The City of Austin, Texas AUSTIN ENERGY VICE PRESIDENT, CUSTOMER ENERGY SOLUTIONS
The City of Austin seeks applicants for the Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions (CES) opening with Austin Energy, a publicly owned electric utility. Under the direction of the Deputy General Manager and Chief Customer Officer, the Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions is responsible for strategic direction and development of the distributed energy resource practices and programs integrating the stewardship of the environment with reliable electric service delivery, quality customer service, and related program efforts to support and accomplish the strategic goals of the City of Austin and Austin Energy. The business unit consists of 134 total employees, including 120 full-time personnel, and direct reports including managers of Customer Renewable Solutions, Commercial & Key Accounts, Data Analytics & Business Intelligence, Green Building & Emerging Technology, and a Director of Energy Efficiency Services.
This vibrant and dynamic city tops numerous lists for business, entertainment, and quality of life. One of the country’s most popular and culturally dynamic cities, Austin was ranked #1 by the Wallstreet Journal in 2020 as the Hottest Job Market in the USA. Austin was selected as the #1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and #4 on the Best Places to Retire by U.S. News & World Report in 2019 and ranked in the top ten on Forbes list of America’s Best Employers in 2017. In support of the LGBTQ people who live and work in Austin, in 2020 and the previous seven years, the City of Austin scored 100 points out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign.
Austin is a beacon of sustainability, social equity, and economic opportunity; where diversity and creativity are celebrated, where community needs and values are recognized, where leadership comes from its community members, and where the necessities of life are affordable and accessible to all.
Emerging as a player on the international scene with such events as the Austin Marathon, Rodeo Austin, Austin Urban Music Festival, Blues on the Green, Austin Pride Festival, Austin Trail of Lights, SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Formula 1, and being home to companies such as Apple, Samsung, Dell, Oracle, IBM, and Ascension Seton Health. From the home of state government and institutions of higher education to the “Live Music Capital of the World” and its growth as a film center, Austin has gained worldwide attention as a hub for education, business, health, and sustainability. From founding through the year 2000, Austin’s population roughly doubled every 20 years.
The city offers a wide range of events, from music concerts, food festivals, and sports competitions to museum displays, exhibits, and family fun. Austin is also home to a wonderful ballet, world-class museums, one-of-a-kind shopping, and beautiful outdoor spaces. You can just as easily spend your morning paddling the lake as you can strolling through a celebrated history museum.
Located at the edge of the Texas Hill Country -- rolling terrain of limestone bluffs, springs, rivers, and lakes -- Austin’s climate is ideal for year-round jogging, cycling, hiking on the city’s many trails, or swimming at Barton Springs or one of the area’s many other swimming holes. There are several excellent golf courses in the area, as well as opportunities for rowing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, rock climbing, disc golf, mountain biking, fishing, and more. Austin has something for everyone.
AUSTIN CITY GOVERNMENT
The City of Austin is a progressive, full-service municipal organization operating under the Council-Manager form of government. Austin’s mayor is elected from the city at large, and ten council members are elected from single-member districts. Terms of the mayor and council members are four years, and terms are staggered so that a general election is held every two years, with half the council being elected at each election. Term limits for the mayor and council members provide for two consecutive four-year terms. The City Council is responsible for the appointment of the City Manager, who is the Chief Administrative and Executive Officer of the City, City Clerk, City Auditor, Municipal Court Judges, and the Municipal Court Clerk.
The City Council adopted six Strategic Outcomes and Indicators in 2018 as part of its Strategic Direction 2023 (SD23) to guide the City in improving quality of life and civic participation in the Austin Community over the next three to five years. The Austin Energy Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions reports to the Austin Energy Deputy General Manager & Chief Customer Officer who reports to the Austin Energy General Manager. The Austin Energy Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions will be responsible for supporting department programs and initiatives as it relates to all six of the Strategic Outcomes in SD23. For more information, visit Austin Strategic Direction 2023.
Austin Energy serves a 437-square mile territory that includes those within Austin as well as portions of Travis and Williamson counties. This includes approximately 496,000 electric customer accounts with more than 13 % of the customer base outside the city limits. Austin Energy is the eighth largest publicly owned utility in the United States, with more than $4.4 billion in assets and more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue.
