Thursday, August 16, 2018
Business

Meet Nancy Tower, Tampa Electric’s incoming CEO

TAMPA — In just a few weeks, the electric company that has powered Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa for more than a century will be under new management. Nancy Tower, an executive at the utility’s Canadian parent company Emera Inc., is taking over as president and CEO of Tampa Electric beginning Dec. 1.

She succeeds Gordon Gillette, 57, a 36-year veteran of Tampa Electric. The move represents not only a new face for one of the two dominant utilities in Tampa Bay, but a notable shift to a leader without local roots.

Related coverage: Gordon Gillette retiring, new Canadian CEO named

Here’s what you need to know about Tower, 58, ahead of her arrival.

Priorities

Tower’s priorities for Tampa Electric shore up squarely with Emera’s overarching values, Tower said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

"It’s really for me about the culture that we value," she said, "which is a strong safety culture, a strong customer culture, strong customer service and a commitment to the (environment)."

Safety and Big Bend

Tower comes to Tampa Electric on the heels of a major accident at its Big Bend Power Station. Five workers died after performing a cleaning procedure that the utility knew was dangerous, sparking an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation. The results are due by late December.

"We were and continue to be very concerned for the families obviously, that’s the first and foremost. We are committed to learning form that tragedy and learning from it and changing what needs to be changed."

Related coverage: Hellfire from above: Tampa Electric knew the procedure was dangerous. It sent workers in anyway.

While it is still early for specifics, Tower said, much of the safety improvement she plans involves learning from the company’s previous mistakes.

"We’re starting to make changes already," she said, without elaborating.

Local autonomy

Tower is a homegrown Emera employee. She has worked for Emera for 20 years, serving most recently as the chief corporate development officer, and was "instrumental" in the Tampa Electric acquisition, the company said in a statement.

When Emera purchased Tampa Electric in late 2015, concerns were raised over the level of autonomy that the local utility would have from its new parent company to the north. Tampa Electric currently has about 2,000 employees.

Tower hinted that there would be a Canadian influence on the Tampa utility.

"I have spent a long time with Emera," she said. "I think it would be difficult to say that I would distance myself or not bring a bit of Emera with me as I come down here to be the CEO at Tampa Electric. That said, there is an excellent team here, a really strong team, and I am looking forward to working with them."

Local civic involvement

Historically, the top position at Tampa Electric has been one tied to civic involvement in the area. John Ramil, former CEO of TECO Energy who oversaw both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, was a Tampa native and earned a master’s and honorary doctorate degree from the University of South Florida. When he stepped down from his position with the utility, he was the longest-serving member of the USF Board of Trustees, which he chaired from 2010 to 2015.

Gordon Gillette, who also received his master’s degree from USF, served on the boards of the American Gas Association and Enterprise Florida. He chaired the audit committee for the gas association, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., the Florida Coordinating Group and Florida Reliability Coordinating Council.

Tower did not have specifics yet on how she plans to be involved in the Tampa Bay community, but her past involvement in Canada may give an indication of what to expect.

"Being a part of (the community) is important to us," she said. "It’s important to me."

Tower emphasized her breadth of civic involvement during her time in Canada. She was on the board of United Way Halifax and chaired its strategic fundraising cabinet. She has also served on the board of several other organizations, including the Atlantic Institute for Marketing Studies, Nova Scotia Business Inc., QEII Foundation and CAA Atlantic.

She also has been involved with her alma mater, Dalhousie University, serving on the advisory council of the university’s corporate residency MBA program and its Faculty of Management Advisory Board.

"I know there’s been a long and strong tradition here around at Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas around community support," she said. "That will continue."

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.

Comments
SunPass users with overdraft fees can now request reimbursement

SunPass users with overdraft fees can now request reimbursement

If you’re a SunPass user and you’ve seen overdraft fees on your account, you can now ask for that money back.Florida Department Transportation spokesman Ed Seifert announced today that Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has launched a system to process ov...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Nature’s Food Patch brings organic offerings to Dunedin

DUNEDIN — Nature’s Food Patch recently opened a new downtown location at 966 Douglas Ave. The new store will stock much of what is offered at the Clearwater location, including organic produce, grass-fed meat, a fresh juice/smoothie bar, organic and ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
The self-proclaimed Uber of lawn care is expanding in Tampa Bay

The self-proclaimed Uber of lawn care is expanding in Tampa Bay

The lawn-mowing service GreenPal, which claims to be the Uber equivalent for lawn care, is extending its service across the Tampa Bay area.GreenPal, which already serves parts of Tampa, announced homeowners in Clearwater can begin booking professiona...
Updated: 6 hours ago
This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

I’m going start with it: Chicken tender Pub subs are on sale this week. It’s like a Florida holiday when Publix chicken tender subs are $6.99. Suddenly, offices across the Sunshine State are filled with the aroma of Buffalo sauce as everyone brings b...
Updated: 8 hours ago
South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

TAMPA — The 276-unit Pavillions at Ballast Point apartment community in South Tampa has been sold for $40 million and will be renamed Solis at Ballast Point. The buyer, California-based Investors Management Group, said it also plans significant inte...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

St. Petersburg eatery Bodega has built a reputation for its Latin street food and now the fast-casual concept has expanded to a second location in Seminole Heights.Its name Bodega, which means grocery in Spanish, represents the owners, George and Deb...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

The Gander sign is back up at Bayport Commons on W Hillsborough Ave. The 30,000 square foot space that once housed Gander Mountain has now reopened as Gander Outdoors.Marucus Lemonis, star of CNBC’s The Profit, bought Gander Mountain assets in bankru...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

TAMPA — For 13 years, Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts co-owners Troy and Nikki Finney have provided more than just Taekwondo instruction for their students. The husband and wife duo have created a supportive, family environment that teaches valuable...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Update: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 325 points, or 1.3 percent, early Thursday, driven by a jump in Walmart’s stock.Walmart’s aggressive push into groceries helped same-store sales in the United States grow more in the last quarter than t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa International Airport debuts new and improved Cigar City Brewery

Tampa International Airport debuts new and improved Cigar City Brewery

When Tampa International Airport officials decided which restaurants would go and which would stay, Cigar City Brewing made a convincing case it needed to stay in the airport’s massive billion dollar redevelopment plan. The local brewery has been imp...
Updated: 11 hours ago