New General Manager Mark Bonsall has announced key management appointments and his plans for Salt River Project’s (SRP’s) future.
SRP’s board of directors selected Bonsall to become general manager of the Valley’s largest provider of water and electricity in April. He was previously SRP’s chief financial executive and associate general manager of commercial and customer services.
The board approved Bonsall’s proposal for the following executive management team:
- John F. Sullivan, currently associate general manager of the Water Group, will head a division called resource management and will be responsible for power and water resource planning and acquisition, environmental planning and compliance and overall corporate planning. Sullivan has been with SRP since 1971 and has most recently served as associate general manager for the water group since 1994. He also has managed strategic planning, water customer service, resource planning, power contracts and electric system planning at SRP.
- Michael Lowe will head customer and shareholder services and will be responsible for all power and water customer- and shareholder-facing process and activities. Lowe is the executive manager for SRP’s customer services division. He joined SRP in 1979 and has managed customer services, financial services, rates and corporate economics and financial planning. Lowe also served as assistant treasurer and treasurer.
- Michael Hummel will be in charge of the power system, which includes the generating, transmission and substation assets of SRP. Hummel’s primary focus will be on the operation and maintenance of existing generation and transmission facilities and the construction of any new owned resources. Hummel has been with SRP since 1982. He has had management responsibilities for customer services, generation supply and commodity trading, generation resource planning and development, revenue cycle services, electrical engineering, electric system design and construction, distribution line design and customer design services.
- Gena Trimble will lead marketing and communications and will be responsible for internal and external corporate communications as well as marketing and energy solutions. Trimble joined SRP in 1983 and is currently the manager of communications and community relations. Prior to this position, Trimble was SRP’s land manager responsible for overseeing all land transactions and property management services.
- Aidan McSheffrey will head financial and corporate services and will lead SRP’s financial and infrastructure management, including information technology. McSheffrey has been with SRP since 1992 and is currently manager of financial services responsible for treasury, financial planning, corporate taxes, pricing design and pricing administration. McSheffrey has served as corporate treasurer and has managed corporate pricing.
- Peter Hayes will head public affairs and be responsible for managing relationships with all governmental entities as well as public involvement, consumer affairs and community outreach. Hayes has been with SRP since 1985 and is currently manager of public affairs, where he oversees SRP’s governmental relationships and lobbying. Hayes previously directed SRP’s congressional and federal relations in Washington, D.C., and in 1992 served as chief of staff for Arizona Gov. Fife Symington.
- Michael O’Connor, a former partner with law firm Jennings Strouss, will lead law and human resource services.
The new management team is well-suited to lead SRP, said SRP President David Rousseau.
“Mark Bonsall has arranged a strong team of executives who have the experience and skills to build upon SRP’s heritage of low-cost power and water, customer service and community involvement,” Rousseau said. “I am confident that Mark and his management team will ensure SRP remains one of the premier public power utilities in the nation.”
After the board meeting, Bonsall explained how SRP’s business of water and power can be used to help spur economic development in the Valley.
“SRP is standing at a place where the types of decisions we make now can directly influence the management of our resources—water and power—and can and must fuel the Valley’s future economic success.”
Because the ability to attract and grow new business in Arizona is directly tied to the infrastructure SRP provides, the company is in a unique position to help the new Arizona economy get back on its feet, Bonsall said.
Bonsall, a Phoenix native who grew up in Glendale, Ariz., also stressed the important relationship between water and electricity and how it has evolved while SRP has grown into the nation’s third-largest public power utility.
“Only 25 years ago, SRP was providing the bulk of our water allocations to agricultural interests in the Valley,” he said. “Today we are growing more homes and businesses with our water than crops.”
Bonsall reiterated his philosophy that customer service will remain a key component of SRP’s focus.
“We must continue to put the customer first and strengthen that relationship,” he said. “I will ask our employees to seek opportunities to provide more choices for our customers as well as innovative tools and technologies that will help them save electricity and money.”
Finding the right mix of resources to continue to provide low-cost power to SRP customers is critical, Bonsall said.
“The challenge we have before us is to balance the energy needs of our customers with the economic and environmental implications of the resources available,” he said. “Whether it is renewable, natural gas, clean coal or nuclear energy, we have a responsibility to our customers to make decisions that will ultimately provide them with a low-cost, extremely reliable supply of energy.”
Also, Black and Veatch has been retained to assist in reviewing SRP’s organizational structure and to help identify areas where it might restructure to better serve its customers.
“Our experience working with many of the largest electric utilities in the nation gave Black and Veatch a unique perspective on SRP’s reorganization plan and allowed us to make practical suggestions to strengthen its outcomes,” said Kevin Harper, director of Black and Veatch Management Consulting. “We believe the resulting plan places SRP in a very good position to face the challenges ahead.”
SRP serves nearly 945,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and is the largest provider of raw water to the Valley, delivering nearly 1 million acre-feet annually.