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The Vermont Electric Power Company Inc. (VELCO), which operates the state’s high-voltage electric grid, has appointed John Donleavy ’78 as chief executive officer.

A mechanical engineering graduate, Donleavy moved to Dorset, Vt., with his wife, Mary Ella, and their two daughters and began working at VELCO in September as chief operating officer. He began his new position in January.

Donleavy heads a team of engineers, planners, system operators, line workers, and support staff responsible for delivering the electricity that powers Vermont.

It’s an exciting time for the firm, which was organized in 1956 as the first transmission-only electric utility in the United States, he says.

“It’s a period of very rapid growth and great change for VELCO,” Donleavy says. “Over the next few years we plan to design, permit, and construct several transmission line projects totaling more than $250 million.”

The projects are needed, he says, to position Vermont for the 21st century and ensure reliable electric service now and into the future.

“Our challenge is to construct these projects in a way that not only prepares the state’s infrastructure for the next generation of Vermonters, but preserves its natural beauty for them as well,” Donleavy says.

He joined VELCO after serving as vice president in charge of Exelon Energy Delivery, a division of Chicago-based Exelon, one of the nation’s largest electric and gas utilities with nearly $15 billion in annual revenues.

Prior to his experience at Exelon, Donleavy worked for 20 years at Public Service Electric and Gas Company, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based energy conglomerate Public Service Enterprise Group. His last position there was director of the company’s largest electric distribution operating division.

“I sincerely believe that the quality of the education I received at Lafayette has had a very positive impact on my career success,” he says.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles