TCL&P is a municipally owned electric and telecom utility located in Traverse City, Michigan. The utility prides itself on being a responsive and community-friendly electric utility whose core purpose is electric service, but it has grown to provide telecom services with the new TCLPfiber as well as a complimentary downtown Wi-Fi network, dark fiber system, and street lighting. TCL&P’s core values are safety, high reliability, low rates, transparency and exceptional customer service and communications. Additionally, a key core value to the Utility, fully supported by the Board, City and residents of Traverse City, is the commitment to providing 100% carbon-free electricity and being recognized as a regional energy leader. To this end, the Board approved a strategic plan in August 2018 to have the utility power supply become 100% renewable by 2040 with intermediate goals of 15% renewable by 2021 and 40% renewable by 2025. TCL&P is currently at 24.43% but with upcoming committed projects, they will be at 35.95% in December 2022 and 43.65% by December 2023.
TCL&P is the exclusive provider of electric service (both residential and commercial) within the City of Traverse City and portions of East Bay, Elmwood, Garfield and Peninsula Townships. TCL&P has approximately 12,500 customers with a peak demand in 2020 of 67.72 MW. 73% of the utility’s customers are residential providing 20% of the utility’s revenues; conversely, 27% are commercial customers that provide 80% of the utility’s revenues. Currently, TCL&P is a $34 million operation with net assets of $76.7 million. TCL&P employs 35 full-time employees including 23 employees who are represented by the Utility Workers Union of America Local 295. The current 3-year union contract began July 1, 2021.
TCLPfiber is the utility’s newly established service offering that, unlike electric, is in competition with other broadband and cable providers. TCLPfiber is currently available to approximately 3,000 customers in designated areas within the City of Traverse City with plans for full deployment ongoing.
TCL&P’s service territory is approximately 16 square miles with the electrical infrastructure consisting of 4 transmission substations, approximately 25 miles of transmission lines, 5 distribution substations, 91 miles of overhead distribution lines and 84 miles of underground distribution lines.
As a member of the Michigan Public Power Agency (MPPA), TCL&P participates in various projects throughout the state and locally with a current generation mix consisting of 36.01% coal; 31.88% MISO market; 21.35% renewable; and 10.76% natural gas (January 2021-August 2021).
ABOUT TRAVERSE CITY
Traverse City is located in portions of both Grand Traverse County and Leelanau County within Northern Lower Michigan. Traverse City is situated on the shores of picturesque East Grand Traverse Bay and West Grand Traverse Bay, which both flow into Lake Michigan. While Traverse City’s official population is 15,678, and a daytime population of more than twice the official population, it is the hub of a Micropolitan Statistical Area of 143,372.
Traverse City has been recognized for its incredible sense of place by publications including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Bicycling Magazine, Fodors, AOL Travel News, Forbes Magazine, Money Magazine, Good Morning America, National Geographic and many others.
Traverse City serves up the best of two worlds: it offers the mesmerizing outdoor recreational opportunities as well as tremendous cultural and social opportunities often only found in much larger cities. Traverse City is truly a micropolis – offering residents and visitors the small Midwestern town charm along with cosmopolitan options.
Traverse City is literally open to the world: with the Cherry Capital Airport, non-stop daily commercial flights to Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis are only moments away. Seasonal non-stop flights to New York City, Denver, Dallas, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Orlando, and others increase Traverse City’s connectivity to the business and leisure world.
OVERVIEW OF THE ROLE
The TCL&P Executive Director is the top leadership position at TCL&P and is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s performance. He/she will be employed by, and report to, a 7-member Board appointed by the City of Traverse City Commission. The new Executive Director will be responsible for the administration and operation of TCL&P’s electric system (generation, transmission and distribution) and fiber system and all ancillary systems such as billing, engineering, customer service, etc. He/she will manage four direct reports with indirect management of the entire TCL&P organization of approximately 35 employees.
