Overview of the Organization
Founded in 1965, the Northeast Public Power Association (NEPPA) is a private, nonprofit trade association that is incorporated as a 501c(6) with a mission to represent and serve consumer-owned utilities of New England. Nationally, one customer in four is served by a public power company that is owned and operated by local or state governments or rural cooperatives. In the six New England states, over 80 public power systems serve roughly two million retail customers and sell over 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. These public power companies are NEPPA’s members!
NEPPA is governed by an elected Board of Directors comprised of 21 public power officials representing member utilities in all six New England states. Nine standing committees provide guidance on member services and policies.
Including the Executive Director, NEPPA employs six professionals as well as contracted trainers. Between 2014 and 2016, NEPPA’s annual revenue averaged approximately $2.2 million, with education and training revenue and membership dues representing 55% and 32% of revenue on average, respectively, over the 3-year period.
Overview of NEPPA’s Programs and Services
NEPPA combines the strength of its diverse members to provide low-cost services, opportunities to network and engage, and advocacy for public policies and federal legislation beneficial to members’ interests. Specific programs and services offered by NEPPA include:
- Training and Education — To help utilities ensure that their employees are properly trained to work on or near energized equipment, NEPPA provides comprehensive safety and technical training programs for utility personnel. In addition, NEPPA offers trainings in supervision, leadership and customer service, as well as an annual conference where industry best practices are highlighted.
- Government Affairs and Advocacy — On behalf of its members, NEPPA monitors and responds to legislative and regulatory initiatives that could impact the public power industry and the specific operations of those in New England. On behalf of its members, NEPPA retains the services of professionals in Washington, DC to monitor activities, coordinate with APPA, NRECA & TAPS, receive information from NAESB, and coordinate with various joint action agencies.
- Mutual Aid — NEPPA plays an active role promoting and engaging members to participate in mutual aid, which occurs when a public power utility needs additional line crews to restore power because of a New England storm event.
For the last several years, NEPPA was very well-led by its Executive Director, who transitioned from the organization in March 2018 to pursue an opportunity with a national association. The eight-member Executive Committee of the board has assumed the responsibility of managing the search.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
NEPPA is at an important juncture as it approaches this leadership transition. High priorities for the Executive Director include:
- Managing adeptly the daily operations, staffing, finances and member services of a $2.2 million trade association, and empowering a dedicated and skilled staff of five plus trainers to provide the highest quality programs and services to NEPPA’s 80+ members.
- Utilizing NEPPA’s solid financial resources, recommending the targeted, strategic investments NEPPA should make to further enhance the programs and services provided to members.
- Maintaining NEPPA’s high level of engagement with members, ensuring mutual benefits are realized, and membership dues are sustained.
- Modernizing the highly successful education and training programs, including the exploration of on-line and virtual options, as well as training schedules that better meet the needs of students.
- Staying abreast of the most pressing industry issues and concerns to support and participate in advocacy efforts in partnership with lobbyists and consultants.
- Professionally managing staff and trainers by developing a more formalized performance management process, offering targeted professional development opportunities to staff and creating a strategy for managing trainer transitions and retirements.
- Increasing the use of technology throughout the organization to better serve members and to increase staff productivity.
- Improving interdepartmental communications so all are well-informed and well-positioned to serve members.
- Streamlining the activities of a relatively large board with multiple committees.
Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate
- Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.
- A minimum of three years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience.
- Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation is an added benefit.
Skills and Experience
Customer Service Leader and Community Builder
The Executive Director must be able to establish and maintain an organizational culture committed to exceptional member services. The leader must fully understand the needs of members, ensure that members’ needs are always met and inspire and proactively engage members to participate in NEPPA’s program and series. The leader must also be adept at building and sustaining community of a membership that is geographically dispersed throughout New England and the Northeast. Prior experience in a member-based organization is strongly desired.
As the agency’s chief executive and administrative officer, the leader will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations, finances, programming, facilities and staff; efficiently aligning and maximizing resources to achieve the goals outlined in the current strategic plan, and; empowering coaching and supporting a small, but highly experienced, professional and committed staff. The Executive Director will also serve as the primary liaison to the board of directors and its committees to engage in effective governance, to achieve its strategic goals and to implement NEPPA’s next strategic plan.
Strategic Thinker and Innovator
The Executive Director must be committed to NEPPA’s strategic vision, and working collaboratively with the board and staff, develop inventive methods for delivering the highest quality programs and services to members. The leader should have the creativity and confidence to challenge the status quo to allow an established and high performing association (like NEPPA) to envision a revitalized and innovative future.
Skilled Communicator and Advocate
The ability to serve as the public face, primary spokesperson and representative for NEPPA is a key quality sought in an Executive Director. To assume this role, the leader must listen carefully, speak persuasively and respond effectively to engage others and, working in partnership with lobbyists and consultants, advocate on behalf of the industry. Internally, the leader must create and implement interdepartmental communication best practices, so all staff are well-informed and aligned.
Although the Executive Director will not personally be responsible for developing training and education programs, since these programs are a core offering, the ability to inform program design and delivery would be beneficial.
Power Industry Knowledge
Although direct industry experience or knowledge is not required, it would be ideal if the Executive Director had a working knowledge of power utilities and/or the interest and capacity to learn quickly and get up to speed about the industry.
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with Transition Consultant John Tarvin. All submissions are confidential. Interested candidates should submit materials online.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match NEPPA’s needs and mission. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
NEPPA is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.