Community Engagement

Public power leadership changes and accomplishments

JEA board selects Aaron Zahn as interim CEO

The board of directors for JEA has selected Aaron Zahn to serve as interim CEO of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based public power utility. After Paul McElroy recently announced his resignation as JEA CEO the JEA board named Melissa Dykes, JEA’s chief financial officer, to serve as interim CEO until an April 17 board meeting. Until recently, Zahn had served as a member of the JEA board, but resigned his position in order to be considered for the interim CEO opening. At the April 17 meeting, Zahn and Dykes made presentations to the board describing their qualifications and interests in serving as interim CEO. There was also discussion at the board meeting about an expanded senior position for Dykes at JEA.

Craig Collar to retire as CEO/GM of Snohomish County PUD

Snohomish County Public Utility District CEO/General Manager Craig Collar has announced his retirement from the utility, effective Oct. 1, 2018, with his last day at the PUD June 29, 2018. Collar has led the PUD for nearly three years, and previously served as an Assistant General Manager of Power, Rates and Transmission. He joined the utility in 2006. Collar is leaving to spend more time with family. The PUD noted that Collar has played an instrumental role in securing tens of millions of dollars in grants and forging numerous partnerships with universities and research organizations as the PUD has studied and developed new renewable energy resources in the Pacific Northwest. He also led negotiations with the Bonneville Power Administration, the utility’s largest energy supplier, and worked to address a broad range of federal energy compliance issues.

Tracey LeBeau selected as WAPA’s chief administrative officer

Tracey LeBeau has been selected as the Western Area Power Administration’s chief administrative officer by WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark Gabriel. The chief administrative officer is responsible for WAPA’s internal administrative operations and managing administrative programs functionally critical to WAPA’s mission. WAPA said that a number of offices are being considered for the office: natural resources, procurement, human resources, records management, facilities, the Transmission Infrastructure Program and the office of economic impact and diversity. “We are realigning some of the support functions that have historically been housed under the chief operating officer and moving them into the office of the CAO,” said Gabriel. “The office of the COO is large, encompassing too many departments and programs to be managed effectively by one person. This change will help us be more effective, efficient, focused and strategic as we head into a new energy frontier,” Gabriel said. LeBeau previously managed WAPA’s Transmission Infrastructure Program office, a position she began in August 2014. As TIP manager, she oversaw the operations and management of WAPA’s $3.25 billion borrowing authority to support developing critical infrastructure in WAPA’s territory. 

FMPA CFO Mark Larson passes away

Florida Municipal Power Agency announced the passing of Mark Larson, FMPA’s chief financial officer. FMPA appointed Rich Popp to serve as Interim Assistant CFO on Feb. 28, 2018, and he will continue to serve in that role. Larson passed away April 16 in Orlando, Fla., after a brief battle with cancer. “Mark was a great colleague to FMPA’s staff, members and the financial community,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Jacob Williams. “In both his professional and personal lives, Mark always pushed himself and others to be their very best. His wisdom and friendship will be greatly missed.” Larson had served FMPA since 2002. Prior to joining the Agency, he was director of finance for the Greenville, N.C., Utilities Commission for more than 10 years.