Helen Wesley is president of Peoples Gas, where she leads a diverse team responsible for the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to more than 425,000 customers across Florida. With a keen focus on the state's clean energy future, Wesley is positioning Peoples Gas as a leader in sustainable energy solutions through investments in emerging fuels such as renewable natural gas.
Wesley joined Peoples Gas in 2020 as chief operating officer. Her areas of responsibility included Engineering and Operations, Marketing and Sales, and Business Development.
Prior to Peoples Gas, Wesley was with ENMAX Corporation, where she served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Finance and Information Technology. She brings over 30 years of experience in various forms of energy - regulated and unregulated generation and transmission and distribution, upstream and downstream oil and gas, and commodity chemicals and pipelines. She has worked throughout North America as well as internationally in a variety of senior strategic and operational leadership positions. Wesley has been a director and member of the Audit and Nominating and Governance Committees with Enerflex, an international gas processing company, since 2013. Throughout her career she has also been involved in community not for profit organizations, most recently as a member of the board of directors of Hospice Calgary. She participates in the Tampa Bay Partnership and sits on the board of directors for the Southern Gas Association.
Wesley earned her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing degree from the University of Calgary in 1991, and her Master of Business Administration in International Business from Boston's Bentley College in 1993. She also received her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1998. She received her Directors Designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2015.
Senior Vice President Finance and Accounting and Chief Financial Officer
Greg Blunden is senior vice president of Finance and Accounting and chief financial officer (CFO) of TECO Energy and CFO of Emera Inc.
Blunden joined Emera in 2000 and has held financial leadership roles at Emera Inc., Emera Maine and Nova Scotia Power. He has gained valuable experience and industry insight into all aspects of Emera's business, including corporate finance, business development, utility operations, customer service, renewable energy and regulatory policy.
Most recently, he was Emera's vice president of Corporate Strategy & Planning and before that held the position of executive vice president of Customer, Business & Financial Services at Nova Scotia Power.
Blunden is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a graduate of Mount Allison University.
Vice President Pipeline Safety and Regulatory Affairs
Luke Buzard is vice president of Pipeline Safety and Regulatory Affairs for TECO Peoples Gas.
Buzard first joined TECO in 2010 as manager of Audit Services, where he later became director. Most recently he served as director of Pipeline Safety and Operational Services for Peoples Gas, where he led the development and implementation of the safety management system, enhancement of technology solutions and process improvements.
Prior to TECO, Buzard held financial auditor positions at Cherry, Bekaert & Holland LLP in St. Petersburg and KPMG LLP in Tampa. He was involved in audits of various industries, including retail, manufacturing, government and real estate.
Buzard received both his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his Master of Accountancy from the University of South Florida. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor.
Buzard serves on the board of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. He previously served as chair of the USF Accounting Circle and was a member of Class IV of the Leadership Connect Institute.
Vice President External Affairs & Economic Development
Laura Crouch is vice president of external affairs & economic development for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas.
Crouch joined TECO in 1993 and has more than two decades of experience working with governmental agencies in a broad range of departments, including Environmental, Regulatory, Resource Planning and Business Strategy. Most recently, she spent five years as director of Community Relations, Local Government and Economic Development for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas.
Crouch received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida.
She serves on the Florida Chamber Foundation Board, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee of the board, Tampa Downtown Partnership's Executive Committee of the board, Visit Tampa Bay Advisory Board, Westshore Alliance Executive Committee of the board, Leadership Tampa '15 Alumnae, Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXXVII and other economic development and community organizations.
Vice President Information Technology & Telecommunications and CIO
Karen Mincey is vice president of Information Technology and Telecommunications and chief information officer for TECO Energy.
Mincey leads a team of technical professionals responsible for TECO Energy's corporate computing systems. She joined TECO in 1990 and worked in Marketing and Energy Delivery Operations before joining Information Technology.
She has been nationally recognized for her leadership in the Information Technology industry. Mincey has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Orleans and a Master of Business Administration from Loyola University New Orleans.
