City of Austin, TX

Chief Technology Officer - Austin Energy

Location: City of Austin, TX
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City of Austin - Austin Energy
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

About Austin, Texas

This vibrant and dynamic city tops numerous lists for business, entertainment and quality of life. One of the country’s most popular, high-profile and “green” cities was selected as the “Best City for the Next Decade” (Kiplinger), the “Top Creative Center” in the US (Entrepreneur.com) and #1 on the “On Numbers Economic Index” as the fastest growing economy. Austin continues to lead the country with its vision of being the “Most livable city in the country” emerging as a player on the international scene with such events as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Formula 1 and being home to companies such as Apple, Samsung, Dell, Seton and St. David’s Healthcare. From the home of state government and institutions of higher education to the “Live Music Capital of the World” and its growth as a film center, Austin has gained worldwide attention as a hub for education, business, health and sustainability. Since 1900, Austin’s population has doubled every 20 years. 

Austin City Government

The City of Austin is a progressive, dynamic, full-service municipal organization operating under the Council-Manager form of government. Austin’s mayor is elected from the city at large and ten council members are elected from single-member districts. Terms of the mayor and council members are four years and terms are staggered so that a general election is held every two years with half the council being elected at each election. Term limits for the mayor and council members provide for two consecutive four-year terms. The City Council is responsible for appointment of the City Manager who is the Chief Administrative and Executive Officer of the city, City Clerk, City Auditor, Municipal Court Judges and the Municipal Court Clerk. 

The Mayor, Council and City Manager of Austin are committed to their mission of delivering the highest quality services in the most cost-effective manner. The organization’s vision is to make Austin the most livable city in the country and the City Manager’s resolve is to make it the best-managed city in the country. 

Austin Energy (AE)

Austin Energy serves a 437-square mile territory that includes those within Austin as well as portions of Travis and Williamson counties. This includes approximately 455,000 electric customer accounts with more than 15 percent of the customer base outside the city limits. Austin Energy is the eighth largest publicly owned utility in the United States with more than $3.5 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. The utility transfers 12 percent of its non-fuel revenues to the city’s General Fund.

Austin Energy is forecasting a budget of $1.4 billion for FY 2016. The organization’s strong economic and demographic characteristics, competitive retail rates, diverse power supply mix, high liquidity and history of solid operation earned the utility consistent ratings in recent years: AA-Stable with Fitch, Inc.; A1 Positive with Moody’s; and AA-Stable with Standard & Poor’s. The utility’s debt-to-equity ratio is about 46 percent with more than $150 million in strategic reserves and almost 150 days in operating cash.

The City of Austin is responsible for regulating, monitoring and approving annual budgets, retail rate changes, reliability, customer concerns and generation resource construction, planning and operations. The State of Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) approves transmission rates and interfaces on reliability and wholesale market issues along with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Austin Energy is a municipally owned, vertically integrated power utility that is part of ERCOT. Most of the rest of the state exists in a deregulated market in which electric customers may select from hundreds of constantly changing offerings from retail energy providers. It is essential for Austin Energy and its staff to balance community values and priorities with affordability and competitiveness to continue offering an exceptional level of service. The PUC also provides additional grid oversight.

Austin Energy’s owned generating assets include:

·         Decker Creek: 930 MW - two gas-fired steam units and four gas combustion turbines

·         Sand Hill: 592 MW -  a 322 MW natural gas combined cycle unit (2004), six natural gas fired combustion turbines totaling 270 MW

Austin Energy’s co-owned power supply resources include:

·         South Texas Project: two-unit nuclear plant, 400 MW share, one of the lowest operating cost nuclear plants in the nation

·         Fayette Power Project: three-unit coal-fired plant, 570 MW share — half of two units, PRB coal

Austin Energy also has downtown district cooling systems. Three systems serve a total of 66 customers and more than 17 million square feet of space. The thermal storage tanks allow the utility to shift electric consumption to off-peak periods. The downtown system consists of two district cooling plants serving 43 customers, the Domain system serves 17 customers and the Mueller Energy Center serves six customers. The Mueller Energy Center also provides electricity and steam to Dell Children’s Hospital. 

The City of Austin considers Austin Energy a vital part of its program to be carbon-neutral by 2050. The utility buys all of its power from the ERCOT market and sells all of its production (whether from owned traditional sources or contracted renewable resources) to the ERCOT market. Customers pay the difference as part of a Power Supply Adjustment. Currently, more than 26 percent of the utility’s total sales of electric power — purchased from the ERCOT market — are balanced by the utility’s contracted renewable power. The Council has directed the utility to reach a 55 percent renewable goal by 2025, with significant new investment in solar and wind contracts. 

Austin Energy’s electric service delivery division works out of four operating centers. In recent years, this division became the first ISO 9001-certified delivery group in the United States. The utility’s assets include 623 miles of transmission lines with 14 transmission substations. Austin Energy operates more than 11,000 miles of distribution line and a significant underground downtown network. Austin’s 2015 System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) was about 56 minutes and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) was about .65 outages per customer. 

Austin Energy’s Mission

To safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service. 

