Kaukauna Utilities (KU) has hired Michael Avanzi as the new general manager for the community’s not-for-profit electric and water utilities. Avanzi will take over the role of current General Manager Jeffery Feldt, who will soon retire after 20 years of service to KU and 40 years in the utility industry.
“We are very pleased to welcome Michael to the community and to our municipally owned utility,” says Kaukauna Utility Commission President Lee Meyerhofer. “While Jeff’s retirement leaves big shoes to fill, we know Michael’s strong leadership, industry expertise and commitment to teamwork will position the Kaukauna Utilities staff for continued success.”
The KU general manager reports to the community’s seven-member utility commission and oversees the municipal utility’s 57 employees.
“I am honored to be the next general manager for Kaukauna Utilities,” Avanzi says. “For nearly 110 years, KU has been providing low-cost, reliable service with a friendly, personal touch. I look forward to working with our committed employees to continue this tradition for generations to come.”
In addition to advising the commission on utility operations and policy decisions, Avanzi will be responsible for fostering a safety-driven staff culture in which employees are empowered for achievement and growth in key areas including safety, reliability, customer service, sound fiscal management and developing technology. The role also requires active involvement in energy policy advocacy, as well as engagement with the general public and fellow utility industry leaders to help protect and promote the interests of KU’s customers and fellow community members.
“I have greatly admired Jeff’s commitment to establishing a work culture in which employees collaborate, support one another, and actively engage for the benefit of the community they serve,” Meyerhofer says. “It was important to our commission that we choose a candidate committed to maintaining and enhancing KU’s highly effective work environment.”
Avanzi, who was selected through an extensive search process, has worked for more than 17 years leading utility engineering and operations activities. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Avanzi currently resides in Colorado where he has served Colorado Springs Utilities for the past five years, most recently as the manager of electric construction and maintenance. Avanzi and his family plan to relocate in October to Kaukauna, where he will take the reins at KU on November 1.
“We are excited to join this amazing community and do our part to help make the Fox Cities the best area to live and work in the United States,” Avanzi says. “We could not think of a better place to be than the ‘Electric City’ of Kaukauna.”
Established by local citizens in 1912, KU is a community-owned and operated electric utility serving 16,000 customers in Kaukauna and several surrounding communities. The utility also provides clean, high-quality water service for customers within the city. While much has changed in the 100-plus years since KU’s founding, the utility’s focus on delivering low-cost, reliable power and excellent local service remains steadfast, and KU still offers its customers some of the lowest electric rates in the state.