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Jeff Harrison is Ready to Lead Citizens Energy Group

December 2, 2014

Harrison Profile

Minority STEM Leader: Jeff Harrison has had a variety of leadership roles with Citizens Energy Group and Indianapolis Power & Light since earning his electrical engineering degree in 1989. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

As the son of a southeastern Indiana bricklayer, Jeff Harrison was a first-generation college graduate who knew that hard work would be the key to a successful career.

He had no idea it would be as an engineer.

“A high school guidance counselor suggested I take a look at engineering because of my standing among the top-10 percent of my graduating class [at Jeffersonville High School]. I had no idea about engineering or Rose-Hulman, but was willing to give it a try,” says Harrison. “I knew I had the strong work ethic to accomplish anything that I put my mind to do.”

Now, 25 years after earning his electrical engineering degree and being a four-year starting basketball player, Harrison is on the verge of becoming president and chief executive officer of Citizens Energy Group, succeeding retiring Carey Lykins on July 1, 2015.

Harrison is well prepared for this challenge. He has served as senior vice president of engineering and sustainability since January 2013, and has had leadership roles in market development, manufacturing, capital programming, and engineering since joining the company in 2003.

Citizens Energy is a public trust utility providing natural gas, steam and chilled water, water, and wastewater treatment services to about 800,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area.

“Jeff has displayed remarkable leadership as Citizens has embarked on unprecedented investments in the community’s aging water and wastewater systems,” says Dan Appel, president of the Citizens Energy Board of Directors. “In addition to his extensive utility industry experience, Jeff has always shown great ability to inspire and motivate employees.”

Prior to joining Citizens Energy, Harrison served in positions of increasing responsibility during 13 years at Indianapolis Power & Light, including corporate strategist.

Harrison has succeeded at every career juncture while being among the few minorities in leadership positions on his engineering or management teams.

“Hopefully, I am respected because of the work I have accomplished and my ability to work with people to get things done,” he says. “I have tried to set a positive example for others. I believe in strong customer service, and being nice to people. I have never forgotten my humble roots and am always looking to give back to others.”

Harrison is a leader in Indianapolis’ Center for Leadership Development, mentoring minority youths toward careers in engineering and high-tech careers. He is also a graduate of the Diversity Leadership Academy of Greater Indianapolis, the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Program, and the Hoosier Fellows Program.

“Engineering has afforded me so much opportunities and I encourage as many youths as possible to consider engineering as a career. If I can make it, they can too,” he states.