Mincey serves on the Board Development Committee for the corporate board of Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay. She also serves on the industry advisory board for the University of South Florida Department of Electrical Engineering. She is a member of the IT Advisory Committee for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the board of trustees for Ultimate Medical Academy, the EnergySec advisory board and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Devin White's Get Live 45 Foundation. She previously served on the board of Tallahassee-based Municode, the nation's leading codifier of local government ordinances that helps municipalities become more consumer-friendly in the digital age. She is past chair of the board of the Hillsborough Community College Foundation.
Vice President Legal, General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
David M. Nicholson is vice president of Legal, general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer. He is responsible for legal affairs, federal governmental affairs, real estate and ethics and compliance.
Prior to joining TECO in 1999, Nicholson was a shareholder at the Tampa law firm of Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen. While at the firm, he represented Peoples Gas before it was acquired by TECO in 1997.
Nicholson received his Bachelor of Science and graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law. Upon graduation, he was inducted into the Order of the Coif. While in law school he also attended the University of Glasgow, Scotland, for a year on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Nicholson serves on the board of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation, where he is past president. He also serves on the boards of the Tampa Bay History Center and the University Club of Tampa.
Vice President, Operations, Sustainability and External Affairs
Timothy O'Connor is vice president of operations, sustainability and external affairs for Peoples Gas. He is responsible for operations in the company's 14 service areas, as well as leading the development and communication of Peoples Gas' sustainability actions.
Since joining Emera in 2006, O'Connor has served in roles of increasing responsibility, including in accounting, strategy and business development at Emera Maine, Emera Energy and Emera Inc. Most recently, O'Connor was vice president, Business Development for Peoples Gas.
O'Connor earned his bachelor's degree in both finance and economics from New York University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Fordham University.
Vice President of Finance & Planning
Rachel Parsons is Vice President of Finance & Planning for Peoples Gas.
Parsons joined TECO in 2006, and has been with the Peoples Gas finance team since 2016. She most recently served as the Director of Business Planning, where she was responsible for annual budgeting and forecasting, long-term forecasting, and financial analysis.
Prior to her time at Peoples Gas, Parsons served in various roles at TECO Energy focusing on strategic & financial analysis, regulatory accounting, and financial reporting, including Manager of Business Strategy, and the Finance, Change Management and Communication Lead for the company's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) project. She began her career in utilities as a budget analyst with Seminole Electric Cooperative.
Parsons is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy from the University of South Florida.
Vice President Human Resources
Gail Perez is Vice President of Human Resources for Peoples Gas.
Perez joined People Gas as Senior Director, Human Resources in early 2020, and brings over 20 years of Human Resources experience. She served as Vice President of Human Resources for thyssenkrupp Elevator as a partner to the President of Manufacturing and Chief Finance Officer, leading the Americas Manufacturing division. In partnership with the President and Executives, Perez lead and supported the Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Initiative, which was the first I&D effort for the company.
Prior to working for thyssenkrupp Elevator, Perez served as Senior Director, Human Resources for BCD Travel where she supported the executive leaders for North America (U.S. and Canada). During this time, she developed and implemented an HR Business Partner model in the U.S. After successful implementation, Perez was tasked with developing, implementing and leading the model globally and was awarded the Circle of Excellence award for her efforts. Prior to BCD Travel, she served as Manager of Global Talent Management for Schneider Electric where she had responsibility for leading talent initiatives including global succession, inclusion and diversity, development and retention efforts.
Perez holds a Master of Business Administration and a bachelor's degree in social work.
Vice President of Strategy
Christian Richard is vice president of Strategy for Peoples Gas.
Richard began his career at Emera in 2013 as general manager of Emera New Brunswick, where he had responsibility for Brunswick Pipeline Co. and Emera's interest in Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. In his most recent role at Emera, he served as vice president of Special Projects and was responsible for tidal energy and Emera's interest in Cape Sharp Tidal Venture.
Prior to joining Emera, Richard worked for New Brunswick Power in strategic planning, strategy execution and process and productivity improvement.
