Florida Public Power Leaders and Utility Recognized with National Awards

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FMEA LogoThree Florida public power leaders and one Florida public power utility earned national honors for their contributions and service to their communities and municipal electric utility customers. Recognized today by the American Public Power Association (APPA) were Lynne Tejeda (General Manager and CEO for Keys Energy Services), Stephanie Madden (Commissioner, City of Lakeland), Jody Finklea (General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer for Florida Municipal Power Agency and General and Regulatory Counsel for Florida Municipal Electric Association), and JEA in Jacksonville.

Lynne Tejeda received the James D. Donovan Individual Achievement Award, which recognizes people who have made substantial contributions to the electric utility industry with a special commitment to public power. She has 35 years of experience in the electric utility industry and has led Keys Energy Services for the past 18 years.

Tejeda has contributed countless hours toward promoting public power. At the state level, she serves on the Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She is the vice chair of both governing boards and the chair of the former FMPA Conservation and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee, of which she was a founding member. She also currently serves as Committee Chair for FMPA’s ARP Solar I, II and III Project Participants Advisory Committees.

Additionally, Tejeda is a past president of the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), served on FMEA’s Executive Committee, and is an active participant on FMEA’s Board of Directors and Legislative and Regulatory Committee. She received FMEA’s prestigious Member of the Year Award in 2017, and is a past recipient of multiple APPA awards, including the Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award and E.F. Scattergood System Achievement Award.

Stephanie Madden received the Spence Vanderlinden Public Official Award, which recognizes elected or appointed local officials who have contributed to APPA’s goals. Elected to office six years ago, Commissioner Madden was assigned commission oversight for the city's electric utility, Lakeland Electric, and since then, has been an active and highly involved member of both FMEA and APPA.

Commissioner Madden advocates tirelessly for not only Lakeland Electric, but for all municipal electric utilities as a member of APPA's Policy Maker Council. She travels to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., multiple times a year to speak on behalf of her utility and her state and national public power associations. She regularly attends the APPA D.C. Rally, APPA Policy Makers Council Fly-In, and APPA National Conference.

Jody Finklea received the Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award, which recognizes member utility employees who have made significant contributions toward APPA’s goals and enhanced its prestige. Through his 22-year tenure with both FMEA and FMPA, he has served as a leading voice for public power, assisting and advising on legal and regulatory matters and representing the interests of Florida's public power utilities.

Finklea is an active member of APPA and previously served as Chair of the Legal Section of the organization. In 2011, he was recognized by APPA as a Rising Star in Public Power. He frequently attends the APPA Legal Seminar, National Conference, and Legislative Rally, advocating on public power issues before members of Congress. He successfully argued before the Florida Supreme Court on the constitutionality of a proposed "energy of choice" constitutional amendment, and played an instrumental role in preventing the attempted privatization of one of Florida’s largest municipal-owned utilities.

JEA received the Sue Kelly Community Service Award, which recognizes utilities for their "good neighbor" activities that demonstrate commitment to the local community. Through its volunteer program, JEA team members contribute time and resources to nonprofit organizations and projects that improve the quality of life in the Jacksonville community. In fiscal year 2023, employees volunteered 4,329 hours in the JEA service territory.

In 2023, JEA made a five-year financial commitment to establish the JEA Sustainable Solutions Lab, as part of the University of North Florida's College of Computing Engineering and Construction, to help develop the workforce needed to meet the region's energy and water needs. Through a partnership with the Museum of Science and History, JEA's Science Theatre provides an opportunity to educate visitors on how electricity is produced.

Since 1997, JEA employees have contributed nearly $9.6 million to United Way of Northeast Florida. JEA employees also have contributed nearly $1.3 million to Creating Healthier Communities since 2007. JEA's Neighbor to Neighbor Fund has allowed employees and customers to provide temporary assistance to customers unable to pay their utility bill during a financial crisis. Each year, more than 550 families are able to maintain utility services as a result of the charitable giving provided through the Neighbor to Neighbor Fund.

The Florida public power award recipients were nominated jointly by FMEA and FMPA and selected as the winning entries by APPA. They were among 18 individual winners and nine utility winners this year. APPA is the national trade association representing more than 2,000 public power utilities nationwide.