GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski announces appointments to GRU’s executive management team
Justin Locke, Chief Financial Officer
Justin Locke has worked in public utilities for more than 20 years, including most recently as Vice President of Finance at CPS Energy in San Antonio, Texas. He also served as CFO of both the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative and the Brownsville Public Utilities Board. A graduate of Rice University’s Executive Education program, he also holds a degree in finance with a concentration in risk management from St. Mary’s University San Antonio. He will start as GRU’s CFO on Oct.1.
Locke will replace interim CFO David M. Richardson, who will return to his previous management role as Water/Wastewater Officer. Current Water/Wastewater executive manager Ron Herget will retire following 35 years of service with GRU.
Michelle Smith Lambert, Acting Chief Change Officer
Michelle Smith Lambert has practiced law in Gainesville for more than a decade. As the founder of Balanced Life Wellness Consulting, she has served as a diversity and inclusion trainer for GRU and the City of Gainesville since 2013. She holds a Juris Doctorate degree and a Master of Exercise and Sports Science degree from the University of Florida. She started as GRU’s Acting CCO, a newly established position, on Sept. 28.
“As Chief Change Officer, she will lead efforts to break down GRU’s organizational barriers, allowing us to increase the ease with which we collaborate to establish and improve efficiencies.”
Thomas R. Brown, Acting Chief Operating Officer
Thomas Brown has worked as an energy industry executive for 30 years, including most recently as the Vice President/Commercial Manager of Leidos-Plainfield Renewable Energy in Plainfield, Connecticut. He also served in executive management positions with Cogentrix, El Paso Merchant Energy and Ridgewood Power Corporation. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He started as GRU’s Acting COO, a newly established position, on Sept. 28.
Additonally, GRU has also begun a nationwide search for a Chief Information Officer, a newly established position, to lead the utility’s information technology initiatives.
“In order to best serve our community, we must be able to keep up with changing technology as it relates to both the demands of our customers and the information engineering and logistics that go into running each of our five systems,” Bielarski said.
“The CIO, along with the newly established CCO and COO positions, will work together with the rest of our executive management team and other senior leaders to ensure that we are utilizing our current assets in the most efficient way possible and to identify what changes need to be made to decrease upward rate pressure while maintaining the high quality of service our customers rely on.”
Multiple current executive management team members who have been serving in interim or acting capacities will also be converted to permanent positions in the coming weeks as part of the reorganization.