← Older posts
American Water Works Company Inc. has announced that Jeff Sterba will retire from his role as president and chief executive officer of American Water at the Company’s annual meeting, scheduled for May 9, 2014. At that time, American Water’s current senior vice president and chief financial officer Susan N. Story will succeed Sterba as president and CEO. Sterba will stay on as an advisor to Story to ensure a smooth transition until January 1, 2015.
“I am so proud of what the American Water employees have achieved in the past few years,” said Jeff Sterba, president and CEO of American Water. “With a clear and well established vision, we have and will continue to execute our strategy. The leadership team at American Water has created a company where continuous improvement is fully ingrained into our culture, customers are at the center of our actions and increasing shareholder value has and will be the result. While I will miss the committed and dedicated people of American Water, I know I will leave the company in incredibly capable hands, ensuring a pathway for sustainable and profitable growth.”
Sterba joined American Water as CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, the company delivered solid earnings per share growth more than doubling its equity share price and market capitalization, while strengthening its balance sheet with increases in revenues, net margin, and cash flow. At the same time, the company achieved its O&M efficiency rate goal through effective cost management and increased efficiencies. American Water also established its portfolio optimization strategy and grew both its regulated and market-based businesses. During Sterba’s tenure, American Water became the first U.S. water utility named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index.
Beyond his achievements at American Water, Sterba also became a thought leader in the water industry, testifying before Congress numerous times as well as helping to launch the Value of Water Coalition, a coalition made up of both public and private members of the water industry working to educate the public on the importance of clean, safe, and reliable water.
“Jeff has been a consummate leader since taking over the helm at American Water in 2010,” said George MacKenzie, Chairman of American Water’s Board of Directors. “Under his direction, the company has achieved year-over-year growth, expanded its services and territories, become more efficient and effective, and, most importantly, delivered excellent service to customers. The entire board thanks him for positioning American Water for long-term success.”
“The Board is also very pleased that Susan Story will become American Water’s next leader,” MacKenzie continued. “Susan has more than 30 years of utility experience and knowledge and we are confident that under her direction, American Water will continue to deliver the solid performance its customers, employees and shareholders have come to expect.”
Story is currently American Water’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. American Water expects to name Story’s CFO successor prior to May 2014.
“American Water is a remarkable company. Our employees are dedicated to providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable water; to the highest levels of customer service; and to the effective stewardship of our environment. Our company is built on integrity and committed to financial fundamentals that serve the best interest of our customers, employees, shareholders and communities,” said Story. “It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this top-notch leadership team and these highly committed employees. We look forward to carrying on the tradition of excellence and outstanding performance that Jeff Sterba established during his time leading this great company.”
Before joining American Water, Story served as executive vice president of Southern Company, one of America’s largest generators of electricity serving both regulated and competitive markets across the southeastern United States. In that role she was also president and CEO of Southern Company Services, providing a wide array of shared services across the company’s geographic footprint.
A seasoned utility executive, Story also served as president and CEO of Gulf Power Company, a Florida subsidiary of Southern Company, and as Southern Company’s executive vice president of Engineering and Construction Services. Story began her career at Southern Company as a nuclear power plant engineer and had increasing executive and leadership responsibilities in both power plant and T&D operations, marketing, customer service, human resources, corporate real estate and supply chain management.
Story has a history of active involvement in community, industry, education and economic development efforts. She currently serves on the Bipartisan Policy Center Board of Directors in Washington, D.C. and as a member of the Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Advisors in Tampa, Fla. She was recently the national chairman for the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and served on the boards of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE). In her time in Florida, she was a member of the Florida Board of Education, appointed to the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, appointed chair of the state’s economic development public-private partnership, and was an appointee to the Tax and Budget Reform Commission, required every 20 years by the Florida Constitution.
Story is an independent director of Raymond James Financial (RJF), having served on the board since 2008.
She attended executive education programs at Duke University and Oxford University, and completed international business studies at Cambridge University and leadership studies at Harvard. She earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She completed additional post-graduate coursework in the Master of Finance program at the University of Alabama focusing in financial derivatives, and at the Birmingham School of Law focusing on torts and contracts.
On December 11, 2013, Pennsylvania American Water announced the winners of its “Community Investment Challenge,” a contest where voters on the company’s Facebook page determined grant awards to support environmental projects and community improvement programs. In all, 17 organizations from across the commonwealth entered projects in the contest, and Facebook users were able to vote once each day between November 8 and December 8 for their favorite projects.
After a total of 2,689 votes were cast during the month-long contest, the top three winners are:
- First place (737 votes): Downtown Scranton Spring Planter Beautification Project will receive a $1,000 grant for cleaning up debris and planting flowers and bushes throughout the planters in Scranton’s Main Street district. The University of Scranton’s Office of Community Relations and student government is partnering with Scranton Tomorrow and Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County to extend its annual spring “Street Sweep” neighborhood clean-up event into downtown Scranton.
- Second place (695 votes): Derry Township Environmental Action Committee will receive a $700 grant for its Rain Barrel Workshop, where attendees can purchase high-quality rain barrels at a reduced cost and learn about stormwater runoff and water conservation.
