Energy - Next Chapter
Susan Story handed over the reins of Gulf Power to Mark Crosswhite.
[Photo: Jeff Rogers]
It was a busy seven-plus years in Florida for Susan Story.
As president and CEO of Gulf Power Co., Story oversaw numerous environmental improvements and guided recovery efforts after Hurricane Ivan — all while taking leadership turns at nearly every powerful business organization in the state, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida and the Florida Council of 100.
Mark A. Crosswhite
Background: Crosswhite is well-grounded in the utility industry, even though he’s spent most of his career as a lawyer. Before joining Southern Co. in 2004, he was a regulatory attorney with the law firm representing Gulf Power and its Southern Co. sister utilities.
Recent positions: Senior vice president and general counsel for Southern Co., and later for Alabama Power, and most recently executive vice president, external affairs, for Alabama Power
Priorities: Initially, “learning more about the region, Florida and Gulf Power Co. by listening to employees, customers and the community;’’ promoting a company initiative, Target Zero, that makes zero accidents on the job a top goal; continuing energy-saving initiatives; and engaging in Florida business concerns
Story began a new job Jan. 1 with Gulf Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., as president and CEO of Southern Company Services. She’ll oversee areas including information technology, marketing services, SouthernLINC wireless subsidiary and development of "smart" technologies.
During her Gulf Power tenure, the company installed a $645-million scrubber system at Plant Crist in Pensacola to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 95%; launched a Mercury Research Center now sharing data on reducing mercury emissions with utilities in 15 to 20 states and a half-dozen foreign countries; started Southern Co.’s first methane-to-energy plant, at Perdido Landfill; and partnered with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority for reuse of wastewater — eventually 17 million gallons daily — instead of river water for Plant Crist scrubber operation and cooling.
Statewide, Story cites her work on education reform with the Florida Council of 100 as personally rewarding: "My passion outside this business is education and providing opportunities to students." The council’s recently completed paper, "Closing the Talent Gap," made 100 recommendations for improving Florida education, including an increase in education requirements for STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — which spurred legislative action.
Story and her husband aren’t selling their Florida residence, she says, despite her career move. "I consider this a detour until we come home."