PEC names new CEO

Newly appointed PEC CEO Julie Parsley, formerly a partner in the law firm Parsley Coffin Renner. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEC

By: 
John Pacheco

 

After five months without a chief executive officer (CEO), Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) announced that its board of directors had selected Julie Parsley as it’s new CEO, on October 26.

Parsley is a former partner of the law firm Parsley Coffin Renner, which specializing in utility regulation.

“We’re proud to share that Julie Parsley will be joining the PEC family,” PEC Board President Emily Pataki said. “As we approach our 80th anniversary, we’re confident we have found the leader who provides great value to the cooperative’s membership and will honor PEC’s rich tradition and history.”

“The Board voted unanimously in support of Julie, who we believe will leverage her deep knowledge of the electric utility industry to implement member-focused programs while keeping costs low and maintaining high levels of service reliability and member satisfaction,” Pataki said.

PEC’s press release stated, “Parsley is a former Commissioner of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and focused her law practice on energy-related legal and consulting services in Texas and the Southwest. Parsley is also a former Solicitor General of Texas, is board certified in civil appellate law and was an adjunct professor of law teaching appellate practice and procedure at the University of Texas School of Law. She has also built an appellate practice in addition to her energy practice.”

Parsley is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in industrial distribution, and received her Juris Doctor from Texas Tech University School of Law.

“I am honored to be named as CEO of Pedernales, which is not only the largest distribution electric cooperative in the country, but in my opinion, also the best,” Parsley said.

Simultaneously, PEC’s Board of Directors also selected Eddie Dauterive to serve as the cooperative’s chief operations officer (COO). Dauterive previously served as PEC’s vice president of member services.

In its press release PEC stated, “Dauterive joined the PEC team as a software development operations manager in January 2002 and later moved to member services, which he has led for more than eight years. Dauterive is a licensed project manager and certified in Six Sigma process improvement methodologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in finance from The University of Louisiana in Lafayette and a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.”

“It has been an honor to serve PEC’s membership as vice president of member services,” Dauterive said. “I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve as PEC’s chief operations officer, and I am looking forward to working with Ms. Parsley to preserve PEC’s excellent tradition of putting our members’ needs first.”

Parsley stated her support of the board’s selection of Dauterive as new COO. “I’m excited to work with Eddie Dauterive in his new role as chief operations officer, and I am confident that as a team we can move Pedernales into a very bright future that delivers excellence for our members and continues to be a great place to work,” Parsley said.

PEC had been without a CEO since former PEC CEO, John D. Hewa, abruptly resigned on May 25, 2017.

In a press release dealing with Hewa’s resignation PEC stated, “Mr. Hewa has decided to move back to Virginia with his family and pursue new career opportunities.” Hewa had served as CEO since July 2013.

In the same press release Hewa is quoted as saying, “I’m proud of PEC’s accomplishments in the four years that I served the cooperative. PEC is a remarkable organization with exceptionally talented employees. I wish the best for PEC in meeting its current challenges and the fast growth ahead for the Texas Hill Country. I have previously shared my concerns and hopes for PEC with the board of directors, and I’m confident that Board President Emily Pataki and the board will address each matter appropriately,”

However, his meeting with the PEC board at his resignation had sharper tones. Hewa said that his continued service as CEO had become “impossible,” due to the fallout from a board member’s “racially insensitive comments.”

The alleged racial comments were from PEC Board Member James Oakley who wrote that it was “time for a tree and a rope,” in social media last November over the killing of a San Antonio police officer. The suspect in the killing was African-American. Oakley denied any racist intent in the comment.

In a video posted online by the Austin American Statesman, Hewa began to talk about his reasons for resignation, but was cut off by the Board President Emily Pataki, citing instructions from legal counsel.

The video shows Hewa saying, “By November of last year, I commented, PEC has never been in better shape. Unfortunately, and abruptly, however, the cooperative was cast into a media, a member, a public, and an employee crisis brought on by unacceptable racially insensitive comments from a board member. Those of us who spoke up to support minority employees, and to object the racially insensitive comments were assured by this board in resolution that retaliation would not occur. Unfortunately this has not been the case where the board of directors is concerned. I want every one of our employees and the full membership to know that I’m thankful for each and everyone of our employees, and I personally object to any discrimination against employees because of protected class such as race. I also object to retaliation experienced by those managers and executives who have opposed these insensitive comments. The board’s response to these matters has been inappropriate. I have witnessed and personally been subject…”

Hewa continued, but was cut off mid-sentenced by Pataki, who said, “I’m sorry you’re not going to be able to continue with this line of speech. This is not accurate, and what you’re saying is putting the co-op in a liable position. I think you know that under advice of attorney your not supposed to be speaking on these matters in this way.”

Hewa agreed to close out his statement. “My continued service as CEO has become impossible because of this situation. I’m in the process of providing the board details,” Hewa said.

“Thank you. We are sorry, certainly, to hear of this announcement, and we will work with you to make this transition as soon smooth as possible,” Pataki responded and ended the exchange.

About PEC

PEC is the nation’s largest distribution electric cooperative with nearly 300,000 meters and a service territory of 8,100 square miles. The cooperative serves four of the fastest growing counties in the United States — Comal, Hays, Kendall and Williamson — and employs more than 700 Central Texans. As of 2016, the cooperative had more than $1.5 billion in plant assets and posted a net margin of nearly $57 million, landing it on the National Cooperative Bank’s top 100 list of cooperatives.

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