Austin Energy’s strong economic and demographic characteristics, competitive retail rates, diverse power supply mix, high liquidity, and history of solid operation earned the utility consistent ratings in recent years: AA- Stable with Fitch, Inc.; Aa3 Positive with Moody’s; and AA Stable with Standard & Poor’s.
The City of Austin is responsible for regulating, monitoring and approving annual budgets, retail rate changes, reliability, customer concerns, and generation resource construction, planning and operations. The State of Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) approves transmission rates and interfaces on reliability and wholesale market issues along with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Austin Energy is a municipally owned, vertically integrated power utility that is part of ERCOT. Much of the remainder of the state exists in a deregulated market in which electric customers may select from hundreds of constantly changing offerings from retail energy providers. It is essential for Austin Energy and its staff to balance community values and priorities with affordability and competitiveness to continue offering an exceptional level of service. The PUC also provides additional grid oversight.
Austin Energy’s renewable generating resources include 1,219 MW of wind farms, 644 MW of solar farms, 63 MW of customer-site distributed generation, 100 MW of biomass, and 7.8 MW of landfill methane.
TOP PRIORITIES FOR AUSTIN ENERGY:
Maintaining cost competitiveness and financial resiliency;
Improving Austin Energy’s customer experience and brand;
Workforce development, succession planning, recruitment and retention in a civil service environment;
Continuing to advance innovation and technology investment related to the customer experience, internal efficiencies, and product offerings that support the evolution of reliable service and environmental responsibility;
Maintaining and creating dynamic pricing structures;
Improving the organization’s ability to inform and properly influence state and federal legislative entities and regulators in alignment with the Austin community’s stakeholder desires;
Addressing generation resource additions and load growth while balancing energy and load growth
Leading the retirement of obsolete generating units.
The utility provides year-round electric bill discounts for up to 28,000 residential customers, streetlights, and emergency bill assistance. Its energy-efficiency and weatherization programs are among the most extensive in the nation. Furthermore, Austin Energy remains an industry leader in power reliability and works collaboratively with the high-technology industry to assure exceptional reliability and power quality.
Austin Energy is a member of the 25-member Large Public Power Council.
The Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions will manage one of the most challenging, dynamic, and exciting utility energy solutions divisions in the United States with a vision to advance the utility model of the future with sustainability, reliability, affordability, and equity as primary priorities in decision making. The Austin Energy leadership team seeks to continue its reputation as one of the nation’s leading utilities with an interest in transforming the industry in areas such as competitive rates, reliable electric service, energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid technology, distributed generation, climate change policy, and customer service. The successful applicant will also enjoy broad support from a wide variety of stakeholders to continue efforts to remain cutting edge while aligning with the City’s equity goals. The City of Austin’s equity web page for a broader understanding. Applicants must bring a can-do attitude, political savvy, and a passion to partner with the aforementioned stakeholders to continue to develop customer solutions that are equitable. Recognition and acceptance of the high level of scrutiny one will face as a leader in a highly transparent and engaged community is essential.
The Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions is expected to operate with a high level of communication both inside and outside the organization. Ideal candidates will offer exemplary emotional intelligence, innovative tendencies, and the security and maturity to both challenge and be challenged by a team of intelligent and innovative coworkers and stakeholders. Candidates should offer an engaging, open-door, team-oriented, and empowering leadership and management style. The next Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions will ideally offer the passion and capability to connect with employees at every level and across the organizational chart and commit substantive time to engaging with personnel as a leader and mentor. Candidates must also offer proven and quantifiable success leading a workforce with safety as a top priority and proven success in advancing personnel to meet their greatest potential.
While the next Vice President should be technically educated in advanced energy solutions they are expected to display the balanced tendencies of an executive leader and manager of the organization rather than a technician. The Vice President is expected to develop and manage valuable relationships inside and outside the organization, engage in industry leadership, ensure accomplishment of goals of the CES division, and engage with all parties to lead and support development of those goals. Ideal leaders at Austin Energy support development and success of the strategic plan and delegate appropriate responsibilities to the extent that direct reports receive equal career development opportunities. The Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions must offer the ability to communicate and coordinate complicated and complex concepts to residents and customers as well as highly trained technicians and educated stakeholders. Candidates that bring an international viewpoint of successful energy solutions may have an advantage as Austin’s key accounts customers bring a highly educated view of programs that serve everyone’s best interests.
