Vice President Engineering and Operations

Festival Hydro Inc.
Stratford, Ontario

Posted On: September 13, 2021
Last Day to Apply: September 30, 2021

Vice President Engineering and Operations


Festival Hydro is a distribution company serving 21,000 customers in seven municipalities in Stratford and surrounding areas. We are a progressive utility looking for an incumbent that supports our ongoing commitment to customer and operational excellence. 

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Vice President, Engineering and Operations is responsible for providing leadership and setting the overall direction of the Engineering, Operations, Metering/Stations and Procurement/Facilities departments for the organization. This position works as part of the Executive Leadership team to develop and implement goals, objectives, and strategies, and leads each of the departments to implement projects that align with the strategic plan. The Vice President also manages the assets, including the electrical distribution system, related equipment, and personnel, to ensure the accurate measurement and delivery of electricity to our customers in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner. 

Primary Duties and Responsibilities 

Strategic Direction

  • Develop strategic direction for the long-term sustainability of a high quality, highly reliable and cost competitive electric distribution grid. Drive efficient utilization of construction and operation equipment, methods, and techniques.
  • Ensure the Engineering, Operations, Metering/Stations and Procurement/Facilities departments are productive, efficient, and effectively meet their goals and objectives.
  • Prepare long range construction and growth forecasts. Establish and manage the budgeting process for areas of responsibility which includes producing the 1-year and 5-year capital budgets for board approval, and the financial management of the OM&A budget for the applicable departments.
  • Monitor and take action to ensure that proper resources are allocated to Construction and Maintenance to meet service goals.
  • Responsible for creating the Distribution System Plan for the OEB rate filing process which combines the asset management plan capital expenditure process, green energy plan, and the smart grid plan into a single document that outlines priorities for capital investments over a 5-year period.
  • Serve as a member of the Executive team and offer recommendations for the improvement of the areas of responsibility.
  • Attend meetings and make presentations and recommendations to the Board of Directors. 

System Reliability

  • Monitor performance of the distribution system reliability measures. Ensure it is properly maintained and is operating in accordance with good practices. Develop recommendations and suggestions for the improvement of distribution grid and reliability performance.
  • Establish, maintain, and review a system of internal controls, reports and processes that deliver safe and efficient energy distribution.
  • Develop plans for the electrical distribution system to ensure the long-term sustainability of a high quality, highly reliable and cost-competitive electric distribution grid.
  • Champion, identify, and ensure implementation of effective technology solutions such as work management systems and call-out procedures.
  • Direct the maintenance of system records for outages, inventory, mapping, major system device and pole related information.
  • Direct the vegetation management program to deliver safe and reliable electrical service.
  • Maintain an updated Emergency Preparedness Plan to handle reasonably expected upset conditions (major power outages), participate with municipal Emergency Control Groups, anticipate resource requirements, and have arrangements in place to acquire assistance when needed. 

Team Leadership

  • Lead the Engineering, Operations, Metering/Stations and Procurement/Facilities teams to deliver service in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Ensure development plans, training plans and organizational alignment of the teams.
  • Ensure Managers are effectively managing their teams and responsible for required recruitment and selection.
  • Build and improve department efficiency and effectiveness utilizing regular employee meetings and performance evaluation.
  • Through ongoing communication, champion the organizational core values.
  • Lead effort to administer union agreements to maximize productivity and employee engagement. Make proactive suggestions and maintain a good relationship with union stewards and business representatives.
  • Maintain an effective succession plan and identify positions that require backup. Review costs associated with maintaining specific skill sets in house vs. sourcing from external providers such as contractors or other utilities. 

Safety and Compliance

  • Champion, build and maintain a strong safety culture for the organization.
  • Provide equipment, training, and direction to employees to allow them to perform their duties in a safe manner.
  • Ensure compliance with Federal, Provincial, and local safety regulations and requirements.
  • Audit workplace and construction site inspections on a regular basis to ensure compliance with company policies and external regulations (such as IHSA / E&USA - Electric & Utilities Safety Association, OHSA - Occupational Health & Safety Association, Ministry of Labour).
  • Oversee the purchase, maintenance and performance of all fleet vehicles and related fleet equipment to ensure the safety of employees. 


  • Degree in electrical engineering (power systems, high voltage theory).
  • Degree in business or finance, or equivalent professional designation a definite asset.
  • Minimum 8 years in a leadership, managerial position with progressive responsibility for directing the work of others, plus basic knowledge of Human Resource policies and practices in a unionized environment.
  • Minimum 10 years experience in electric utility distribution engineering (overhead & underground line design, substation design, residential/industrial/commercial servicing, metering, overcurrent & overvoltage protection coordination, joint use facilities, construction & material standards – utility specific & industry standards).
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in electric utility operations (safe work practices, outage management, vehicle & equipment utilization, inventory management, contract administration).
  • Understanding of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, Electric & Utilities Association Safe Work Practices, Highway Traffic Act, Ministry of Environment, Canadian Electrical Code (Ontario Edition), Canadian Standards Association & Canadian Electrical Association, Ontario Energy Board.
  • Excellent project management skillset, including the ability to manage multiple projects.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; ability to communicate effectively, both internally and with the general public.
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite. 

Interested candidates may apply by emailing their resume and cover letter to by September 30, 2021. Please reference “Vice President Engineering and Operations” in the subject line. 

We thank all applicants for their interest but advise only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Accommodations are available during all aspects of the recruitment process. Applicants contacted by Human Resources for an interview are asked to make their needs known in advance.

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