DELANO, MN As longtime Delano Municipal Utilities General Manager Hal Becker retires, a familiar face will lead the local utility until a new general manager is hired.
The Delano Water, Light, and Power Commission, which oversees DMU, offered the interim position to Paul Twite during an Oct. 12 meeting, and staff was notified Wednesday morning.
Twite has worked for DMU for eight years. Before being named interim general manager, his title was manager of operations and conservation.
“Our challenge has been we haven’t found the right qualified candidate that we want to take over the reins,” commission chairman Jonathan Ness said. “We see you as having the skill set to be able to help guide the team and lead us through the interim stages until we find someone that best fits the needs.”
When commissioner Betsy Stolfa asked Twite if he had ever supervised employees, he spoke of his time in the airline industry.
“I ran maintenance crews: mechanical, electrical, and different trades like pipe fitters,” Twite said. “I had at one time about 400 trades people, and I was the guy that did the scheduling and forecasting, looking ahead to make sure we had an inventory of materials and budgeted for it. There was a lot of out-in-the-field supervision.”
As manager of operations and conservation, Twite has worked with other entities. When asked if such work could interfere with being interim general manager, he noted that much of the work is seasonal and is coming to a close.
“I don’t see it being an issue by any stretch of the imagination,” Twite said. “ . . . The priority is the utility . . . I don’t see there being any conflict or it affecting my ability to fill in.”
Twite is currently working toward a Master of Business Administration degree in energy policy.
He said he is comfortable with DMU’s three basic financial statements, but would also like more training from Becker and Finance Director Chris Hart.
In addition to offering the position to Twite, the commission has also approved Becker to work up to 96 additional hours on an as-needed basis.
“If it was under any other conditions, I wouldn’t do it because I want to retire,” Becker said.
Becker’s help will especially come in handy at the end of the year, Twite said.
“At the end of the year, there’s a lot of federal filings we have to do,” Twite said. “Historically, Hal has taken care of all that. From a procedural standpoint, I’m going to need him to look over my shoulder.”
The technical side of the job is familiar to Twite, who said he is also comfortable with budgeting and forecasting.
“That’s good, because it’s coming up really fast,” commissioner Adam Steffl said.
Twite asked the commission to help him identify the mission and vision of the utility.
“What’s the next big target?” Twite asked. “Help me identify it and work with me. I’d invite you to have a working relationship, roll up our sleeves, and let’s look at the next big project.”
“As much as we need to help you identify the vision, I think you can also help us frame that vision,” Stolfa said, noting that each commissioner has a different point of view and priorities.
Twite thanked the commission for the opportunity to lead the utility.
“I just want to thank you for thinking of me and having some faith and trust that I won’t drop the ball,” Twite said.