AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has named Ernest (Ernie) J. Harkness site vice president at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio. In this position, he is responsible for overall management, direction and coordination of operation of the Perry Plant. Harkness replaces Vito Kaminskas, who has elected to retire following 38 years in the nuclear industry. A seasoned nuclear industry veteran, Harkness was formerly site vice president at Exelon Corporation's Oyster Creek Generating Station in Forked River, New Jersey, and was vice president of Special Projects for Exelon Corporation. In addition, Harkness has served as a power generation consultant, where he provided independent oversight, review and improvement initiatives at U.S. and international nuclear facilities, and as a loaned executive to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. "Ernie's strong background in Boiling Water Reactors and proven experience in achieving regulatory and industry standards of excellence will benefit Perry as the site continues safe operations while pursuing performance improvement," said FENOC President and Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Sena. "I am confident his commitment, drive and leadership will support Perry's efforts to achieve top industry performance in all areas." Harkness holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and held a Nuclear Regulatory Commission senior reactor operator license at Hope Creek Generating Station. FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its FENOC subsidiary operates the Beaver Valley Power Station, the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. More information about FENOC is available at www.fenoc.com. Follow the Perry Nuclear Power Plant on Twitter at @Perry_Plant. www.firstenergycorp.com SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.