In the fall of last year, JEA began to reorganize its development division to better serve the industry. Peter Sheridan, JEA director of projects, was joined by development adviser Pete Hallock for the reorganization and analysis of the utility’s business practices.
Hallock is a civil engineer with experience in development projects like The Players Club, Sawgrass County Club and Marsh Landing.
He said the two continued Sheridan’s efforts to improve processes, including the development of a tracking system for submitted plans. He said the two met every Thursday to monitor the plan’s progress “so we know where they are at in the pipeline.”
Sheridan and Hallock also organize regular workshops for engineers and developers to discuss JEA development processes.
Another JEA effort for the development community has been more involvement and communication with the Northeast Florida Builders Association — interaction that has been well-received by the association’s staff and membership.
“We went so long without a lot of development that some of JEA’s processes had become outdated and we wanted to rekindle our relationship to discuss changes,” said Daniel Davis, association executive director.
The JEA board of directors was informed of a comment at its Nov. 20 meeting from developer Toney Sleiman, Sleiman Enterprises president and CEO.
“I am calling for one reason only — to tell you that you are doing a great job. JEA used to be very difficult to work with, but now it has completely turned around,” Sleiman said in the call.
When contacted, Sleiman said he has been impressed with the utility’s quicker turnaround for review of building plans.
“They’ve done an about-face. They’ve brought in new people who understand development and they are reviewing plans a lot quicker,” said Sleiman.
One of the next steps will be to review a benchmark study that compares JEA to other agencies and find out where the utility stands in terms of service.
McElroy said the benchmarks should be available in the next 90 days and will be brought to the development community.
New JEA Managing Director and CEO Paul McElroy has made improving customer service one of the utility’s top goals and he is beginning to see positive feedback from the real-estate development industry.