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JEA Senior Leadership Team
JEA’s Senior Leadership Team is committed to achieving our mission: providing the best service by becoming the center of our customers' energy and water experience. To accomplish this, the entire company is focused on three things – delivering an unparalleled positive customer experience, working together to elevate the entire team, and innovating and evolving to match our customer's needs with market trends – while upholding the values of safety, service, integrity, growth2, accountability and ideas.
Aaron Zahn, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Aaron F. Zahn is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for JEA. In this
role, Mr. Zahn oversees all operations for the eighth-largest public utility in the nation, providing electric, water and sewer services to customers across a 900-mile service territory in Northeast Florida.
Mr. Zahn was appointed as Interim Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of JEA in April 2018 and was named permanent CEO in November 2018. Prior to his tenure at JEA, Mr. Zahn served as Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Pascal Partners, a distributed infrastructure investment and development company. From 2009 to 2017, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BCR Environmental Corporation, a water/wastewater technology firm and public-private-partnership development and operations company. Prior to BCR, Mr. Zahn worked as an investment professional for two multi-strategy hedge funds in New York City, managing over $6 billion in equity. He was also a Senior Manager of the Capital Markets team at General Growth Properties, playing a key role in $25+ billion of acquisitions and financing activities along with providing financial oversight for $200+ million of commercial real estate development.
A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Zahn is a supporter of YMCA of Jacksonville, Baptist Health System, Nemours Children’s Health System and Yale University. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at University of Florida.
Melissa Dykes, President and Chief Operating Officer
Melissa Dykes serves as JEA’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
She leads the operation of the utility, responsible for providing reliable, affordable, safe utility services to more than one million people across four counties. Her team of more than 1,900 employees includes electric, water, wastewater, customer
experience, human resources, environmental services, compliance, technology, supply chain, and legal. She is responsible for nearly all of JEA’s $2 billion budget and management of assets of $8.8 billion.
Ms. Dykes served as JEA’s Chief Financial Officer for nearly six years prior to her current role. As CFO, she provided leadership to ensure the financial health of JEA, resulting in access to capital at low cost on behalf of JEA’s customers. Her efforts as CFO helped JEA deliver more than $1 billion in cost savings to the community, including savings from refundings, a rate restructuring, and savings from the shutdown of the St. Johns River Power Park earlier this year. She was responsible for all aspects of JEA’s finances, including treasury, financial reporting, budgeting, supply chain management, and shared services, and had lead responsibility for ensuring compliance with all reporting, regulatory and tax requirements for JEA.
Prior to joining JEA, Ms. Dykes was CFO at a portfolio company of a large energy private equity firm and a principal in a renewable energy development company, where she was responsible for origination, commercial structuring, development and capital raising for renewable energy projects. She also was Vice President of Investment Banking at JPMorgan, where she was responsible for providing capital solutions for clients, including more than $26 billion in financings for many municipal electric and water systems across the country, risk management product delivery, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Ms. Dykes worked for The World Bank Group, where she researched and published on private participation in infrastructure industries in developing countries. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds a certificate in Advanced Management from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Ryan F. Wannemacher, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Wannemacher has served as Chief
Financial Officer since April 2018. He provides leadership to ensure fiscal responsibility for the long-term financial health of JEA, resulting in access to capital at low cost for JEA’s customers. He is responsible for all aspects of JEA’s finances,
including treasury, financial reporting, financial planning and analysis, and budgeting, insurance risk management, as well as corporate strategy. He has lead responsibility for ensuring compliance with all reporting, regulatory and tax requirements
for JEA. Mr. Wannemacher currently serves on the Finance and Audit Committee of TEA.
Prior to his current role at JEA, Mr. Wannemacher served as JEA’s Director of Financial Planning and Analysis from April 2015 to 2018. Prior to joining JEA, Mr. Wannemacher was Vice President of Investment Banking at JPMorgan. While at JPMorgan, Mr. Wannemacher was responsible for providing capital solutions for clients, including over $20 billion in financings for many municipal electric, water and natural gas systems across the country, risk management product delivery, and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Wannemacher holds a B.B.A. in Financial Consulting from Southern Methodist University graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Dr. Julio Romero Agüero, PhD, MBA, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer
As Chief Innovation and Transformation
Officer at JEA, Dr. Agüero provides leadership in the identification, development, evaluation and adoption of emerging technologies, business models, services, processes and industry-leading practices to improve overall enterprise performance and
sustainability and achieve digital transformation.
