October 2, 2014

Utilities and Telecom

Trendsetters: Utilities, Telecom

Mike Vogel | 10/1/2008
Eric Silagy
[Photo: Matt Dean]

Eric Silagy

Florida Power & Light
Vice president,
chief development officer,
Juno Beach

Brush with Hollywood: Silagy met his wife, Laura, in Washington while both worked as congressional aides. She was legislative director for Charlie Wilson of Charlie Wilson’s War fame. They attended the D.C. premiere. “It’s probably 95% accurate.”

Future issue: Limiting and eliminating the need for water in power generation. “I think water is going to get even more expensive. It’s a precious commodity.”

Nuclear: “I’m convinced it’s part of the solution.”

Education: Bachelor’s, economics, University of Texas; law degree, Georgetown University

As Florida Power & Light develops new power generation in the state, whether nuclear, solar or gas, Eric Silagy will be behind it. In November, the 43-year-old became the utility’s chief development officer charged with building the utility’s power portfolio.
Silagy started in the power business in Congress. As a college grad, he opened mail in the office of then-Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, rising eventually to chief of staff for the Louisiana Democrat and touring energy facilities around the globe with Johnston, who chaired the energy and natural resources committee.

Silagy left the Capitol in 1997 to join the Wing Group, a Texas-based energy concern, working in Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and elsewhere in Asia. He was a vice president for mergers and acquisitions at Entergy when FPL Group and Entergy considered merging. He met FPL’s leadership, and in 2003 joined to lead its M&A activities before later taking over the $2 billion in annual revenue FPL Energy unit in Texas.

His task list as chief development officer for FPL Group’s utility subsidiary is to add two nuclear generation units at the utility’s Turkey Point site in Miami-Dade and to update gas- fueled plants at Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral so that they use a third less fuel, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by more than half. He also will build the world’s first hybrid solar thermal-natural gas plant in Martin County and the largest photovoltaic solar facility in the world in De Soto County. “I’m very proud we’re pushing the envelope and we’re going to make a difference.”

Verizon’s Voice

Michelle Robinson Michelle A. Robinson
Verizon
President,
southeast region

On an August morning, in the midst of unpacking her family from the move from Atlanta to Tampa, Michelle Robinson can’t find the bath towels. Such are the frustrations in relocating to become president of Verizon’s five-state southeast region. She has no trouble finding her voice as chief policy officer, however. She’s Verizon’s face in front of public service commissions, cities, counties and legislatures and the head of its philanthropic work. Verizon has spent more than $1 billion to run fiber optic service “all the way to the home” to provide Tampa Bay with broadband and television service in addition to phone service and is halfway through installing the new infrastructure, she says. It also allows Verizon and its peers statewide to compete with cable companies. The technology can be leveraged to solve social problems in fields ranging from education to healthcare and can boost business efficiency, she says. A San Diego native, Robinson, 40, was a senior vice president in Atlanta for Verizon’s southern region before moving up to president. This is her second stop in Florida for Verizon. She says she wants to “embrace the community in a way that’s unique. This is really one, two and three on my to-do list.” The towels, no doubt, have been located by now.

Being Green

Clint Bullock, 37, vice president of strategic planning and renewables at the Orlando Utilities Commission, leads a program to offer incentives for solar water heating and photovoltaic systems for customers. He’s at work on a 1-megawatt solar array for the Orange County Convention Center. Bullock began at the utility in high school as part of the mayor’s youth summer program.

Tags: Trendsetters, Energy & Utilities

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