Chambers leaving JAXUSA Partnership for FPL

The 17-year JAX Chamber veteran joins the utility Monday as economic development manager.

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A JAXUSA Partnership senior leader leaves her job today to start Monday with Florida Power & Light Co.

Cathy Chambers, JAXUSA senior vice president of strategy and business development, is joining the utility as economic development manager.

Chambers joins as FPL considers a bid to buy JEA. FPL President Eric Silagy said Aug. 16 the company is looking at making an offer to buy Jacksonville’s power and water utility.

JAXUSA is the JAX Chamber’s economic development division.

"I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the talented team at the JAX Chamber and JAXUSA Partnership for more than 17 years,” said Chambers in a statement Thursday.

She said she looks forward “to continuing to work with JAXUSA on exciting projects in this region and the rest of FPL's territory."

JAXUSA President Aundra Wallace, who took the position Oct. 1 after the retirement of Jerry Mallot, told JAXUSA investors Aug. 27 by email that Chambers was leaving.

“Cathy has been an integral part of the JAXUSA Partnership team, beginning her tenure in marketing and now serving as a leader in the organization’s business development and strategic planning efforts,” Wallace wrote in the email.

“During this time, she has worked to generate thousands of jobs and millions in capital investment, particularly in the financial services and fintech industry sectors, and led the region’s strategic plans, including the current five-year vision, Elevate Northeast Florida.”

Wallace wrote that “while her creativity, sharp business mind and quick wit will be greatly missed, this is a well-deserved opportunity for Cathy.”

At the utility, Chambers will support its business development efforts in Northeast Florida, including the development of FPL-owned Crawford Diamond Industrial Park in Nassau County, Wallace wrote.

“As FPL serves on the JAXUSA Advisory Council, she will continue to have a strong presence in JAXUSA successes, activities and direction,” he said.

Wallace said Friday he soon will advertise a position description “to hire a skilled professional” to join the Business Development team.

After the Aug. 16 informational presentation to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council, Silagy answered reporters’ questions about JEA.

“We’re of course interested and continue to work with JEA, looking at what the opportunity is. JEA is a great organization,” he said.

JEA, one of the largest municipally owned electric, water and stormwater utilities in the country and the largest in Florida, is inviting responses from companies and organizations interested in buying some or all of it.

JEA officials released a notice of solicitation Aug. 2, asking interested and qualified parties to submit their proposals by noon Sept. 30.

FPL is owned by Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. NextEra Energy said in an August investor presentation that FPL is the largest electric utility in the United States by megawatt-hour sales.

It said FPL served more than 5 million customer accounts and generated $12 billion in operating revenue, holding $55 billion in total assets.

Silagy’s presentation included a map that showed FPL serves some of southwest Florida and, except for Duval and part of Clay counties, all of the state’s east coast.

Silagy said FPL has known JEA “many, many decades.”

“We obviously serve this area. We’ve partnered with them on power plants and on storm restoration. We’ve been there. We know a lot about JEA and they’re a terrific company and this is an opportunity,” he said.