Chief Executive Officer

Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority, SC | Full-time

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The Position

Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority (GSWSA) seeks the next Chief Executive Officer to join a utility authority with an enviable environmental record and a customer-focused reputation in one of the fastest-growing areas in the southeast. The next Chief Executive Officer will lead this high-performing team, focusing on the future and ensuring the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Authority's water and wastewater services while continuing to meet the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors.

The GSWSA provides services in Horry County, and from the North Carolina line to parts of Georgetown County, and rural areas west of the Waccamaw River. GSWSA provides contractual services to six of the County's municipal water and sewer utilities and two public water companies. The development of GSWSA has been instrumental in Horry County's growth from a population of 70,000 in 1970 to over 332,651 today. The next CEO will ensure the Authority is prepared to serve the needs of the area as outlined in the 2040 Strategic Plan.

This position will be vacant when the current long-standing CEO retires in early 2022, after more than three decades of service leading GSWSA.

Some of the most important aspects that the CEO will be focused on include:

  • Working on capital projects and other planning to make sure water and wastewater services are ready for areas that are growing.
  • Maintaining utility’s financial strength, keeping rates low, and focusing on financial stewardship
  • Continuing the sterling environmental record of GSWSA.
  • Seeking opportunities to grow the utility’s customer base without compromising on personalized service for ratepayers.
  • Staying competitive as an employer to recruit and retain top talent and develop leaders and clear career paths for employees at all levels.
  • Upgrading technology systems and continue focus on cybersecurity.

The Successful Candidate

The successful candidate for this position will be a visionary, strategic leader who is focused on ensuring GSWSA is prepared to meet the future water and wastewater needs of the area and continues its exceptional service to existing customers. The next CEO will be an exceptional communicator and be engaged in the community and key stakeholders. The CEO will work with a supportive and knowledgeable board of directors, lead a talented executive and employee team, and help ensure the day-to-day services continue to be outstanding. The next CEO will also ensure a strong fiscal future, low rates, and exceptional service to ensure the utility can meet the growth of this coastal area. The CEO will be responsible for executing GSWSA’s strategic plan and be forward-thinking. The successful candidate will also be able to understand and negotiate complex systems, contracts, and rates. The ideal candidate is skilled in negotiation, is politically savvy, and can bring parties with different interests to a consensus. The successful CEO will have experience in a growing utility, be able to oversee multiple projects and initiatives and be willing to take calculated risks. The next CEO will understand the complex regulatory environment at the state and federal level, be committed to sustainability, and be effective at advocating on the utility’s behalf. The successful CEO will be technologically strong, systems-focused, and ensure GSWSA’s security.

The next Chief Executive Officer is a natural collaborator who easily builds and maintains strong relationships with the Board of Directors, County and municipal officials, and the state delegation representing the area. The next CEO will have a leadership style that encourages teamwork, cross-organizational problem-solving, accountability, and a strong commitment to exceptional service delivery. The CEO will be focused on recruiting and retaining a well-qualified, committed workforce, and building and developing the next generation of leaders in the organization. The next CEO will have a successful track record of forming a cohesive team, listening to ideas from employees at all levels, and instilling a culture of trust, innovation, and service. The CEO will help the organization balance the day-to-day operational demands with overseeing complex capital projects. The next CEO will clarify expectations and empower GSWSA’s employees to do their best work and grow. The next CEO will strengthen the organizational culture, enhance its technological systems, and strengthen its position as an employer of choice in the region.

Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in public administration, engineering, business administration, or a closely related field with five years of progressively responsible positions working in a water and/or wastewater utility or municipality and at least three years in a senior management role.

Preferred qualifications include strong leadership development skills, experience in business and financial analysis, experience in government relations, knowledge of the regulatory landscape, and environmental stewardship. A master’s degree and/or a Professional Engineer (PE) license are also preferred but not required; experience and/or expertise related to the challenges of operating a water utility in a high-growth and environmentally sensitive area is also a plus.

Residency within the service area after employment is required as a strong engagement in the community is essential for this position.

Inside Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority

Founded in 1971, GSWSA provides world-class water services for approximately 110,000 residents of the Eastern Carolinas, including wholesale services to Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Loris, and the Little River Water and Sewerage Co. Inc. GSWSA is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors who are residents of Horry County and appointed by the Governor upon the Horry County legislative delegation’s recommendation. Board members are appointed to overlapping six-year terms.