Austin Energy’s Values

·         Care and Concern for the Environment

·         Safety

·         Innovation

·         Honest, Open Communication

·         Integrity

·         Diversity

·         Teamwork

The Position

Austin Energy’s (AE) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) develops and executes AE’s Strategic Plan and Utility Technology Roadmap.  Within the scope of the Strategic Plan, the CTO manages long term capital planning through a prioritization process focusing on risk-based business cases. The CTO:

·         Leverages the strategic work performed at individual business units as inputs to produce a coordinated and consistent plan for the company. 

·         Provides direction for achieving the goals set forth in the Strategic Plan by collaborating with the Executive Team.

·         Ensures integration of tactical plans, projects and strategies emanating from the Strategic Plan.

The CTO oversees a broad range of technologies:  the proposal, assessment and demonstration of current and new technology associated with the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity; and the evaluation of technologies for environmental mitigation and customer end use.

The CTO manages the Information Technology (IT) enterprise architecture for infrastructure and applications and oversees an IT architecture practice implemented by utilizing a Utility Technology Roadmap. In addition, the CTO works with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to develop and implement processes for evaluating information systems and other technology initiatives that may be applied across the organization.

Duties and Responsibilities

·         Creates and maintains the AE’s Strategic Plan leveraging strategic initiatives within business units and accounting for developing technologies

·         Examines AE’s environmental and affordability goals and directs short and long-range strategic planning and analysis of electric utility and energy industry trends to recommend future goals for the organization

·         Facilitates the study of new technologies and their applicability to AE assets and by meeting customer energy needs into the future, such as flexible and reliable generation assets, smarter transmission and distribution grids and distributed energy resources 

·         Develops and maintains the blueprint for  enterprise architecture and ensures architecture is aligned with the company’s operating model, strategic goals and objectives

·         Collaborates with the CIO and other AE business units to develop and implement practical and cost-effective processes for evaluating and implementing technology projects

·         Analyzes future opportunities and threats, assesses long-term energy resource uncertainty and risk and makes recommendations to AE’s executive management on how best to position the utility for continued success 

·         Develops and recommends new technologies for improved condition monitoring and inspection techniques to improve the asset management of generation and transmission equipment

·         Manages collaborative research through industry and academic intelligence groups and  works in partnership with AE business units

·         Coordinates the examination, analysis and development of innovative business models that enable AE to achieve comprehensive and sustainable energy goals 

·         Conducts long-range planning and project prioritization through risk-based business cases at the request of AE business units

·         Develops effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders that advance AE’s understanding and knowledge of promising clean energy technologies 

·         Promotes change in culture and business systems that ensure achievement of strategic goals within the organization 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

·         Knowledge of approaches to strategic and technology planning.

·         Knowledge of electric utility and energy industry and technologies relevant to the utility industry.

·         Knowledge of relevant technologies to integrate into AE’s long term strategic vision.

·         Knowledge of IT systems and enterprise architecture supporting the electric utility business such as transmission, distribution, generation, customer care, mobile, GIS, finance, security, regulatory/compliance, etc.

·         Knowledge of the application of enterprise architecture to guide organizations towards achieving strategic vision.

·         Knowledge of fiscal planning and budget preparation.

·         Knowledge of federal, state, local laws and ordinances that apply to utility operations.

·         Ability to communicate and consult with internal business units.

·         Ability to present complex information and communicate emerging technologies and trends so that information is understandable to audiences of varying technical expertise.

·         Ability to establish and maintain effective communication and working relationships with city employees and the public. 

Education and Experience

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Business Administration, Economics, Engineering, Finance, Information Systems, Computer Science or a closely related field plus seven years of experience related to electric utility or other energy related organization, two years of which were in a managerial capacity and two years which included information technology related operations or planning.   A Master’s degree may substitute for experience up to a maximum of two years. 

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will have:

·         An MBA or Master’s degree with a concentration in IT, Strategic Planning or Finance and at least seven years of experience as a senior business professional in an electric utility or other energy related organization

·         A minimum of three years of strategic planning experience  including establishing vision and mission, threats and opportunities, business models and the analytic framework behind these models, strategic initiatives and KPIs

·         Extensive experience in operations and organizational business roles in addition to experience in a technology specialist role

·         At least three years of experience with Smart Grid technologies, Distributed Generation and Renewable Generation

·         Experience formulating and implementing a Technology Roadmap and maintaining technical oversight

·         Foundational knowledge of IT systems and Enterprise Architecture supporting business (transmission, distribution, generation, customer care, mobile, GIS, finance, security, regulatory/compliance, etc.)

·         Advanced expertise in collaboration, consensus building and coaching techniques

·         Experience in presenting/communicating complex information, emerging technologies, and trends to audiences with varying technical understanding

·         Experience leading and managing a diverse team of professionals including highly skilled technical personnel

Salary

Austin Energy offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and extensive benefits including a generous pension system. Relocation assistance will be available for a successful out of area candidate. 

How to Apply

Applicants should apply to the job posting for Chief Technology Officer – Electric Utility at http://www.austincityjobs.org/postings/49822 

For questions regarding this search, please contact: 

Affion Public
2120 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
888.321.4922
Fax: 717-214-8004
www.affionpublic.com 

*Deadline to receive resumes is April 05, 2016

The City of Austin is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.