NYPA Trustees

NYPA Trustees Profiles: Anne Kress

Following up on the Women in Power profiles, this April we are pleased to feature profiles of several NYPA Trustees. Each NYPA Trustee comes from a unique academic and professional background, as well as a unique part of New York State.

Ms. Kress is the President of Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY and has been named a Woman of Distinction by the New York State Senate.

What part of being a NYPA Trustee do you enjoy the most?

I value the time spent with NYPA staff and fellow trustees, and I especially have valued learning more about the energy sector. The ability to access—without a moment of doubt—ready, safe, and affordable power is something we all take for granted. It is an honor to sit at the NYPA table to work to keep this a reality in our state.

What skills have you taken from your day-to-day career and applied to your work at NYPA?

Any college president today faces a rapidly shifting landscape of higher education: changing demography and markets, increasing expectations and competition, affordability pressures, demands for accountability and documented outcomes, declining resources, and more.

The same skill sets I bring to addressing these challenges, I see the NYPA team bringing to their work in addressing the challenge of change they face. My experience at MCC helps me be an effective trustee. These are, perhaps unsurprisingly, transferable skills!

Has the reverse been true? Have you learned skills at NYPA and taken them back to your day-to-day responsibilities?

As a community college president, I have a responsibility to assure our career and technical programs meet the needs of evolving industry sectors. Watching the energy sector transform from my front row seat on the NYPA Board has reinforced my sense of urgency and accountability in how we address the workforce pipeline and skills gap issues facing our region.

How has your style of leadership evolved over time?

Anyone who works with me would laugh to hear this, but I have become more patient as a leader. Each step in academic administration requires the building of a strong team, put trust in them and get them to trust you, and share responsibility. This takes time and patience, but in the end, the results are so much more impactful and sustained.

As a NYPA Trustee what is the biggest challenge you have faced?

I am fairly new to the Board, so I have not faced any major challenges yet. That said, through one board meeting, I did have a horrible cold and went through almost a whole box of tissues on live video stream. Not my most attractive moment.

How do you see NYPA changing over the next 10 years? The next 25?

The energy sector is changing because of big data, competition for talent, resources, weather shifts and cybersecurity. The last major investments in the infrastructure that supports NYPA were made decades ago, very much mirroring the overall issues facing infrastructure throughout New York and our nation. To me, the changes in the next two decades will focus on how we become, on the one hand, nimble enough to meet our challenges, and on the other, stable and sturdy enough to build the infrastructure required for the next century.

Working in the energy sector, what aspect has been the biggest eye-opener for you?

I have had the chance to do a site visit since joining the board and was so impressed by the dedication of the men and women who work everyday to assure our power is safe and secure. These are individuals who are so often (too often) invisible to us, and their justifiable pride in their work and profession is contagious.

How does your home county give you a unique perspective when working as a NYPA Trustee?

Monroe County has the City of Rochester as its center, but it is equally suburban and even rural. With a past dominated by giants like Kodak and Xerox, it has become home to thousands of medium to small businesses. In many ways, it is a microcosm of the businesses NYPA serves throughout New York and illustrates our mission.

As I watch Monroe County become a regional force in industry sectors like advanced manufacturing and optics, I am especially mindful of the central role NYPA places in growing economic opportunity through low cost power. I also value our community’s longstanding commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, both of which are reflected in NYPA’s past and future.

If you could choose just one facet of NYPA for the public to be aware of, what would it be?

I would go back to my visit to Marcy as well as to my regular work with the staff in White Plains: the talents of these individuals power NYPA. Their understanding of the responsibility they hold and their pride and integrity in their work is something that benefits us all.

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NYPA Trustees

NYPA Trustees Profiles: Terrance P. Flynn

Following up on the Women’s History Profiles, this April we are pleased to feature profiles of several NYPA Trustees. Each NYPA Trustee comes from a unique academic and professional background, as well as a unique part of New York State.

Mr. Flynn, the former presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, is a member of the firm of Harris Beach. He is Co-Leader of the firm’s Government Compliance and Investigation Practice Group and also specializes in business and commercial litigation, insurance litigation, product liability and e-discovery.

What do you enjoy the most about being a NYPA trustee?

I especially enjoy meeting and working with our employees throughout the Authority. I can still remember my first visits to our various facilities as well as to our White Plains office. One can truly experience the overall breadth and diversity of our top-notch team by spending time with everyone in our various facilities. I always come away from such statewide visits with such pride in our NYPA Team.

What skills have you taken from your day-to-day career and applied to your work at NYPA?

As a lawyer and the former US Attorney for the Western District of New York, I try to share my experiences from both a legal and managerial perspective in a way that supports NYPA’s public mission.

Has the reverse been true? Have you learned skills at NYPA and taken them back to your day-to-day responsibilities?