He received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from University of New Brunswick and his master's degree in Business Administration and Management from l'Université de Moncton. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Richard previously served as vice president and treasurer on the board of the New Brunswick SPCA, the Saint John Business Anti-Poverty Initiative and on regional economic development boards, such as the Atlantica Center for Energy and the Enterprise Saint John Regional Oversight Committee. He currently serves as treasurer/manager for his children's hockey teams.
Vice President of Business Development
Lew Rutkin is vice president of Business Development for TECO Peoples Gas. He is responsible for developing and implementing business activities to reach unserved areas of Florida, expand the system to new customers, and to integrate long-term system resource requirements with new customer growth.
Rutkin joined Peoples Gas in 2019 as director, Business Development. Prior to his role at Peoples Gas, he worked for Enbridge and Spectra Energy in Business Development, served as a Senior Asset Trader with Entegra Power Group, and was a Senior Risk Analyst with TECO Energy. He has served in roles of increasing responsibility including developing and growing customer relationships, strategic decision making, and managing and developing personnel.
Rutkin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics with a minor in Business Administration from the University of South Florida.
David E. Schwartz
Vice President Governance, Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
David Schwartz is responsible for corporate governance and administration at TECO Energy and all its subsidiaries, including Tampa Electric Co. He also serves as corporate secretary for several other Emera subsidiaries with independent board members, including New Mexico Gas, Grand Bahama Power, Barbados Light and Power and Emera Technologies.
Schwartz received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining TECO, he was an associate with the law firm of Baker Botts in Houston.
Schwartz serves on the Impact Board of Synapse Florida and the advisory committees of the Society for Corporate Governance's Southeastern Chapter and the Florida Directors' Institute. He was a member of the board and executive committee for the Tampa Theatre and led its Leadership Development Committee for several years. He has also served as president of the Association of Corporate Counsel's West Central Florida Chapter and as chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Section.
Vice President Customer Experience
Karen Sparkman is vice president of Customer Experience for both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas.
She joined the company in June 2017 as director of Customer Experience Operations at Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas and has played a key role in the transformation of the broader Customer Experience organization across Contact Centers, Customer Billing, Credit & Collections and Payment Operations partnering with IT, Electric Delivery and Regulatory senior leadership teams to optimize business process integration on priorities such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions and Customer Relationship & Billing (CRB) system utilization and improvements.
Before joining TECO, Sparkman was a Customer Experience leader at Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) in Everett, Wash., and prior to worked at Colorado Springs Utilities. She has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and a master's degree in business administration from Colorado Technical University.
Vice President, Strategic Growth, Engineering and Construction
Rick Wall is the vice president of Strategic Growth, Engineering and Construction for TECO Peoples Gas System, where he is responsible for the utility's natural gas distribution and transmission operations across its 14 operating divisions. The company's natural gas systems encompass approximately 19,000 miles of mains and services and 220 miles of transmission lines that provide natural gas service to more than 400,000 customers in most of the metropolitan areas of Florida.
With nearly four decades of natural gas utility experience, Wall joined Peoples Gas in 2005 as general manager of the South Region. He served as director of the East Region, and later as director of Gas Operations before being promoted to vice president of Engineering and Operations.
Wall is past president and serves on the board of the Florida Natural Gas Association. He is currently an active member of the Southern Gas Association executive committee, and a Tampa General Hospital Foundation board member, a former managing committee chairman of the Distribution Operations and Engineering Section of the Southern Gas Association, the Energy Codes and Standards committee of the American Gas Association (AGA), the Dade County Construction Licensing Board and former technical advisor at the Gas Research Institute.
Joann T. Wehle
Vice President Marketing and Sales
Joann T. Wehle is vice president of Marketing and Sales for TECO Peoples Gas. She is responsible for the company's sales and marketing, including growth of the company's customer base.
Since joining TECO in 1990, Wehle has served in roles of increasing responsibility in the Audit Services, Marketing, Fuels Management, Energy Conservation, and New Construction departments. Most recently, Wehle was director of Marketing and Fuel Planning for Peoples Gas.
Wehle holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., and completed graduate coursework in accounting at the University of Florida. Wehle maintains her CPA license in Florida and held a variety of accounting and auditing jobs earlier in her career.