Dr. Agüero has 23 years of industry experience in the areas of technology and business strategy, grid modernization, smart grid, utility of the future, distribution systems analysis, planning and operations, and integration of distributed generation, energy storage, microgrids and electric vehicles. He has developed solutions in these areas for electric utilities and regulatory boards in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Caribbean and Asia. He has published more than 40 articles in topics pertaining to these areas and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
Before joining JEA, Dr. Agüero served as Vice President of Strategy and Business Innovation at Quanta Technology, where he led high-performing teams in the development of pioneering methodologies and concepts for planning and analysis of modern and future power distribution systems, grid modernization and distributed energy resources. He is also a former Commissioner of the National Energy Commission of Honduras. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and has served as Chair of the IEEE Distribution Subcommittee, Chair of the IEEE Working Group on Distributed Resources Integration, Editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, and Editor of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of DistribuTECH and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Houston.
Dr. Agüero holds PhD, MBA and BSEE degrees from the National University of San Juan (Argentina), North Carolina State University and the National Autonomous University of Honduras, respectively.
Caren Anders, Vice President/General Manager, Energy
Caren Anders has lead responsibility for producing and delivering energy
to JEA's 485,000 electric customers in a safe, reliable and cost-competitive manner, and in full compliance with regulatory objectives. In this role, she and her team are responsible for planning, constructing, operating and maintaining JEA’s electric
system, including generation plants and transmission, substation and distribution systems.
Ms. Anders joined JEA in January 2019 from Duke Energy. A seasoned energy executive, she brings operational leadership, financial acumen, strategy and innovation, and compliance and risk management to her leadership role at JEA. At both Duke and Exelon Corp., she led high-performing teams across the energy spectrum, including Generation, Transmission, Distribution, Emerging Technologies, and Shared Services. Along with her vast electric experience, she also has expertise in new technologies, strategic business performance, compliance, financial management, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Ms. Anders has served on the boards of PT Holding Company LLC, Peak Tower LLC, SERC Reliability Corp. and the Florida Reliability Coordination Council. She has also served her community as a board member for Junior Achievement, Central Carolinas and United Way, Greater Triangle N.C. She earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in finance from Drexel University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.
Deryle Calhoun, Vice President/General Manager, Water/Wastewater Systems
Deryle Calhoun is responsible for leading JEA's water and wastewater operations, construction and strategy execution, and delivering exceptional
service to JEA customers across a four-county area. Each day, JEA delivers over 110 MGD (millions of gallons a day) of potable water and 20 MGD of reclaimed water and collects and treats almost 80 MGD of wastewater. The Water/Wastewater System is
comprised of 38 water treatment plants, 11 wastewater plants and over 1,400 wastewater pump stations. Mr. Calhoun is currently leading a resiliency program that will improve water, wastewater and district energy system reliability during extreme weather
events like hurricanes.
Mr. Calhoun began his career in water/wastewater in 1993 with the City of Jacksonville Public Utilities as a project engineer and joined JEA in 1997 when the city's water and wastewater services were transferred to JEA. Mr. Calhoun served at the director level for 20 years, first with the Distribution and Collection team and most recently with Water, Wastewater and Reuse Treatment and District Energy Services.
Mr. Calhoun holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida.
Steven G. (Steve) McInall, Vice President Energy and Water Planning
Steve McInall is responsible for long-term planning for JEA’s energy and water sectors, overseeing the development of a more than $1 Billion capital program. Mr. McInall’s groups are responsible for the Integrated Resource Plans for both the electric and water systems. He is responsible for JEA’s renewable energy portfolio, including landfill gas and solar photovoltaic (PV). During his tenure, JEA’s solar PV portfolio has grown from 12 MW to 34 MW, with another 5 MW plant under construction and 5-50 MW facilities (250 MW) in the contract stage. He is also responsible for real estate acquisitions and sales.
Mr. McInall has been with JEA since 2011, serving as the Director of the Electric Production Resource Planning Department, with oversight of the Electric Generation Planning, Fuels Management Services, Natural Gas Commercial Services and Byproducts Production Services areas, and as the Manager of Nuclear Generation Business.
