JEA CEO job attracts 28 applicants

The pool will be narrowed by Sept. 7 with final interviews to begin in October.

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JEA received 28 applications in the city-owned utility’s search for its next CEO.

The deadline to apply was Aug. 31.

The resumes obtained by the Daily Record comprise a mix of public and utility executives, water and energy industry professionals and consultants.

Local and regional applicants include Beaches Energy Services Director Allen Putnam and Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Edward Bielarski Jr.

Other applicants include executives from Dallas-based natural gas and oil pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in California and municipal utilities in Austin, Texas, and Anchorage, Alaska. There also are leaders of small to medium-size city energy cooperatives.

The JEA board hired utility industry executive search firm Mycoff Fry Partners LLC on May 26.

Carl Mycoff, managing director the firm, said the initial response was typical. 

 “There is always an eclectic mix,” he said. “There are people from all walks of life that will put their hat in the ring.” 

JEA is seeking a permanent replacement for fired Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn, whose employment was terminated for cause by the former board Jan. 28.

The board fired Zahn after city attorneys investigated and accused him of willful misconduct and gross negligence in the failed attempt to sell JEA and a proposed employee bonus plan, which was not implemented. A federal grand jury is investigating the sale process.

Paul McElroy, who was JEA’s CEO from 2012-18, was brought back on a six-month interim contract beginning May 8 to lead the utility.

Mycoff said the board directed his firm to look at the ability to regain public trust and credibility as a key characteristic in JEA’s next CEO.

“As you know, JEA has a myriad of challenges,” Mycoff said. “An individual that has demonstrated comparable success in a similar situation would be a desirable candidate.”

Mycoff said his firm, McElroy and Special Assistant to the CEO Angelia Hiers will narrow the resumes and make recommendations to the board’s search committee led by JEA Board Vice President Bobby Stein on candidates to interview. 

Those recommendations are expected to be complete Sept. 7, according to the recruitment scheduled provide by JEA.

The board plans to conduct final interviews Oct. 12-16 and complete contract negotiations with a finalist by Oct. 30.

JEA CEO applicants

Sylvester Allen: Vice president of sales and marketing for RPA Energy Inc. in New York. Jacksonville University alumnus.  

Elaina L. Ball: Senior vice president and interim CEO at El Paso Electric in El Paso, Texas. Former COO of Austin Energy in Austin, Texas.

Edward Bielarski Jr.: General manager of Gainesville Regional Utilities.

Rick A. Bowen: Principal of R.A. Bowen Consulting LLC in Houston. Former president of generation and BTU conversion at Peabody Energy in St. Louis.

John A. Davis: Vice president – controller and information technology (utility division) of Energy Transfer Partners/Southern Union Company in Dallas.

Christine Ferraro: Director of Reedy Creek Energy Services in Lake Buena Vista. Former director of operations at PPL Electric Utilities in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

Tracy Golden: General manager of Northeast Power in Wayne, Nebraska. Former interim CEO of Pedernales Electric Cooperative in Johnson City, Texas.

Kenneth C. Griffin: Director of utilities, public works and engineering and capital projects for city of Sebastian.

John Louis Hairston: Bonneville Power Administration COO in Portland, Oregon.

Micheal B. Heise: President and CEO of Cloverland Electric Cooperative in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.

William P. Herdegen III: Operations vice president of Henkels & McCoy Inc. in Aurora, Illinois.

Stephen J. Humes: Equity partner at Holland & Knight LLP in Hamden, Connecticut.

Thomas J. Hutka: Director of public works for Broward County.

Daniel A. Komm: Assistant to the vice president of fleet operations for Southern Nuclear Co. in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Patrick J. McGarry: Senior director of Power Costs Inc. in Ponte Vedra Beach. Former managing director of The Energy Authority in Jacksonville.

John McMurray: COO of EnergyUnited in Statesville, North Carolina.

Cheryl Mele: Independent consultant in Austin, Texas. Former interim vice president of regulatory affairs of Austin Energy in Austin, Texas. 

Robert E. Merton: Former director of engineering for CCI Spectrum in Jacksonville.

Morgan K. O’Brien: President and CEO of Peoples Gas in Pittsburgh.

Dale Oliver: Vice president, transmission engineering, project management and construction at Entergy Services Inc. in New Orleans.

James F. Palmer: Electric operations superintendent at Pacific Gas and Electric in San Francisco. 

Allen Putnam: Managing director at Beaches Energy Services in Jacksonville Beach. Former manager of electric customer service response at JEA. University of North Florida alumni.

Mark N. Rose: Public affairs consultant and project manager for Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corp. in Red Rock, Texas. Former general manager and CEO of Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Bastrop, Texas.

William G. Schmidt: Interim CEO of Daviess-Martin County REMC in Loogootee, Indiana. Former interim CEO of Jump River Electric Cooperative Inc. in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

Gary Stephenson: Managing partner of GBA Energy Partners LLC in Dayton, Ohio.

Jay C. Stowe: CEO and founder of Stowe Utility Group LLC in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Former senior vice president of resources and operations support for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

James A. Trent: Former general manager and COO of Anchorage Municipal Light & Power in Anchorage, Alaska.

Richard Dean Wallen: COO of the Grant County Public Utility District in Ephrata, Washington.




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