Long-time Lafayette Utilities System employee Jeff Stewart has been appointed by Mayor-President Josh Guillory to lead LUS as its first permanent director in almost four years. Preng & Associates assisted in the search.
Stewart, an LSU grad who began his career at LUS as an electrical engineer in 2001, has been the utility’s engineering and power supply manager since 2014. In that role he has overseen 120 full-time employees and an annual budget of $240 million.
“For more than 20 years, Jeff has been a key part of the LUS team. His background, expertise, and proven leadership in the utilities and engineering fields are and have been an asset to LUS. He is well equipped to lead the department moving forward,” Guillory said in his announcement.
Stewart was a finalist for the position alongside James Jason Terry of the Kissimmee Utility Authority and Paul A. Jakubczak for the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, both of Florida. Two additional applicants were previously removed from consideration after one withdrew and another was disqualified by LUS’s consulting engineer Burns & McDonnell.
Stewart, the only internal applicant, became the final candidate in the search to fill the LUS director role after Terry and Jakubczak withdrew their bids for what is the highest-paying job in Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The LUS director position pays around $250,000 a year, though that could change with Stewart’s appointment. He previously led LUS as interim director for over a year following the retirement of long-time Director Terry Huval in 2018.
Former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux replaced Stewart as interim director with former LCG CAO Lowell Duhon in October 2019. Duhon is retiring from LUS and LCG following Stewart’s appointment.
Guillory announced the decision Friday, which will have to be ratified by a vote of Lafayette’s City Council.
“I am honored to serve the Lafayette community and proud to represent our employees. LUS has been a vital part of Lafayette’s vibrant and successful history and for 125 years has provided the highest quality electric, water, and wastewater services,” said Stewart, who lives in Lafayette with his wife and daughter.
“My goal is to continue that legacy of excellence for decades to come. The industry is changing and we face big challenges ahead. I am prepared to turn those into opportunities.”
Since leaving the interim director position, Stewart has led the development of LUS’s vision for the future of its energy supply chain and helped launch the system’s first online power outage map and notification system.
Stewart spearheaded the two-year process to develop LUS’s integrated resource plan, which mapped the utility’s long-term needs for power generation and weighed the likely retirement of its coal-fired power plant near Alexandria in the coming years.
City Council Chair Nanette Cook said Friday she is “extremely happy” with Guillory’s choice of Stewart for the utility’s top job.
“Jeff has been a loyal employee of LUS for about 20 years. And, he has been a tax paying member of our community for some time as well. I respect his love of LUS and Lafayette,” Cook said.
Councilman Andy Naquin also pointed to Stewart’s decades of experience at LUS as a benefit to the city-owned utility.
“His experience of our local utilities system and background give us the benefit of someone who can step in and run the business of LUS,” Naquin said. “I do not foresee any issues with his qualifications.”
Source Link: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2022/02/04/long-time-lafayette-utilities-employee-appointed-lus-director-jeff-stewart/6664602001/https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/jeffrey-stewart-chosen-become-permanent-director-lafayette-utilities-system