Prior to joining JEA, Mr. McInall had a 27-year career at several regional and national engineering consulting firms, including Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation, Boston, and MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, in Tallahassee and Jacksonville. Clients included major US utilities, such as Dominion and TVA, as well as the US Department of Energy and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Mr. McInall holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and will receive a Master of Public Policy degree from Jacksonville University in April, 2019. He is a licensed Professional Engineer
in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, in Building Design and Construction. Mr. McInall is in on the
Board of the North Florida Chapter of the US Green Building Council, and serves on the St Johns County Citizens Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee.
Ted Hobson, Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer
Ted Hobson joined JEA in 1973 and has overall responsibility for development, implementation and maintenance
of JEA's Compliance Programs including NERC Electrical Standards, NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards, FACTA regulations and other related federal and state regulations. He is also responsible for JEA's Physical Security department,
as well as Audit Services and Enterprise Risk Management. Mr. Hobson served on the Board of Directors of The Energy Authority (TEA) from 1997-2011 and is currently JEA's representative on the TEA Settlement and Operating Committee. Mr. Hobson is JEA's
alternate board member for the Florida Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC).
Mr. Hobson's previous position was Director of Energy Delivery, where he was responsible for all electric field activities including overhead and underground line work, system protection and controls, substation maintenance and the 24-hour operation of the JEA power system including generation commitment and dispatch, transmission operation and security and interchange services with other utilities. During his over 40 years with JEA, he has worked in the areas of distribution, engineering, trouble dispatching, system operations and system planning. Mr. Hobson has served as JEA's representative to the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC) for over 15 years, is an alternate Board Member and was chair of the Operating Committee for the past six years. He also served on various North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) committees and subcommittees and is a member and past chair of the NERC Compliance and Certification Committee.
Mr. Hobson holds a BSEE from the University of Florida, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida.
Angelia Hiers, Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Angelia Hiers is a career human resource professional, with industry knowledge and experience at strategic
and tactical levels in all aspects of human resources and organizational development. During her career, she has been responsible for employee and labor relations, compensation, benefits, recruiting, training and development, safety and wellness,
diversity and inclusion. Throughout her career, Hiers has leveraged her collaborative, energetic and creative style to build successful human resource strategies and business solutions.
Prior to joining JEA, Ms. Hiers was the Vice President, Human Resources for Baker Distributing Company, a subsidiary of the publicly traded Watsco, Inc. She also served as Human Resources Director for CSX Technology and Senior Vice President/Managing Director, Right Management Consultants in Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to joining Right Management Consultants, Ms. Hiers held leadership positions in operations and human resources for Barnett Bank.
Ms. Hiers is a graduate of Edward Waters College with a Bachelor of Arts - Organizational Management and Jacksonville University with a Master of Business Administration.
Michael R. (Mike) Hightower, Chief Public & Shareholder Affairs Officer
Mike Hightower joined JEA in 2015, bringing over 35 years of governmental and legislative relations
experience. He also previously served 16 years on JEA’s Board of Directors, including two, two-year terms as Chair.
Mr. Hightower joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida in 1981 as the Director of Governmental and Legislative Relations and in 1985 was named its Vice President of Governmental and Legislative Relations. He worked closely with key political leaders in the federal, state and local government and, after three decades of a successful career at Florida Blue retired in late 2014. He then joined the international law firm of Holland & Knight LLP as a Senior Policy Advisor before joining the JEA Senior Leadership Team.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Hightower has dedicated his time, talents and leadership to numerous boards and commissions over the last 35 years, including the Florida Governor’s Mansion Foundation and the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. Prior to joining JEA, Mr. Hightower chaired the following organizations and civic and trade associations: United States Naval Academy; Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; Florida House, Florida’s Embassy in Washington DC, Florida College System Foundation, Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Insurance Council, Florida News Service, Jacksonville Library Foundation, Jacksonville Political Leadership Institute, JaxBiz, Duval County Republican Party, and the Cecil Field Base Closure Commission. In 2006, Leadership Florida's leaders appointed Mr. Hightower to the Florida Energy Commission. The nine-member panel was charged with making recommendations to the Florida Legislature on ways to secure Florida’s energy future. In 2010, Florida’s legislative leadership appointed Mr. Hightower to the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, charged with interviewing and recommending qualified candidates for gubernatorial appointment to Florida Public Service Commission.
