James A. Grasso
• 15 Bridle Trail Road • Needham, Massachusetts 02492 • (781) 455-0226
- Substantive energy industry knowledge including natural gas, oil, electric, oil, and renewable “green” power with a focus on natural gas and oil.
- Demonstrated strong, executive and strategic management leadership skills with responsibility and accountability for multiple internal and external corporate partners, substantial multi-million dollar budgets, personnel, and managing and directing outside vendors.
- Over 30 years’ experience in senior level management, negotiating contracts, government affairs, corporate communications, and investor relations positions initiating, developing, and managing strategies and actions for internal and external audiences including federal, state, and local regulatory and elected officials as well as the news media and industry analysts.
- Served as the senior management and communication strategist and sole external spokesperson for a $3 billion international energy consortium, a $1 billion natural gas corporation, a $720 million LNG project, and a $350 million energy corporation which included daily interaction with the national / international news media, government officials, and the analyst community.
- Fourteen-years total responsibility for 97 percent success rate directing and managing attorneys and right-of-way personnel to obtain fee and easement acquisition of pipeline rights-of-way throughout the seven state operating area of New England, New York, and New Jersey for the 2,000+ mile Algonquin Gas Transmission Company system.
- Continuous experience providing training, strategy, counsel and guidance to CEOs, senior management, and corporate board members including preparation of senior management to interact with local, regional, national, and international top-level governmental policy decision makers as well as with the news media and industry analysts.
- Extensive Lobbying experience on the federal, state, and local levels with a focus on the Northeast
- U S including personal relationships with staff and members of the US Congress and the Northeast state’s executive and legislative branches of government.
- Extraordinary success expediting and obtaining difficult permits utilizing personal relationships in the legislative, regulatory, and executive branches of the local, state, and federal government.
- Fourteen-years teaching experience at Boston University College of Communication including graduate courses in lobbying, public relations, corporate communication, and crisis management.
- Exceptional written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills resulting in the establishment of relationships with all segments of the energy industry and policy-making community. Responsible for conveying complex, technical messages into simple, understandable language resulting in successful advocacy on behalf of my past organizations’ business interests.
President & CEO
2001 - Present
Southern Union Company – New England Division
Vice President – Public and Government Affairs
Providence Energy Corporation
Vice President - Public, Government Affairs and Investor Relations
Vice President - Public and Government Affairs
1998 - 2001
1997 - 1998
Providence Gas Company
Vice President - Public and Government Affairs and Assistant Secretary
1997 - 2001
Director - Public and Government Relations - Eastern Region
1994 - 1997
Algonquin Gas Transmission Company
Manager - Land, Public and Government Relations
- Sole representative and liaison for Mobil, Shell, PanEnergy, and Westcoast Energy to governors, senior state officials, public utility commissions, news media and external parties for $3 billion dollar international pipeline project. Along with the Richard Morel, CEO, negotiated price and volumes to be exported and imported of this project with John Buchanan, Premier of Nova Scotia. Other responsibilities included acting as sole corporate spokesperson; executive branch level, public utility commissions, and news media project briefings with weekly contact and follow-up, and competition damage control with the goal of enlisting governor, legislative, regulatory and news media support for the project which were successful. Project was completed with accolades and several “Excellent Corporate Citizen/ Environmental” awards given to the consortium.
- Selected by CEO Jim Dodge and the ProvEnergy Board of Directors as the sole executive for directing, managing, and ensuring the merger between ProvEnergy and Southern Union succeed. Responsible and accountable for all executive functions of both companies via all executive direct reports as well as external lawyers and financial advisors. The merger successfully closed with stockholders gaining $42/share.
- Totally responsible for all land acquisition and easements for all pipeline expansion projects and ancillary land requirements for Algonquin Gas Transmission Company which included rewriting the easements to obtain multiple line rights. Prior to my joining the Land Department, they were seeking “single-line” rights. This one change enabled the Company to parallel its pipeline system without obtaining new easements thereby saving money and construction time.
- Chief Public Affairs and Political Relations Consultant for $720 million HESS Corporation Weaver’s Cove LNG import project slated for Fall River, MA. Responsibilities were focused on acting as chief corporate spokesperson and lobbying /communicating with local, state, and federal officials to enlist support for the project as well as attempting negotiating supply, and benefits to the city. Pitched and secured a front page, top-of-the-fold Wall Street Journal article regarding the project.
