General Manager and Chief Executive Officer - Joseph Bunch
Joe started as General Manager and CEO November 2018, after a successful career with Exelon Utilities and one of its subsidiaries, Baltimore Gas and Electric. He has a broad base of experience in; strategic planning, utility operational and engineering leadership and business improvement. During his career there, Joe led the development and execution of strategy across Exelon’s four utilities, managed large organizations with 24X7 regional utility operations and also had responsibility for key customer relationship management.
During Joe’s tenure with New Smyrna Beach Utilities has provided leadership for the development and implementation of strategic plans for Electric Grid and Water System Modernization and Sustainability. These long-term plans provide future vision and direction for how the organization will serve our customers and local community. The supporting portfolio of projects and programs are designed to deliver enhanced customer experience, and system-wide improvements in reliability and sustainability of the utility water and electric systems. The strategies are also supported by bond financing obtained at historically low interest rates, and revised utility rates put in place in 2021 to fund these key initiatives. However, NSBU's rates are consistently among some of the lowest in the State. Joe is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. He has served on the boards of non-profit organizations with a focus on the local community and education. Under his leadership, Joe has encouraged New Smyrna Beach Utilities Staff to support volunteer and charitable giving efforts in the local community. He is currently on the Boards of Directors of; Florida Municipal Power Association (FMPA) and Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA). Joe is married, and he and his wife Linda have one adult son.
Vice President/CFO - Efren Chavez
Efren has over 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, with over half of that time in utilities managing significant budget and financial resources. As Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer, Efren is responsible for implementing and monitoring the internal controls necessary for fiscal responsibility and compliance measures, and oversees the following divisions: Accounting, Customer Service (including billing and meter reading), and Supply Chain.
His professional experience includes consulting, as well as tenure with Fortune 500 companies, such as Waste Management, RR Donnelley, and Exelon Corporation. Prior to joining NSBU, Efren was CFO for an electrical construction company in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois' College of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and also has CPA accreditation. Efren and his family are residents of New Smyrna Beach.
Director of Engineering - Julie Couillard
Julie has over 30 years of engineering and utilities professional experience, including at the executive level. Her most recent experience was with Quanta Technology, Inc. where she worked as a Consultant/Executive Advisor, and was part of the consultant team working with us on developing our Vision, Mission, and Values. During her career, Julie was also a key part of three start-ups, including the Michigan Electric Transmission Company where she held the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from inception in 2000 until it was sold in 2008. She also previously held the position of Director of Substation Engineering Services with Commonwealth Edison Company.
Julie earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University, and a Masters of Business Administration from DePaul University. She is also a licensed Professional Engineer and the holder of two patents.
As Director of Engineering, Julie is responsible for the overall administration of engineering, design, permitting, inspection, and construction management of major repairs, 21 system upgrades, construction of new facilities, new/re development, as well as GIS mapping. She also oversees the planning related to future growth and for changes affecting existing systems due to technology improvements and/or changes in laws and regulations.
Director of Electric Operations - Vernon Steele
Vernon has over 25 years of experience in electrical operations. He started his career as a lineman at the City of Oak Ridge in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After receiving his Electrical Engineering degree in 2005 he joined Alcoa Power Generating as a Relay Engineer where he managed the generating, transmission and distribution relay systems. He joined Florida Power and Light in 2009 as a Protection and Controls Engineer in the Fort Myers area. During his tenure with FPL he served as a Substation Operations Leader where he oversaw the day to day operations of FPL’s substation and relay assets and managed their maintenance and construction crews. In 2014 Vernon progressed to Operations Area Manager where he managed the transmission, substation and relaying systems for FPL’s North Region.
Vernon brings a wealth of industry knowledge in system operations including safety and reliability management as well as extensive experience in emergency preparedness and change management. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.
Director of Water Resources - Joe Grusauskas
Josef has over 30 years of utility experience managing environmental programs. His most recent experience was with the City of Mount Dora, Florida where he served as the Public Works and Utility Director. During his career, Josef has successfully facilitated local City government utilities to large regional County facilities in and around Central Florida. He has also worked as an environmental consultant helping communities to create sustainable initiatives.
Josef has a Bachelor Degree in Physics from Florida Atlantic University and a Masters of Science in Human Resources and Administration from Berry University. He holds water and wastewater operator certifications with the State of Florida. He has also participated on many State education and research boards to promote operational knowledge and a healthy environment.
As Director of Water Resources, Josef is responsible for the NSBU's regional drinking water and water reclamation programs that serve approximately 62,000 residents in the City of New Smyrna Beach and some of unincorporated Volusia County and parts of the City of Edgewater. The services area encompasses 60.5 square miles. The utility consists of a team of highly qualified operators and staff who work 24 hours per day at the Glencoe 8.4 Million Gallon Per Day Water Treatment Plant with 4 water tank and high services pump stations, a 7 Million Gallon Per Day Wastewater Reclamation Treatment Facility with over 103 sewer collection and repump stations, and a reclaimed irrigation reuse system for the benefit of many community residents, parks and golf courses.
Director of Strategic Programs - John McMurray
John is responsible for the development, execution, and monitoring of key UC strategy and strategic initiatives and their supporting programs, specifically the Grid and Water Modernization roadmap projects and related programs. He will also assure that post-implementation customer and business benefits are realized through the investments we have planned in technology, systems and equipment- and that we do become the “Utility of the Future” as stated in our Vision document. A Florida native, John has extensive electric industry experience, and comes to us from a role as Vice President of Energy Delivery with Energy United electric cooperative in North Carolina.
In prior positions, he also worked at Lakeland Electric, Sumter Electric Co-op, and Florida Power and Light. As a result, he has a broad base of; leadership, engineering, operational, safety, training and compliance experience, and has led the implementation of modernization technologies and systems during his career. John has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from St. Leo’s University.