Job Title: Former President & CEO
Company: EPCOR Utilities Inc. (Retired)
Mentor Since: Fall 2016
Will Mentor: Graduate Students
EPCOR, President & CEO | 2013 - 2015
DWS Professional Consulting, Principal | 2012 - 2013
El Paso Electric Company, CEO | 2008 - 2012
Cascade Natural Gas, President & CEO | 2005 - 2007
Southern Union Gas Company, Various, up to COO | 1984 - 2005
Various for-profit and not-for-profit Boards, throughout career
Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors, Corporate Directorship in | 2015
The University of Texas at Austin, BSCHE in Chemical Engineering | 1982
Mentoring Objectives & Scope
I am asked all the time by friends, young engineers and young professionals how I was able to become a CEO. I love talking about leadership and what makes a great leader. During my career, I have been led by people that I despised and those I would walk through fire to assist. I have read most of the books, but I really don’t believe you learn leadership from reading a book. It has to be experienced.
For a number of years, I have given speeches and talks on the importance of ethical behavior in business. These all started from the fact I was co-president of a fraternity at the University of Texas at Austin with the person who later became the Chief Accounting Officer for ENRON who ended up in jail for several years. I try and take my personal knowledge of this situation and explain how this might have happened and how to prepare yourself to avoid the pitfalls.
Lastly, I love talking about having fun at work while still maintaining a professional atmosphere and work environment. There are a number of ways to do this without jeopardizing the Company or its goals.
When and where do you hold meetings with your students?
Eastside is preferable, but not required. Also, since I am retired, I am pretty open on times considering traffic.
Both of my parents came from very humble beginnings and taught me the value of preparation and hard work. I started working at 13 and have only recently started to slow down. Due primarily to my mother’s influence, I value education tremendously and believe it is one of the only tools we have to solve many of societal ills. (My mother was a lifelong teacher.) I also believe in compassion to your fellow human beings which came from my dad. He never looked down on anyone in his life and taught me to always do a good job regardless of whether I was sweeping floors or making an acquisition. His teachings about seeing the best in everyone and treating them appropriately has allowed me to be very successful as a leader throughout my career.