OUC Commission President
Whether it’s designing complex buildings with one of the world’s largest professional and technical services firms, or finding the balance in sustainability, reliability and affordability for the second largest municipal utility in Florida, Dan Kirby is a visionary. As principal at Jacobs in Orlando and commission president at OUC, he’s committed to sustainability in the buildings he designs and the direction of OUC, seeing it as a privilege to serve as one of the stewards of a remarkable community resource.
THE ROAD TO OUC
OUC has a good reputation and a great history. As an architect and an urban planner, I’ve devoted my entire career to understanding people and places, so I was drawn to how an electric and water utility could become a leader in sustainability. Over the past several years, I’ve gotten that, plus an incredible education in public finance, corporate governance and resource planning for a company with more than $825 million in annual revenue and over $3 billion in assets. It’s been an amazing opportunity to serve the community and learn about an industry, but not without its challenges.
My vision for OUC is to see it transform from a utility provider into an energy and water services company. Outstanding delivery is just the beginning; we must leverage relationships and technology, and scale for the benefit and convenience of our customers in new ways. This means that we strike the proper balance in terms of sustainability, reliability and affordability. Our customer commitment extends to all of our customers – we have to care about the family renting a studio apartment as well as the huge regional distribution center, because they both have a budget that they cannot ignore.
Our team at OUC is amazing in how they have stepped up to the challenge of finding creative ways to advance sustainability and expand the use of renewable energy in Central Florida. From electrical vehicle readiness to building a LEED Building, we are engaged in these efforts. Even when we are not carrying out the effort, the influence is there. It is increasingly becoming part of our culture.
IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY
Great advances are taking place in utilities and architecture, where my profession is moving towards net zero energy buildings. Beyond that, the web provides our customers with convenience and challenges that would not have been possible just a few years ago.
We have made significant investments in improving customer interface and access to information so that the customer is empowered – no pun intended – to make choices about how to save money and energy. We have also invested in smart meters and defense against cyber threats. I’m also excited about the research into new types of power generation that will allow us to benefit from the Florida environment.
The roots of my interest in service go back to when I was a kid watching my parents take on leadership roles at church, and then it really caught fire when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, where I volunteered alongside fellow students who would go on to be incredibly successful, such as former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After years of serving on many boards for non-profits, I’ve benefited from working alongside true servant leaders who have taught me balance and patience. I’ve also worked with some people that have been shining examples of what not to do.
When it comes to excellence in a company, culture trumps everything. No organization ever reaches its full potential because no team is perfect, but we strive for perfection because our customers rely on us every hour of every day. Our team is at its best when we focus on relationships and not just transactions. Our roots in this community run deep.