- Third place (247 votes): Mt. Lebanon Environmental Sustainability Board will receive a $300 grant for its Energy Camels Project to reward residents who make documented progress in energy or water conservation. Energy Camels, when placed in residents’ front yards, are designed to engage the community by making behavior change “fun” through education about conservation.
More information is available on their website.
Connecticut Water & the University of Connecticut will move forward with proposed plans to expand the regional long-term water supply.
“This agreement demonstrates the commitment of Connecticut Water and UConn to develop a long-term water supply solution for the region that is environmentally sound,” says Eric W. Thornburg, president and CEO of Connecticut Water. Mr. Thornburg added, “We are eager to partner with the University and the Town of Mansfield so the project can move forward on the anticipated schedule to support the initiatives planned for the area including the Tech Park, the Four Corners, and other economic development opportunities in the community. We recognize the importance of this project and will work collaboratively with key stakeholders throughout the process.”
Video remarks of Eric Thornburg, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Water on approval of the agreement by the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees is available at Connecticut Water’s YouTube channel.
NAWC’s executive director, Michael Deane, on how private water companies are mitigating cyber security threats by maintaining a highly-developed expert workforce, establishing security protocols, instituting industry best practices and devising excellent security strategies.
Read the full blog post online and for updates follow Michael Deane on twitter.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), an award-winning innovations laboratory for urban sustainability released a new report yesterday on the urgent need to invest in repairing and replacing America’s crumbling infrastructure. Titled, The Case for Fixing the Leaks, the report is focused on the Great Lakes region as a case study to demonstrate the challenges we are facing across the country.
The full report is available on CNT’s website.
EPA’s Office of Water has released a report to help raise the awareness of water’s importance to our national economic welfare, and to summarize information that public and private decision-makers can use to better manage the nation’s water resources.
The report, titled The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy, identifies key data gaps, and describes the implication of the study’s findings for future research. EPA intends this report to serve as a catalyst for a broader discussion about water’s critical role in the U.S. economy.
The main findings of the report include that:
- Water is absolutely fundamental to the U.S. economy
- Water value and competition will rise
- Decision-makers in the private and public sectors need more information
The full report is available online.
Dilma Seli Pena and Carter Strickland will participate in a keynote session on the first day of the American Water Summit 2013, being held in Washington D.C. Tuesday, November 5 through Wednesday, November 6.
Pena is the CEO of Sabesp, the biggest and most prosperous water utility in Brazil. The company provides water service to 26.7 million customers in São Paulo state—or 60% of the population. Pena is also president of the board of directors of Emae and Cesp and has held various positions in the federal government, including strategic investments director at the Ministry of Planning, assistant secretary of planning and economics in the Sao Paulo State government and president of the National Forum of the Sanitation States Secretaries. In her keynote, Pena will address how Sabesp has balanced the needs of its public sector majority owner with those of private investors on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bovespa Brazilian stock exchange.
Strickland is commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). During his keynote, he will discuss the creation and implementation of Strategy 2011-2014, which is the DEP’s plan to achieve its goal of becoming “the safest, most effective, cost-efficient and transparent water utility in the nation.” Strickland, who largely contributed to the development of Strategy 2011-2014 in his former role as deputy commissioner for sustainability at DEP, has also been involved in environmental planning, analysis, permitting, policy and enforcement programs at DEP.
The NAWC is proud to be a sponsor of the American Water Summit 2013, which brings together water utility leaders, business water users, investors, engineers and water technology companies to discuss key water issues currently facing our country today.
Check out the full American Water Summit 2013 agenda and book now to be a part of this exciting event and help make a better future for water in America.
Today marks the one-year anniversary since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Eastern Seaboard, leaving more than $68 billion of devastation in its wake. Extreme weather events of this kind have grown more prevalent in recent years—devastating communities, claiming lives, damaging property and threatening sensitive infrastructures such as drinking water and wastewater systems. In the face of these challenges, skilled and dedicated water professionals continue to work hard to minimize service disruptions.
The public and private companies that represent the water industry have many systems and processes in place to deal with catastrophic storms like Hurricane Sandy. In fact, water service is rarely interrupted during storms, even when electricity has been lost. However, as climate change evolves and the threat of larger and more frequent storms grows, water companies must continuously stay ahead of the storm and prepare for the worst.
During Sandy, Middlesex Water Company was faced with the challenge of providing service to 400,000 customers amidst widespread power outages and faulty generators. Fortunately, the facility’s standby generators were functioning within hours and intensified social media efforts kept customers informed. The experience reaffirmed the importance of thinking ahead and planning for worst case scenarios. As a result, over the last year, Middlesex has expanded its emergency preparedness plans to better anticipate weather events of Sandy’s magnitude. In addition to increasing the number of generators in the Middlesex system, the company further developed its communications processes—both internally and with customers. This includes streamlining emergency response plans, reinforcing its incident command structure and instituting an improved customer notification system called DIRECTAlert.
