What it’s like to be a CEO/General Manager
In many organizations a CEO, Chief Executive Officer, and a General Manager are two different positions, even though they share a lot of the same responsibilities. At Clark Public Utilities we have combined the duties of these roles into one person’s responsibility.
The CEO is Clark Public Utilities highest ranking employee and can be hired into the position or promoted from within. They are the leader and highly visible to the public and employees. They model the utilities expectations, culture, values and goals of the utility.
Some of the tasks the CEO is responsible for is making high level decisions for Clark Public Utilities. They make decision by looking at long-term goals and developing measures that help build success or address areas of need. The success of the utility is every employees’ responsibility, but the CEO takes the heat when things don’t go as planned.
Another important responsibility is communication. They keep lines of communication open between all employees and with the public. The CEO is also required to report on the utilities’ status to the board of Commissioners. The Commissioners are the CEO’s boss.
Both a general manager and a CEO position within a company require a college degree. The degrees can be in fields like business, administration, economics, communications, or others. Some general managers and CEOs may have master’s degrees in Business Administration or other specific industry degrees. Both positions are usually filled by people with industry experience – it helps to lead when you know the job responsibilities of those you are leading.
Clark Public Utilities current CEO/General Manger is Lena Wittler. Lena Wittler is a 20-year veteran of the utility industry, having served in a variety of finance, human resources, and communications roles, most recently as the Director of Communications and Employee Resources, overseeing all communications, public affairs, utility-wide research and analytics, human resources and loss control. She was named CEO and General Manager in June of 2019.
She holds a B.A. from Willamette University and an M.B.A. from the University of Portland and prior to her work with the utility she worked in education and judicial support.
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