- Responsible for the successful conversion of The Braintree Electric Light Department plant to natural gas which included negotiation, implementation, and installation of a new gas lateral through Braintree, MA. Used knowledge of the electric industry to assist Braintree Electric by lobbying and using interpersonal skills on its behalf to enlist approval from Massachusetts regulators and local municipalities thereby enabling Braintree Electric to realize an immediate yearly $12 million cost savings.
- Developed foundation public relations and governmental affairs plans for the Neptune Regional Transmission System, LLC “Neptune Project”, a 65-mile undersea and underground high voltage direct current transmission line that extends under water and underground from Sayreville, New Jersey to Nassau County on Long Island. Neptune provides up to 660 MW of power to Long Island electricity consumers and supplies more than 20 percent of Long Island’s typical electricity demand. Neptune began construction in June 2005 and was completed in June 2007, on budget and ahead of schedule.
- Increased shareholder value by initiating, developing, and implementing strategies to enhance the investment attractiveness and reputation of the ProvEnergy Corporation, which resulted in the addition of two new analysts covering ProvEnergy within the first year. Also supervised and directed the activities which led to the Corporation’s first award winning annual report.
- Initiated and secured passage of legislation granting exclusively to ProvGas the right of eminent domain in one legislative session. After 150 years in business, this was the first attempt to secure the power of eminent domain and would have saved the company $ 3 million on one past project alone if it had been proposed and granted previously
- Responsible for the successful siting of an LNG facility on the Navy base located in Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island which entailed developing and implementing strategies and actions to gain approval of the local municipalities, the state Energy Facilities Siting Board, the US EPA, The United States Deputy Secretary of the Navy, and The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
- As a member of the New England Council Energy Committee, we began work on “The New England Council Energy Report – The Electric Power Industry”. This report is still in draft form and focuses only on the electric power industry. With committee members approval, this will hopefully turn into a series of reports focusing on different energy industry sectors, i.e. oil, natural gas, renewables, etc. similar to the Council’s “LNG Report” written and disseminated nearly two-decades ago.
- As Board Member of the New England Council, I inspired, conceptualized, and assisted writing a special report entitled “Liquefied Natural Gas – LNG in New England”. When it was published and disseminated, the report enabled the LNG industry to continue operating without unnecessary and expensive operations modifications. The report was unveiled at a news conference in Washington, DC, by several members of the New England delegation including US Congressman Ed Markey, the Dean of both the Massachusetts and New England House delegations who has made energy policy his top priority. With a Member of Congress from each New England present, the news conference and report was successfully covered in all of the New England states in positive news stories.
- Solely negotiated the deregulation of ProvGas’ Appliance Service requirement with Rhode Island Department of Public Utilities Commissioners, which enabled the company to immediately transform a $1 million money losing operation into an income generating profit center.
- One of three key senior executives responsible for the formation of regulatory strategy and the communication to convince the RI Department of Public Utilities Commission and the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to find in favor of ProvGas regarding the Energize RI miscalculation, thereby saving the Company $12 million. Solely communicated and lobbied the commissioners and the administrator.
- Directed all public and governmental relations activities relating to the world’s largest PCB spill which covered one and one-half miles of two towns in Massachusetts. Received no negative news media coverage and prevented punitive legislative action against the company thereby saving millions of dollars in potential lawsuits and damages.
- Prevented the closing of the Algonquin’s multi-million dollar LNG plant by successfully defeating state legislation each year for five successive years. One year’s lobbying effort alone included convincing the governor to veto one of three study bills while working to defeat the remaining two bills in committee.
- Expedited and acquired environmental permits for Algonquin through political contacts for a $4 million project in Connecticut which the Environmental Section could not obtain in a timely manner, thereby saving the project.
Boston University School of Public Communication
Master of Science in Public Relations
Boston University School of Public Communication
Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in Public Communication
Board of Directors – Past and Present
- The New England Council
- Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham, Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee, and member of the Compensation Committee
- Boy Scouts of America, Narragansett Council, and a member of the Executive Committee and Director of Exploring Committee
- Rhode Island Conference for Community and Justice
- Central Rhode Island Development Corporation and a member of the Executive Committee
- New England-Canada Business Council – Currently member of the Energy Committee
Professional, Business & Civic Activities – Past and Present
- New England Governor’s Conference
- Northeast Gas Association
- Public Relations Society of America
- University Club of Rhode Island
- Associated Industries of MA
- Capitol Hill Club, Washington, DC
- NE Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners
- National Assoc. of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
- Boston College CEO Club
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
- BU College of Communication Dean’s Exec. Advisory Bd.
- Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce