When I first met the JEA Board of Directors, I shared with them how strongly I believe in the public service model that has served Northeast Florida so well for over 125 years. year. Municipal utilities were kind of a “family business” to me, I told them.
My dad and grandfather ran utility systems in North Carolina, and I’ve spent my entire life around utility systems. I learned to ride a bike at the water plant in Fayetteville, NC, and spent many Saturdays at the water plant. Growing up in this environment taught me the value of public services in a community and the essential services they provide. When the community owns the utility, customers come first and customers are to whom we respond.
These discussions with the board members took place while they were interviewing me as part of the CEO search process. The Board of Directors trusted me and on November 30, 2020 I started as CEO and CEO of JEA. I was – and am even more so now – extremely grateful and honored to be part of this incredible team of 2,000 dedicated professionals.
My first step in my new role was to meet with the members of the JEA team (almost primarily, due to COVID) and discuss how we plan to create a culture of safety, respect and safety. integrity. This meant that we put the physical and emotional well-being of people first, both in the workplace and beyond. At JEA, we treat each other and our clients with courtesy and respect, seeking diverse perspectives that help bring out the best in each. And we set the highest standards for ethics and personal responsibility.
I spoke a lot about these core values during my first year and I recruited a management team that shares these same values. I am grateful that we now have the right team in place and that our new leaders reflect the rich diversity of the communities we serve.
With that foundation in place, we’re more focused than ever on how best to meet the growing needs of Northeast Florida and help drive economic growth in the region. We’ve put measures in place to help protect the Saint John River and developed a plan to ensure a sustainable water supply through innovative water conservation and reuse approaches. Our team has stepped up work to gradually eliminate faulty septic tanks in traditionally underserved neighborhoods while improving existing infrastructure across our entire service area. We have worked to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing gas emissions and we are expanding the use of alternative energy sources.
As we look to 2022, JEA will work with community leaders to develop our Integrated Electric Resource Plan, a plan to meet future electricity needs in our region. Over the next five years, JEA plans to invest $ 1.5 billion in water and sewer projects and nearly $ 1 billion in electrical projects to further improve reliability and service. that you expect from us. JEA is embracing a brighter energy future, by delivering new solar energy offerings, adding nuclear generation to the energy mix and educating customers about the use of electric vehicles.
Our goal at JEA is to become the best public service in the country. Our entire team works hard to provide you with the most reliable services at a reasonable cost, while protecting our environment and supporting economic development. It continues to be an honor to represent the people of JEA as we work towards a better future for all of Northeast Florida.
Jay Stowe is the Managing Director and CEO of JEA