A 1972 graduate of Jacksonville University, Mr. Hightower lives in Jacksonville.
Kerri Stewart, Vice President & Chief Customer Officer
Kerri Stewart joined JEA as Chief Customer Officer in 2017, bringing
more than 14 years of experience to the organization. Previously, she served as Chief of Staff for Jacksonville, Florida Mayor Lenny Curry, providing policy and public affairs guidance to the mayor.
Prior to returning to the City of Jacksonville, Ms. Stewart was a Partner and Senior Vice President at Infinity Global Solutions. Drawing on her extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, she focused on assisting clients in the areas of government privatization, public infrastructure development, general management consulting and government relations. She also served as interim president of Visit Jacksonville, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville as part of her management consulting practice.
Prior to joining IGS, Ms. Stewart served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Jacksonville/Duval County, Florida under Mayor John Peyton and Mayor Alvin Brown. In this role, she oversaw day-to-day government operations for the city, including directing a nearly 5,000-member workforce and managing the $1 billion municipal budget and $164 million annual capital improvement plan. During her first tenure with the City of Jacksonville, Ms. Stewart led several successful privatization studies and implementations, and she has shared her experiences in this area at a variety of conferences and other professional venues.
During her years of public service, Ms. Stewart also served as director of the city’s Housing and Neighborhoods Department, created the Office of Operational Efficiency (now known as the Inspector General’s Office), and served as a policy advisor to Mayor Peyton.
Prior to joining the City of Jacksonville, Ms. Stewart worked as a Program Manager for Alltel Information Systems in Leeds, UK and Jacksonville, Florida. She is a graduate of the University of North Florida’s Coggin School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, double-majoring in Marketing and Management.
Paul Steinbrecher, Vice President & Chief Environmental Services Officer
Mr. Steinbrecher is responsible for leading JEA's
Environmental Services group. Core group functions include environmental permitting and compliance assistance for JEA's numerous electric and water business facilities, environmental incident response and reporting, due diligence, waste programs in
which JEA serves as an environmental regulatory agency, and full-service environmental laboratory functions to support the enterprise's extensive monitoring and environmental reporting activities. In this role, he leads the organization in ensuring
the highest levels of environmental compliance and incorporation of sustainability into all JEA's planning activities.
Mr. Steinbrecher's career has focused on finding and advancing cost-effective environmental and engineering solutions for utilities, business and industry and governments. Mr. Steinbrecher joined JEA in 2001. He is highly active in Florida environmental policy and regulatory issues, currently serving as President of the Florida Water Environment Association Utility Council and a national board member of the WateReuse Association and a long-term member of the Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group Environmental Committee. Based on his prior experience, he also helps lead the utility in forward thinking water resource solutions.
Prior to joining JEA, Mr. Steinbrecher was a process engineer and program manager for CH2M Hill, designing water and wastewater systems and assisting industries and municipalities with environmental projects worldwide. Mr. Steinbrecher holds BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University and the University of Arkansas, respectively. He is a registered professional engineer in Florida and a member of the Leadership Jacksonville, class of 2015.
John McCarthy, Vice President & Chief Supply Chain Officer
Mr. McCarthy is responsible for leading JEA's logistics operations
and support services groups. His responsibilities include JEA's facilities, fleet, real estate, procurement, inventory management, investment recovery, emergency management planning and recovery and utility locates groups. The team ensures JEA's
material readiness is at the highest levels and lowest cost, while ensuring corporate funds are committed under ethical standards to deliver the greatest value to JEA in compliance with state and local laws.
Mr. McCarthy joined JEA in 2002 after a successful 20-year career as a U.S. Navy Supply Officer. During his 16 years at JEA, he served in various leadership roles within the logistics groups, including an initial assignment as a Procurement Project Coordinator where he developed an aggregated sourcing model adopted by seven different utility companies. This resulted in the strategic sourcing of over $400 million over a 10-year period. Other notable roles include JEA's Chief Procurement Officer and Incident Command Logistics Section Chief where he implemented a hurricane preparedness strategy for critical storm materials providing 100 percent on-site material availability for the restoration periods following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. He also served as JEA's United Way Campaign Chairman.
Mr. McCarthy received his B.S. degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. degree from The Ohio State University. He is a member of Leadership Jacksonville, class of 2013, and holds advanced certificates in executive contract negotiations and supply chain strategy and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.