bring further value to Auburn University and the McCrary Institute.”

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