The New York Power Authority has named Jairo Florez as regional manager for Western New York, effective Sept. 5. Florez will be the first Latino American to fill the top executive role overseeing all of the Power Authority’s Western New York operations, including management of the Niagara Power Project, NYPA’s flagship hydroelectric power project in Lewiston.
Florez previously served as the Power Authority’s regional manager for Central New York, overseeing NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project Plant in Schoharie County.
Florez succeeds Daniella Piper, who served as the regional manager of Western New York since 2021 and has now been promoted to serve as the Power Authority’s chief innovation officer.
“Jairo Florez’s experience as an electrical engineer overseeing hydropower electricity generation will be vital to our ongoing modernization and digitization efforts at the Niagara Power Project and help us ensure that we bring our ‘Next Generation Niagara’ program to a successful completion,” NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said. “Jairo’s career path at NYPA is reflective of his ability to implement tactical programs that support the Power Authority’s strategic vision and deliver upon the state’s clean energy goals. Jairo’s leadership will also help us maintain good communications with community members who are vital to our strong and growing relationships in Western New York.”
Florez joined the Power Authority in 2012 as a systems analyst. He has held several positions within the Power Authority’s operations department and supported the Blenheim-Gilboa project through several challenges, including onboarding new Power Authority transmission assets and managing the completion of NYPA’s “Life Extension and Modernization” program for its small hydroelectric plants.
In his new position, he will be responsible for managing the Niagara Power Project’s 15-year, $1.1 billion “Next Generation Niagara” program – what NYPA calls one of its “most ambitious and impactful recent infrastructure endeavors.
“Planned improvements include replacing aging equipment with the latest machinery, reflecting advanced digital technologies for optimizing the hydroelectric project's performance. The digitization and upgrade project will secure the plant’s long-term future as a clean power generator that spurs economic development in Western New York and across the state through its low-cost power allocation programs.”
Florez holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Pace University and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from City College of New York. He was born and raised in Colombia and he and his wife have two children.
New York Power Authority Expands Executive Leadership Team
The New York Power Authority is expanding its executive leadership team to deliver on its clean energy mission, including new goals defined in the 2023-24 enacted state budget, which outlines new legislation providing NYPA with expanded authority to develop, own and operate renewable energy generating projects.
A press release noted, “The Power Authority will be a key driver in assisting New York state in meeting its bold clean energy targets, including producing 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and creating a zero-emission statewide electrical system by 2040.”
Following “a rigorous recruiting process,” Daniella Piper, an internal leader and expert in power systems and digital technology, has been promoted to chief innovation officer. Alexis Harley has been hired as chief risk and resilience officer.
Driscoll said, “In their new roles, Daniella Piper and Alexis Harley will bring experience and new insights to our executive team and our organization as we fulfill our clean energy promise to the people of New York state. The new expanded authority legislation will allow us to further demonstrate the ingenuity and innovation that is part of the Power Authority’s DNA. I am excited to have Daniella and Alexis join my exceptional leadership team as we forge a clean energy path for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
In Piper’s role as chief innovation officer, she will coordinate the Power Authority’s strategic business goals, technology innovation, digitization, research and development efforts so that new technologies are developed, tested, socialized and implemented in support of the state’s clean energy targets.
Piper also will oversee a new enterprise innovation team that will serve as the incubator for new programs and ideas, allowing NYPA to develop and deploy “game-changing technologies and digital solutions that advance its efforts to create a thriving, resilient New York state powered by clean energy.”
Piper has more than 15 years of experience in the energy industry with a long history of success at the Power Authority, most recently serving as Western New York regional manager and chief transformation officer. NYPA stated, “She has been integral to some of the Power Authority’s most trailblazing efforts, such as the successful construction of the Marcy South Series Compensation Project; NYPA’s 10-point diversity, equity and inclusion plan; and NYPA’s first digital transformation office. Through her varied roles, including a previous post as chief of staff, she has developed a broad understanding of the Power Authority and excelled at working collaboratively with employees and external parties.”
In Harley’s role as chief risk and resilience officer, she will set the Power Authority’s strategic risk management and resilience vision; and implement, oversee and monitor all risk management and resilience activities at NYPA. She also will be responsible for determining NYPA’s risk tolerance and instituting associated strategic plans, including oversight of the Power Authority’s sustainability team, which is responsible for the development and implementation of NYPA’s ESG strategy.
Harley has spent her entire career in the energy industry and comes to NYPA from National Grid. NYPA stated, “She has extensive experience designing, implementing and leading enterprise risk management programs to protect people, assets and communities, while preserving value and adapting to new opportunities. With NYPA’s enhanced focus on innovation and its new expanded authority, strong risk and resilience programs will be key to balancing big ideas with thoughtful risk assessment and strategic resiliency plans.”