Turlock Irrigation District General Manager Larry Weis announced Thursday he will leave the district to become general manager of Austin Energy in Austin, Texas.
Weis has led TID for the past 10 years. His final day with the district will be Aug. 31.
“The district has seen a decade of growth and development under Larry’s leadership, and he will be missed,” said Rob Santos, TID District 4 director and board president.
In his new post, which he will assume Sept. 27, Weis will be tasked with overseeing a utility serving more than 900,000 residents with a $1.3 billion budget – up from TID’s 600,000 residents and $460 million budget.Weis was chosen for the position following a competitive process where he bested David Wright, general manager of Riverside Public Utilities. Both candidates journeyed to Austin in June for a set of public interviews, and last week Austin city staff visited Turlock to interview business leaders, environmental advocates, staff members and TID Board members.
"It was the unanimous feeling of the group that Larry is not only qualified to lead Austin Energy, but is an ideal candidate to lead the utility through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. He clearly has the heart, passion and intellect to honor and foster the innovative spirit that has come to define Austin Energy," said Austin City Manager Marc Ott.
Ott went on to credit Weis for his creative, innovative thinking, transparent and open governing style, and “track record of embracing challenges.”
Austin Energy faces a pressing challenge in sourcing more energy from renewable resources. While the utility hopes to provide 35 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020, currently only 10 percent of its electricity currently comes from such sources.Austin Energy also will undergo a rate study in the coming year, the first such review for the utility in 16 years.
Weis was selected, in part, due to his successes in sourcing 28 percent of TID’s energy from renewable resources while maintaining some of the lowest electricity rates in the state, according to an Austin Energy press release.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to lead a utility that's so well-known as a leader and innovator in our field. Beyond that, I’m excited to become a part of a community that's proven to be so highly passionate and engaged about the work that we do," Weis said. "I've been impressed with the city leaders I've met, and believe that — as the Austin community gets to know me — they'll be assured that Austin Energy is in good hands."
Weis will earn an annual salary of $285,000 in his new position, up from his current pay of $277,188 with a $100 per month phone allowance and $700 per month vehicle allowance.The TID Board of Directors will discuss the appointment of an interim general manager to assume Weis’ duties at their regularly scheduled 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting at the TID office, 333 E. Canal Dr.To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.