Florida Public Power Leaders Recognized with National Awards
Awards acknowledge their contributions to the electric utility industry and public power
Five Florida public power leaders received national awards from the American Public Power Association (APPA) for their commitment to the electric utility industry and their local communities. Recognized were Paul McElroy (retired CEO of JEA in Jacksonville), Aaron Haderle (Manager of Transmission & Distribution Operations for Kissimmee Utility Authority), Carter Manucy (IT/OT & Cybersecurity Director for Florida Municipal Power Agency), the City of Tallahassee and Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). The awards were presented during the APPA National Conference in Orlando.
(Also shown in photos: Jolene Thompson, Chair, American Public Power Association and President and CEO, American Municipal Power, Ohio and Colin Hansen, Chair-Elect, American Public Power Association and Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities, McPherson, Kansas)
Paul McElroy received the Mark Crisson Leadership and Managerial Excellence Award, which recognizes managers who raise their organizations to new levels of excellence and inspire their employees and staff to improve processes, services and operations.
McElroy originally served 16 years with JEA, including six years as Chief Financial Officer and more than five years as CEO and Managing Director. Under his visionary leadership, JEA excelled in financial stability, customer service, employee satisfaction and engagement, as well as operational excellence. A major accomplishment during McElroy’s tenure was the greatest five-year increase nationally in J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores between 2012 and 2017, moving JEA from the fourth quartile to the first.
Following his retirement in April 2018, JEA experienced significant challenges and a failed privatization attempt. At the request of a newly appointed JEA board of directors, McElroy came out of retirement to provide leadership to JEA, its more than 2,000 employees and the Jacksonville community during a time of great need. He also led JEA through the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that ensured a safe, healthy workplace and inspired teamwork, vision and confidence for continued success.
Aaron Haderle and Carter Manucy both received the Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award, which recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to APPA.
Haderle has participated in the APPA Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo for many years as both a member of the planning committee and a Master Judge. He regularly presents at APPA events and is a leader in APPA’s RP3 Review Panel, serving as the panel’s safety representative. Haderle also served on the planning committee for APPA’s “Light up the Navajo” project, which connected the homes of Navajo families to the electric grid.
Manucy has been active in APPA for more than 15 years and has helped public power utilities at the local, state and national levels maintain effective cybersecurity. He has served on many APPA committees and regularly participates in public power forums and conferences, including as a speaker and presenter. Manucy assisted APPA in creating the Joint Action Agency Cybersecurity Service Plan, Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management Guide, Public Power Cybersecurity Roadmap, and the Public Power Cyber Incident Response Playbook.
The City of Tallahassee Electric Utility received the E.F. Scattergood System Achievement Award, which recognizes public power utilities with outstanding achievements. The utility was recognized for its customer-focused initiatives, many of which assisted customers with financial hardships during COVID-19. The City of Tallahassee was the first public power utility in Florida to voluntarily suspend customer disconnects due to the pandemic.
Tallahassee is also a leader in environmental and renewable energy. The city operates two solar farms, and has adopted a community-wide clean energy goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Through the Tallahassee Solar program, customers can elect for all or a portion of their monthly electric bill to come from solar. Participants of this innovative subscription program pay a fixed cost per kilowatt hour in lieu of the cost of natural gas.
OUC received an Energy Innovator Award, which honors utilities that have developed or applied creative, energy-efficient techniques and technologies to their work. OUC developed a nanogrid that addressed decarbonization of the grid, electrification, and decentralization. It provides real-world testing of new technologies at a scale that enables OUC to gain valuable operational data with lower investment risk. The nanogrid aims to solve the key challenges of vehicle electrification, demand charge mitigation and resiliency through direct-coupled solar PV and battery storage with electric vehicle chargers.
Additionally, the nanogrid will be integrated with a hydrogen system for backup power, consisting of an electrolyzer, hydrogen storage tanks, and two fuel cells, which are part of a Department of Energy-supported green hydrogen feasibility demonstration. In essence, the nanogrid represents a plug-and-play solution utilizing smart controls to serve as a flexible resource to meet future distributed energy resource needs that is easily replicable and deployable.
The Florida public power award recipients were nominated by the Florida Municipal Electric Association, Florida Municipal Power Agency and OUC. The five Florida recipients were among 22 individuals and 11 utilities winning awards from APPA’s more than 2,000 public power utility members.