The successful candidate will be a self-starter who possesses maturity, confidence and sound business judgment. He/she will have the capability to establish credibility as a leader, strategic thinker and pragmatic doer. The new Executive Director will be a disciplined, organized professional, capable of leading a regulated utility, but at the same time savvy and nimble enough to effectively lead a competitive telecom/internet company. The selected candidate’s personal style will allow for effective interaction with individuals at all levels within and outside the organization. He/she will be an out-going individual that enjoys being an active member of the Traverse City community, helping to promote the benefits of a municipal utility and encouraging the economic development of the region. Most importantly, the Executive Director will take steps and institute programs that enables TCL&P to continue on the forefront as an energy leader in Michigan.
The TCL&P Executive Director will be charged with ensuring safety, maintaining reliability, improving efficiencies, and managing costs, all with an eye toward the requisite system expansion requirements to support regional economic growth and meeting the utility’s clean-energy initiatives. He/she will provide leadership for Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) that assures:
The highest level of satisfaction and competitive rates for customers.
A safe, productive, and motivated workforce.
Effective implementation of the short and long-term strategic plan, as approved by the board.
A positive and cooperative relationship with all stakeholders (internal and external), and sound management of both human and fiscal resources.
Key responsibilities include:
Creating an organizational climate that enables TCL&P employees to be productive, motivated, and to work safely and cooperatively.
Carrying out the policies, objectives, goals, and priorities established by the Board of Directors as set forth in the Strategic Plan.
Assisting and collaborating with the Board in establishing policies, objectives, goals, and priorities that lead to excellence in customer service, operational efficiency, and employee relations. This includes seeking out educational and networking opportunities for the Executive Director, Board and staff to ensure TCL&P is informed on prevailing and cutting-edge trends in our industry.
Preparing and presenting issues for board consideration and action, including assistance with agenda preparation and keeping accurate records of board proceedings.
Assuring that TCL&P’s generation, transmission and distribution systems are operationally efficient, reliable and safe. Further, TCL&P’s purchased power must be reliable, competitively priced, and adequate to meet the future needs of all customers while achieving strategic renewable goals.
Assuring that TCLP's fiber-to-the-premise enterprise is operationally efficient, reliable, marketed effectively, priced competitively and has a take rate that ensures generation of revenue sufficient to cover the investment.
Demonstrating sound fiscal management including: budgeting, accounting, and real estate and personal property assets.
Representing TCL&P with all external agencies and regulatory bodies (i.e. Michigan Public Power Agency, Michigan Municipal Electric Association, American Public Power Association, Michigan Public Service Commission, OSHA, Environmental Protection Agency, EGLE, USDA, and telecommunication/smart grid associations, etc.).
Completing, with assistance from TCL&P Human Resources, the hiring, training, promotion and termination of TCL&P employees. Being directly responsible for the performance management and professional development of all directly reporting employees. The Executive Director may appoint or remove a Controller only with a concurring vote of five members of the board.
Contracting with, supervising, and coordinating the activities of all external service providers to TCL&P (i.e. legal, construction, professional services, etc.).
Working cooperatively within the city government framework, especially where other City Departments provide service to TCL&P and where TCL&P provides services to the City.
Supporting the City Commission’s Green Team advisory committee. In this capacity he/she will support the City Commission's Goals and Objectives including overall Green Initiatives within TCL&P and the City Proper.
Regularly collaborating with and exchanging information with the City Manager, who is an Ex-Officio member of the TCL&P Board, and other City staff.
Assuring that the activities provided on a contractual basis to other agencies are carried out effectively and efficiently.
Acting as the chief spokesperson for TCL&P with media, customers, city government and other stakeholders.
Planning for and implementing a personal plan for professional development, in conjunction with Board feedback, to assure preparedness for leading TCL&P into the future with innovation and creativity.
Creating and change, as needed, the organizational structure, reporting relationships, and job roles to achieve both employee job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
Perform other duties as may be assigned by the TCL&P Board.
