Gary Stockbridge: President of Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric
Gary Stockbridge has been working in the energy sector since the moment he graduated from Drexel University in his home city of Philadelphia.
After time in the electric and natural gas markets, he found his niche in retail activity and moved to Delaware in 1997 to lead then-Connectiv’s efforts in the state. After a series of corporate acquisitions and mergers, Stockbridge was named vice president of customer care and remained in that position until 2005 when he was named president of Delmarva Power.
Delaware’s only publicly regulated electric utility had survived a difficult stretch following problematic billing system upgrades tied to Y2K concerns. Stockbridge partnered Delmarva with IBM to turn around its systems, a move he credits with “starting our recovery with our customers.”
Since then, Stockbridge has led numerous campaigns to protect infrastructure, increase reliability and resolve customer issues, leading to record customer satisfaction and greatly improved local reputation. In 2019, Delmarva received the highest residential electric customer satisfaction score in its segment in the annual J.D. Power survey.
“Our customers really ask for two things: Keep our price reasonable and keep the lights on and gas flowing. And if the supply goes out, get it back on as quickly as you can,” Stockbridge said.
Delmarva’s reputation doesn’t just come from its utility work though, as its “culture of service” also contributes to the public opinion.
“We’re interested in more than just keeping the lights on, we want to be a part of what the community needs,” Stockbridge said. “We’ve got a lot of coaches of local youth sports teams, and a lot of people on nonprofit boards.”
That culture is led by the man at the top, with Stockbridge well-known in Delaware for his lifetime of service to nonprofits, including the Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB), the Kingswood Community Center, United Way, Junior Achievement, the Vision Coalition, and the state chamber and Delaware Business Roundtable, among others.
Of his many charges, Stockbridge said that his time at Kingswood and the DWDB stand out in his mind. The former because he led the board for about a decade through tumultuous times long before it was absorbed into the WRK Group, seeing firsthand the impact that such community centers have on Wilmington’s neighborhoods, and the latter because of seeing the impact that job attainment can have on people in the state, especially amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Stockbridge, who will be retiring at the end of 2020, that life of service to the community likely won’t be coming to an end. He plans to take some time off with family after 37 years in a 24/7 industry, but he also wants to identify a cause that he and his wife can contribute to together – likely as hands-on volunteers rather than board members though.
He credits the Milestone Award honor to his team and the support of Delmarva’s parent company, Exelon.
“Awards like this don’t come unless you have a good company you’re working for. You can’t be an outstanding individual in a bad company,” he said. “And if I didn’t have an awesome team back at the office, I couldn’t do half the stuff I do in the community.”