Hurricane Sandy also served as a catalyst for improving preparedness at New Jersey American Water. Before the storm hit, the company had been testing a tracking program that used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as a more effective alternative to analog maps and charts. The use of digital mapping and GIS-GPS tracking allowed the company to determine the service status of select systems within seconds of the storm, which helped quickly identify the areas that needed the most attention. Since then, the company has focused on strengthening their service abilities, including the expansion of the GIS-GPS tracking system.
Throughout the storm and in the weeks following, all affected businesses struggled with how to communicate with customers. Within the past year, United Water has greatly improved two-way communications by expanding its social media presence through Twitter and Facebook. These platforms—in addition to customer service lines, direct calls to customers and the company website—allow United Water to keep customers informed during emergency situations, as well as gather their feedback and specific concerns. In 2014, United Water plans to roll out a new smartphone application that allows customers to report potential water service issues, such as an open fire hydrant, leaky pipe or even a water main break.
No one knows when the next weather crisis will occur, but the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy will help ensure that we are more prepared. Nothing touches as much of our lives as water, and as such, we have a responsibility to manage it, remaining fully aware of its crucial role in virtually every social, cultural and economic element of our society. Public and private companies will need to continue working together to develop and implement innovative crisis management solutions.
On Tuesday, November 5 through Wednesday, November 6, the American Water Summit 2013 will be held just outside Washington, DC. The NAWC is proud to be a sponsor of this event, which brings together water utility leaders, business water users, investors, engineers and water technology companies to discuss key water issues currently facing our country today.
From new financial models to deeper levels of engagement with corporate water users, there are many important changes happening in the water industry. The theme of the American Water Summit 2013, “Accelerating Change,” represents the efforts to continue moving that change forward, through creative and innovative measures that help meet our most significant challenges.
The first day of the Summit will kick off with a panel of keynote speakers that includes Dilma Seli Pena, director-president and member of the board of directors of the Water and Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo, Brazil (Sabesp), and Carter Strickland, commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Small icebreaking discussions facilitated by industry experts will follow, with topics that include (among others) emerging trends in water technology investment, innovative financing initiatives at the federal, state and municipal levels, how to grow the market for PPPs in America and creating space for innovation in water utilities.
Also included on the first day’s agenda are two “One-2-One” networking sessions (an opportunity to meet with other delegates), Global Water Intelligence (GWI) research presentations, as well as numerous sessions covering topics such as the link between sustainable water management and economic growth, new directions in water finance, the effect of water management on businesses, water investment, delivering better operational performance and growth opportunities coming in the next three years. NAWC members speaking at sessions will include Jeff Sterba, president and CEO, American Water, Bertrand Camus, CEO, United Water, Scott Haskins, director of Technology, Quality and Innovation, CH2M HILL and Todd Williams, Global Residuals Resource Recovery Technology Leader, CH2M HILL.
The second day of the Summit will begin with a panel featuring US mayors from New York, Texas and Florida (among others) discussing their ideas for improving water quality and wastewater services in their communities, followed by a Water Leaders Session on “Needs, Expectations and Delivery.” Additional sessions throughout day two will discuss how the industry is using limited finances to deliver quality water service and the latest Water-Energy Nexus developments (featuring Robert Bailey, president of the Water Business Group, CH2M HILL).
The Summit will conclude with water plant tours at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant—the largest plant of this type in the world.
Check out the full American Water Summit 2013 agenda and book now to be a part of this exciting event and help make a better future for water in America.
On Wednesday, November 6 through Thursday, November 7, the Southeast Chapter of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) will hold the 2013 Southeast Water Infrastructure Summit in Chattanooga, TN.
This year’s Summit, the first of its kind in Chattanooga, brings together leaders from the private and public sectors across the southeast region to discuss ongoing challenges, innovative approaches and critical solutions to water infrastructure issues facing communities today. Local, state, regional and national experts will address how to balance the critical need for investments in water and wastewater infrastructure while protecting the environment, customers and businesses.
As the newest and largest chapter in the NAWC’s network of ten state chapters, the Southeast chapter seeks to elevate the infrastructure investment discussion to the regional level at the 2013 Southeast Water Infrastructure Summit. The event, “Building the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future” will provide a forum for community water and wastewater systems – private and public – to collaborate on the shared goal of continuing to deliver safe, reliable water and wastewater services to communities.
Earlier this year, the NAWC launched the Water Is Your Business campaign to start the conversation on water infrastructure needs on a national level, citing statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that estimate a national need of $650 billion in infrastructure investment. Furthermore, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2013 report, the state of Tennessee alone has reported $3.5 billion in water infrastructure needs and another $1.4 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.
Expert speakers at the Summit will include state regulators, representatives from the U.S. EPA, local government officials, economists and executive from some of the region’s largest private water utilities. Topics will include infrastructure investment in competitive environments, the benefits of public-private partnerships, the impact of water infrastructure on regional and local business levels and infrastructure costs in relation to shrinking state and local public budgets.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke will open Thursday’s morning session. For the full agenda and speaker list, visit the 2013 Southeast Water Infrastructure Summit homepage.
← Older posts