The new Executive Director will be a uniquely talented leader who is technically adept, demonstrates an innovative and strategic mindset, and has the desire and capability to lead a high-performing, customer-focused work environment. He/she will have a focus of continuing to transform TCL&P into a leader in the provisioning of clean electricity and building a values-based culture focused on service, innovation, collaboration, and accountability.
Ideally, this individual will possess the following experience and qualifications:
At least fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in the electric utility, municipal government, renewable and/or, clean-energy sector
Eight (8) years of management experience
Exceptional business and financial acumen with a solid understanding of the electric utility ecosystem, including renewables and clean energy technology
Demonstrated experience leading and developing teams
Ability to work collaboratively, influence decisions and outcomes and facilitate consensus
Exceptional service orientation
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Strong negotiating skills
Ability to motivate in a team-oriented, collaborative environment
Superior analytical, evaluative and problem-solving skills
The finalist must possess the ability to:
Analyze complex technical issues and develop recommendations and solutions based on sound business judgement.
Understand, interpret, explain and apply local, state and federal policy, law, regulation and court decisions as they relate to TCL&P system operations.
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 improvements; develop and implement appropriate procedures and controls.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of TCL&P employees, elected officials, business and community leaders, media representatives and the public.
Communicate and respond eff
ectively to inquiries or complaints from employees, customers, regulatory agencies or members of the community.
Make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on complex topics to top management, the TCL&P Board, public groups and forums, and/or elected officials.
Become actively involved in the community and help represent the city in advancing economic development, and promote the utility’s image with the Traverse City residents.
A Bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, public administration or equivalent experience is generally required, master’s degree preferred.
The next Director of TCL&P will possess a strong professional will and personal humility. The successful candidate will need to be a leader who is approachable and visible, brings a high level of energy and passion for the business, works effectively with the utility’s many stakeholders, and is able drive TCL&P’s efforts to be a regional leader.
In addition, the successful candidate will need to possess the following critical qualities and capabilities:
Collaborative Leadership Style – The new TCL&P Executive Director will lead a team and interact with employees, community officials and customers at many levels. The successful candidate will have outstanding people skills, being able to inspire and motivate across all levels of the organization. The successful candidate will be a confident, but unpretentious, collaborative leader who enjoys working with an engaged Board, a highly competent staff and an involved community. He/she must be skilled in developing strategies and programs that advance the goals of the utility, but confident, emotionally-mature and resilient enough to accept (and seek) input from others and adapt strategies/plans accordingly.
Commitment to Being a Regional Leader in Clean Energy – The Board, with the backing of the City and the residents of Traverse City, has committed to being a clean energy leader and to have the utility power supply be 100% renewable by 2040. The successful candidate must ardently support these goals, and must possess the will and the capability to prudently deliver on these objectives.
Business Acumen – The new Executive Director will be an intellectually-curious person that has a strong interest in staying abreast and learning about innovations in the clean energy/utility sector. More important, he/she will be savvy enough to understand the practical business implications of such advancements and be able to proactively bring ideas and proposals to the Board that represent cost-effective opportunities to “green” the utility’s energy supply, and/or improve the services provided to TCL&P’s customers. Similarly, the new Executive Director will bring the requisite commercial capabilities necessary to best position TCLPfiber for success.
Communication Skills – The selected candidate will be an extremely effective communicator. The new leader should be an individual who ensures that critical information flows throughout the organization and that people feel like they are being heard. He/she will have experience developing and enhancing stakeholder relationships and be passionate about promoting TCL&P within the community, and the regional energy ecosystem. This person must embrace being the “public face” of TCL&P.
Honesty and Integrity – The successful candidate must demonstrate a high level of personal integrity and honesty. These qualities will be essential for building and maintaining exceptional working relationships with the Board, City, workforce, and the community.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQ people are strongly encouraged to apply for this role.