Utilities board seeks McCarthy’s successor

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Austin Utilities is getting closer to finding a successor for Jerry McCarthy, the longtime general manager who is retiring at the end of the year.

The utilities provider’s board met Tuesday and interviewed three finalists for the position. A decision could come within a week.

Of the three candidates, only one comes from within Austin Utilities: energy operations manager Todd Jorgenson.

Email newsletter signup

Jorgenson said his experience with Austin Utilities — he has been there 28 years — makes him the ideal candidate for the job.

“I’m a hometown boy, and I enjoy working here,” he said.

The board is also looking at two candidates who hail from neighboring states.

One of those is Douglas Young, who works with Power System Engineering in Wisconsin. Like Jorgenson, Young has a lot of experience in the power industry, and he said he was looking forward to the opportunity to work for a public utilities company. He also said he would welcome the move across the border.

“It’s a nice part of Minnesota,” he said of Austin. “(My wife and I) like it here.”

The board will also consider an Iowa candidate: Mark Nibaur, who works with MidAmerican Energy.

Nibaur has been with MidAmerican for more than 20 years, and he said he was looking for a new challenge.

“We all get to that point in life where we say, ‘Maybe it’s time for a change,’” he said.

After 32 years with Austin Utilities — the last 10 as general manager — McCarthy is nearing such a point. He said he intends to use his time off to see more of his family — he has eight grandchildren he’d like to spend a lot of time with. He is also an avid golfer and plans to hit the links often in his retirement.

McCarthy said he plans on living in Austin, where he was born and raised, once he retires, though he said he could sneak away for a few winter months.

The longtime employee, who was instrumental in getting power back to Austin after the June 2009 tornado, said he made his way through the ranks at Austin Utilities.

“When I started 32 years ago, I was the lowest paid employee,” McCarthy said in a previous interview. “I’ve had a lot of different positions. It’s been an enjoyable job in a good community.”