Chief External Affairs Officer

Please Note

Under the Florida “Sunshine Law,” all applicant information is subject to public record throughout the search and selection process.

About JEA

JEA is the eighth-largest community-owned electric utility in the United States as well as one of the nation’s largest water and sewer concerns. The utility’s operations provide electric, water, and sewer service to residents and businesses throughout northeast Florida.

Specifically, JEA serves over 458,000 electric customers, 341,000 water customers, and 264,000 wastewater customers. JEA’s water customer base spans a four-county service territory including Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties. The utility’s largest customers include various government entities (the City of Jacksonville, Duval County Public Schools, the United States Navy); large commercial enterprises (Publix, Winn-Dixie, the new Amazon fulfillment facility); as well as industrial manufacturing plants (Anchor Glass, Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser- Busch). JEA has annual operating revenues of $1.8 billion ($1.3 billion – electric operations; $500 million – water and wastewater) supported by an employee team of nearly 2,000. JEA is a member of the Large Public Power Council and the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council.

Additional information regarding JEA may be found on this website.

Electric System

JEA meets its approximately 2,750 MW peak load resource requirements through JEA owned and operated generation assets. The utility’s electric generation fleet boasts a diverse resource mix, with approximately half of its requirements fueled by natural gas. The remaining generation comes from coal, petroleum coke, and renewables such as solar and methane gas, to include purchases from several solar sites throughout JEA’s service territory. JEA’s transmission and distribution assets total 7,576 miles of both high and low voltage lines.

Water and Sewer Systems

JEA’s Water System consists of 134 artesian wells that tap into the Floridan aquifer. Water is distributed through 38 water treatment plants and over 4,449 miles of water lines. Wastewater is collected from a four-county area through more than 3,900 miles of wastewater collection lines and is treated at 11 wastewater treatment plants.

JEA is committed to improving the water quality of the St. Johns River. The utility has invested more than $2 billion in improvements to its water and sewer systems, allowing JEA to reduce its discharge of nitrogen to the river by approximately 50%. Additionally, using reclaimed water for irrigation also reduces the demand on the potable water supply taken from the Floridan aquifer. Toward that end, JEA operates 227 miles of reclaimed water lines to distribute reclaimed water to thousands of area irrigation water customers, to include many of Northeast Florida’s beautiful parks and golf courses.

Chief External Affairs Officer

Reporting to CEO Jay Stowe, JEA’s Chief External Affairs Officer will be charged with leading a team of 60 professionals through all facets of external facing JEA communications, regulatory, and environmental initiatives. Key to success in the role will be the creation of a proactive culture embedded within the team, anticipating issues and challenges, further leaning into positive outcomes and solutions.

The impact of the External Affairs team will be felt throughout the JEA service territory, driving positive improvements in quality of life through dedicated communications and messaging, substantive economic development, as well as forward thinking regulatory and environmental approaches.

Reporting directly to the Chief External Affairs Officer:

  • VP Economic Development
  • VP Environmental
  • VP Government Affairs

Additional functions managed by the External Affairs team will include Communications & Media Relations, Permitting & Regulatory Conformance, Laboratory & Water Services, Compliance, and Community Engagement.

From a granular perspective, the Chief External Affairs Officer will maintain ultimate responsibility for the overall messaging and reciprocal actions throughout JEA’s many stakeholder groups. Externally, the successful candidate will build authentic working relationships with relevant local, state, and national leaders and agencies; local economic development leadership; as well as industry consortiums such as the Large Public Power Council and the Florida Municipal Electric Association. Additionally, he/she will work in concert with JEA’s leadership team in the development of the utility’s long term strategic and operating plans; contribute to the Integrated Resource Plan process and capital projects execution; and inform and support all JEA Board of Directors initiatives.

In detail, the successful candidate will:

  • Develop strategic direction and leadership to achieve organizational goals and objectives for JEA’s External Affairs group;
  • Engage in executive-level decision-making, advising the CEO and other JEA executives on matters pertaining to government affairs, media and public relations, as well as all environmental mandates;
  • Plan and direct a broad range of programs and initiatives (communications, public relations, regulatory, environmental) directed toward building and maintaining cooperative and collaborative working relationships and partnerships with executives, top management, elected officials, employees, media representatives, community and business groups;
  • Foster a growth oriented, positive and encouraging environment while keeping employees and management accountable to company policies, procedures and guidelines;
  • Proactively partner and engage with all media formats and channels, providing the community clear lines of sight around all JEA issues and initiatives;
  • Establish strategic working relationships and collaborations with the community, JEA Board of Directors, City Officials, JEA management and other key stakeholders;
  • In concert with state and local economic development efforts, lead JEA initiatives toward opportunities focused on enhancing Northeast Florida’s economic vitality and quality of life.
  • Understand, interpret, explain and apply local, state and federal policies, laws, regulations and court decisions as they relate to JEA operations;
  • Investigate and capitalize on Washington’s burgeoning infrastructure plan, with an eye toward positioning JEA in such a way that the utility and its customers will benefit from the plan once in place;
  • Further define and engage programs to promote JEA’s advances in addressing the region’s environmental and sustainability challenges, creating a team culture that strives to overcome obstacles and influence outcomes;
  • Develop and deliver logical and persuasive oral and written arguments and presentations for varying audiences;
  • Analyze difficult and complex issues and strategies to reach sound, logical, fact-based conclusions, and recommend an effective course of action;
  • Lead, facilitate and/or participate in the strategic planning, organization design, implementation and monitoring of comprehensive programs;
  • Evaluate departmental practices and make sound recommendations for improvement and develop and implement appropriate procedures and controls;
  • Forge innovative public-private partnerships and work with thought leaders to devise a robust “Utility of the Future” model;
  • Exhibit exceptional executive presence, business acumen and presentation skills.

It will be incumbent upon the Chief External Affairs Officer to lead with both grit and finesse, creating a high functioning team that is vigilant in seeking out issues and opportunities that will serve and benefit JEA’s 1+ million customer base.

Eighteen (18) month success will be defined by the candidate’s progress in the following three areas:

  1. Full integration into the JEA Leadership Team and involvement throughout the organization;
  2. Will have built and energized an External Affairs team known for its tenacity, integrity, and flawless execution;
  3. Developed the group’s strategic plan in concert with JEA’s overarching corporate plan.


JEA’s Chief External Affairs Officer will be an accomplished and approachable industry leader, possessing an impressive track record of effecting positive change through excellence in external engagement methodologies as well as human capital leadership. He/she will have a reputation comprised of nuanced messaging acumen, astute business and commercial sensibilities, combined with the ability to inspire and lead a large team through rapid shifts in industry and political paradigms.

It is contemplated that the successful candidate will bring to the challenge fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in the electric utility industry, or related endeavor or government concern. Experience leading large teams is a plus, as is the ability to manage the team’s commensurate budget. It is important that he/she will have had External Affairs leadership responsibility in situations that require multi-faceted approaches and solutions, likely engaging the retail customer. An undergraduate degree in Business, Public Policy, or a related field of study is a must; an MBA, JD, or MPA are strongly desired.

For More Information

Submit resumes to Leslie Sharp, Managing Director, ZRG Partners,

JEA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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