September 27, 2010
Larry Weis New General Manager
At Austin Energy
Larry Weis, the former General Manager and CEO of the Turlock Irrigation District (TID) in Turlock California, begins his tenure today as General Manager of Austin Energy. Weis brings more than 29 years experience in the electric and water utility industries and was chosen following a national search and an extensive selection process.
Austin City Manager Marc Ott, in naming Weis, said the utility executive has the experience, the record and the management style needed to continue the success enjoyed by the City’s progressive electric utility.
“We need a creative thinker that clearly values what it means to be the best managed public utility in the country,” Ott said. “Someone with a track record of embracing challenges, pressing for innovation, ensuring full transparency and welcoming involvement from the community. We heard all of those things about Larry in visiting with community leaders in Turlock and his record reflects the full range of those qualities.”
Weis inherits the 9th largest community-owned electric utility in the nation. Austin Energy is recognized for highly competitive rates and excellent system reliability. In addition, the utility has built a national reputation for some of the most comprehensive energy efficiency programs in the nation, the nation’s first Green Building program and for being the nation’s #1 green power program for sales every year since 2002. The utility has established goals that 35 percent of the power it provides to its customers by 2020 will come from renewable resources and through energy efficiency, to offset the need for an 800 MW power plant by that date.
Weis brings a record of success throughout the full range of electric utility challenges. He began his electric utility career in 1981 at Snohomish PUD in northwest Washington state, where he conducted energy audits and worked with large commercial and industrial customers and oversaw a huge buildup of a nationally prominent energy efficiency and conservation program. The last five years at Snohomish Weis was an area manager with electric operations responsibilities.
In 1990, at the age of 35, he was named General Manager of the Pend Oreille PUD in northeast Washington state. The 1,400 square mile service area of the utility was regularly pummeled by summer thunderstorms and winter snow. Weis was successful in significantly strengthening system reliability with additional transmission and stepped up maintenance and planning. A strong believer in leadership by example, Weis many times worked alongside crews throughout the night repairing lines and replacing equipment to restore power after major storms.
At TID Weis led the planning, financing and construction of combined-cycle power plants and the acquisition of a 137 MW wind project to meet renewable energy targets. He led development, certification and implementation of a market provision that insulated TID customers from higher wholesale power costs and managed the successful purchase of 225 square miles of additional service area from a neighboring utility while reducing rates for TID customers.
“I am excited about the opportunity to lead a utility that is an innovator and leader in our industry,” Weis said. “I am also excited to become a part of a community that has proven to be so passionate and engaged in the progressive direction and success of its utility, which is a tremendous community resource and a catalyst for progress.”
In assuming leadership of Austin Energy, Weis replaces Robert Goode who has served as interim General Manager since March. Goode, who returns to his position as an Assistant City Manager, was assigned to the Austin Energy interim position following the retirement of Roger Duncan in March 2010.