Yes. The various employees at NYPA have fostered in me a desire to constantly challenge myself to learn new things! NYPA is constantly looking for new ways to create clean energy to support our role as leaders in providing clean and cost effective power. Such a goal requires you to challenge yourself daily to work together in a team environment, identifying new and innovative ways to reach that goal. As a result, my time at NYPA has helped me to further develop my team-oriented skills.

How has your style of leadership evolved over time?

As a leader, I have realized that it is extremely important to always listen before making decisions. However, listening is one of those skills that you can always improve upon! So I constantly listen to as many people as possible in order to make a proper decision.

As a NYPA Trustee what is the biggest challenge you have faced?

Like everyone, I have multiple responsibilities in my life. As a full time practicing lawyer at Harris Beach, I have to constantly balance my responsibilities to my clients and law firm colleagues with my obligations as a NYPA Trustee.

How do you see NYPA changing over the next 10 years? The next 25?

First and foremost, we must maintain the integrity of our various power generating facilities. To reach that goal, I believe NYPA will continue to look for innovative ways to properly extend the life span of our main facilities.

Working in the energy sector, what aspect has been the biggest eye-opener for you?

I am amazed by the vast number and variety of people in both the public and private sectors who are very interested in NYPA and what we are doing on a daily basis.

How does your home county give you a unique perspective when working as a NYPA Trustee?

As a citizen of Western New York, I have a very unique perspective in light of our history. The Robert Moses/Lewiston Generation Plants are one of the premier assets in Western New York from both a historical and public service perspective. I was fortunate to know growing up in Mount Morris one of the men who built the plants over 50 years ago, Arnold Hamby. He was kind enough to share with me his experiences and memories of those days.

When you take a minute to think how those individuals dedicated their lives to building something which had never been done before on such a large scale, you cannot help but be very proud of their work. Arnold Hamby, like so many others of his generation, are no longer with us on this earth, yet their accomplishments in building those Plants are here to stay! I therefore believe strongly that it is mine as well as all the NYPA employees and other Trustees’ responsibility to protect and preserve all of our assets!

If you could choose just one facet of NYPA for the public to be aware of, what would it be?

I think it is important for the public to learn about our individual team members working at the many NYPA locations. Our employees truly care about each of our facilities and we need to let the public see how much they care!

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NYPA Trustees

NYPA Trustees Profiles: Jonathan F. Foster

Following up on the Women’s History Profiles, this April we are pleased to feature profiles of several NYPA Trustees. Each NYPA Trustee comes from a unique academic and professional background, as well as a unique part of New York State.

Our first profile features Trustee Jonathan F. Foster of New York City. Trustee Foster joined the NYPA Board in 2008; he is an investment banker and private equity investor.

What skills have you taken from your day-to-day career and applied to your work at NYPA?

I am an experienced corporate director in the private sector, having served and continuing to serve on the boards of publicly traded and privately owned companies in a variety of sizes and across a number of sectors.

In the private sector, maximizing value for shareholders is typically the primary consideration, although directors need to be sensitive to the employees, communities and other parties. I have taken this principal focus on maximizing shareholder value and tried to apply it appropriately at the Power Authority.

Our mission is to “power the economic growth and competitiveness of New York State by providing customers with low-cost, clean, reliable power and the innovative energy infrastructure and services they value.” This indicates the many objectives and constituencies we have at NYPA from supporting economic growth in Western New York to providing valuable, cost efficient power across the state.

How do you see NYPA changing over the next 10 years? The next 25?

While energy usage, in general, has slowed, given more efforts on conservation and a modestly growing economy after the “Great Recession,” and prices have tumbled given increasing oil and gas supplies in North America, energy remains critical to our economy and lifestyle.

Periodically, there are “energy shocks.” So, it is hard to see how NYPA may change over the next decade or more. What is critical is that we continue to anticipate the state’s energy needs and be helpful in times of particular need.

All NYPA Trustees come from different counties. How do you feel living in New York City impacts your perspective?

I live and work in Manhattan. While our major hydro facilities are in the North Country and Western New York, NYPA is important in New York City, too. NYPA was established as an Authority in the 1930s by then Governor Franklin Roosevelt to serve all New Yorkers. Although most of the generation is upstate, thanks in part to NYPA’s some 1,400 miles of transmission lines, much of the power used by New York City government entities every day is generated and transported by NYPA.

My involvement in the investment business and the vibrant finance community in New York City where I live give me a valuable perspective on and pride in NYPA’s enviable financial performance and credit rating.

If you could choose just one facet of NYPA for the public to be aware of, what would it be?

It is the largest state utility in the country with some of the world’s largest, lowest cost hydro facilities, a valuable renewable energy source – yet it is very focused on economic development as well.

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