The Chief Executive Officer is responsible to the Board of Directors for the proper administration and execution of the Board's policies, goals, service objectives, and all other affairs of GSWSA. The Board is charged with providing water and wastewater services to the County, adopting an annual budget, setting rates and charges, and establishing policies and guidelines relating to how those services are delivered to its customers. All division chiefs and corresponding divisions report directly to the Chief Executive Officer. The staff is organized into six (6) main operating divisions:

  • Administration
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Plant Operations
  • Field Operations
  • Technology

Due to the remarkable growth of the population and GSWSA's customer base, as well as an increased risk profile (hurricanes and pandemics), GSWSA is more committed than ever to be at the top of its game to fulfill its mission and exceed customer and stakeholder expectations. GSWSA’s 2040 Strategic Plan traced GSWSA from its start in 1971 – chartered with no assets, customers, or revenues – to where it is today: a major water and wastewater utility with over $849 Million in assets, 100,000 customers, and annual revenues of more than $138 Million. GSWSA’s goal is to provide service throughout Horry and surrounding counties while maintaining the lowest rates of any water or wastewater utility operating on the coast of South Carolina. The 2040 Plan outlines how these goals are to be accomplished. A total of $641,999,000 is projected for capital improvements to the water system, with $446,243,125 projected for the wastewater system. Three hundred fifty employees currently staff the Authority, and the 2022 operating budget is $119,222,540.

The primary water source for GSWSA is Bull Creek and two groundwater aquifers through 50 wells. The Bull Creek Surface Water Treatment Plant has an average daily flow of 29 million gallons per day (MGD) and a capacity of 45 MGD. The Myrtle Beach Surface Water Treatment Plant has an average daily flow of 17.7 MGD and a capacity of 45 MGD. Thirteen other wastewater plants have a total capacity of 70.67 MGD and an average daily flow of 46.17 MGD. A portion of the effluent and all biosolids produced by plants are used to fertilize agricultural crops at a number of land application sites.

Vision

To remain the preferred water and wastewater service provider and leader in quality and value while expanding our products and services within the region.

Mission

GSWSA provides water and wastewater services that protect public health and the environment, promote economic development, and enhance the quality of life.

Values

  1. Affordable, Quality Service
  2. Public Health and Environmental Protection
  3. Customer Satisfaction
  4. Efficient and Effective Operations
  5. Employee Commitment
  6. Teamwork

Priorities

  • Customer and Stakeholder Engagement and Satisfaction: To increase community confidence as the preferred utility provider and meet the community's needs through transparent engagement, outreach, and education.
  • Dedicated Workforce: To recruit, develop, and retain a well-qualified and motivated team of employees.
  • Expansion and Economic Development: To ensure sufficient resources and capacity to support expansion and regional economic development.
  • Operational Optimization: To seek continuous improvement, data-driven decision-making, and cost-effective operations through enhanced resource management, communication, and technology.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Engagement: To exceed regulatory standards through understanding, advocacy, engagement, and continuous improvement.
  • Reliable Infrastructure: To ensure reliable infrastructure by managing asset lifecycles with established and innovative business systems.
  • Technology and Innovation: To develop and integrate innovative technology solutions and processes that meet the needs of our organization and customers now and in the future.

The Community

The 60-mile stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean that spans Horry and Georgetown Counties is all a part of the GSWSA’s service area. The Greater Grand Strand area is a major tourist destination and home to a large and growing number of permanent residents. Over 354,000 permanent residents reside in Horry County, and during peak tourist season, the area gets an estimated 20.6 million visitors each year.

Naturalists worldwide come to Horry County to view some unusual geographic features such as the Waccamaw River, coastal swashes, and the Carolina Bays. Tourists and residents enjoy endless seashore activities like amusement parks, campgrounds, and historic golf courses such as The Granddaddy in the historic Pine Lakes International County Club. The region is also home to the 55,000-acre Waccamaw Wildlife Refuge, which comprises forest, rivers, and tidal freshwaters wetlands.

Major industries in the region are tourism, real estate development, and healthcare. The area is home to Coastal Carolina University and Horry Georgetown Technical College.

Quick Facts about Horry County

  • Population: 354,081
  • Median Household Income: $50,704
  • Median Home Value: $181,500
  • Median Age: 45.9

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. The median home value for single-family homes (excluding condos) is approximately $300,000.

Compensation and Benefits

The expected hiring range is $220,000 – $250,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package that includes major medical, dental, vision, disability, life/AD&D, and voluntary insurance plans along with a retirement plan. A relocation package and other amenities may also be part of total compensation in an employment agreement.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on October 8, 2021.

Questions

Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at apply@raftelis.com or 513-221-0500.

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