Austin Energy’s Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions must recognize, respect, and philosophically align with the public power utility model and the concept of customers as owners. While candidates from other utility segments are encouraged to apply, applicants must understand the value of Austin Energy to the communities served and bring an appreciation for the democratic process, its pace, and its effect on leadership decisions. An appetite to take risks beyond the traditional municipal utility mindset balanced with respect and appreciation for the existing organization and a diplomatic approach to leading future evolution is desired from applicants.
Ideal candidates will offer substantive experience with the development, evolution, and maintenance of customer energy solutions programs.
Duties, Functions, and Responsibilities:
Provides and promotes a comprehensive energy program that integrates economic vitality, social sustainability, and environmental stewardship goals; and emphasizes the continued reliability standards for Austin Energy (AE).
Develops, designs, and implements measures and metrics for distributed energy services operations, which support the transformation of the utility to embrace options for clean energy resources.
Ensures strategic, effective program accountabilities are in place by developing and implementing measures and metrics that enhance cost effectiveness and the overall operation efficiencies of the electric utility.
Is responsible for the integration and evaluation of the strategic and tactical approaches necessary to move the AE Generation Plan forward to meet the business needs of the utility and the demands of the customers and manages the distributed generation portfolio.
Serves as an advocate for energy conservation and sustainability initiatives within the electric utility environment, representing distributed energy resource and transportation strategies to align with the goals and objectives of AE and the City of Austin. Provides guidance and recommendations on such matters to the GM and Executive Leadership team.
Serves as the executive sponsor for the Key Account program to strengthen customer engagement and to develop and implement accountabilities that complement the vision, mission, and overall strategies of AE for all residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
Oversees the development of new products and services including monitoring promotional and outreach initiatives to create value for customers and identifying new energy technologies that serve as viable business opportunities for the utility. Measures and tracks the performance of the new products and services to ensure they meet identified corporate objectives.
Uses research and data analysis to support business decisions and the creation of programs, products, and services.
Develops short- and long-term spending plans and monitors O&M and CIP budgets. Prepares annual technical and financial reports.
Austin is a very diverse community with goals to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in its city and each of the City’s departments. Austin Energy offers a history promoting a culture of diversity and anticipates that the Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions will be one of many key leaders furthering these goals in the future. Candidates should display a passion for such initiatives and a history of elevating such initiatives with tangible results. Candidates should have the ability to use an equity lens and framework to continue to create inclusive, diverse, and safe workplaces.
Experience and a track record of success working with large key accounts that include significant power quality concerns and the variety that accompanies a large and fast-growing metropolitan city would be an advantage to candidates. Candidates must bring a broad understanding of the impact that significant key account customers bring to a city and experience working directly with such businesses as partners.
Education: Graduation with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a related field Experience: Seven (7) years of electric utility experience, including three (3) years in a managerial capacity.
Graduation with a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university may substitute for (2) two years of the required non-managerial experience.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Salary is commensurate based on experience and the approved salary range. The benefits package includes medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance, compensated leave, short-term disability, and retirement benefits. The City is a member of the Proportionate Retirement Program. Optional benefits include supplemental life insurance, a 457 deferred compensation plan, long-term disability plan, and a legal plan. Visit austintexas.gov/department/active-employee-benefits to learn more about the City’s employee benefits.
Reasonable relocation benefits will be provided to the successful candidate.
HOW TO APPLY:
***Information submitted for consideration may be made available to the public in compliance with the Texas Open Records Act***
To ensure consideration, candidates should apply by May 3. To apply, candidates must submit an application, a comprehensive resume, and cover letter online in PDF format as instructed below. Interested candidates should apply early in the process for optimum consideration.
For more information on this position, candidates may contact: Patrick Prouse - Senior Recruiter – Mycoff Fry Partners LLC - firstname.lastname@example.org – www.mfpllc.us
About Austin Energy - City of Austin
assisted by Mycoff Fry Partners LLC, a retained, Executive Recruiter for the Utility Industries