On July 18, 2018, the Governor of Puerto Rico, together with the New Governing Board, announced the selection of electrical engineer José F. Ortiz as the new Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of PREPA. Ortiz will officially assume command of PREPA on Monday July 23, 2018 after an orderly transition from Mr. Higgins.
Ortiz’ credentials are unassailable, and his leadership will ensure significant improvements in PREPA operations leading into the transformation envisioned by Governor Rosselló and codified into law by the Puerto Rico Legislature under Act 120‑ 2018.
Ortiz is recognized as a dynamic, result-oriented executive with a strong track record of performance driving organizational culture changes. Ortiz has held critical leadership roles within the Puerto Rico Government under administrations of both major political parties in the Island, demonstrating the capacity to put politics aside, exercise independent judgment and put the People of Puerto Rico first.
PREPA Experience: Ortiz was Chairman of the Governing Board of PREPA from 2011‑2013. Under his chairmanship, PREPA conducted significant investments in critical infrastructure such as converting generation units to natural gas. Furthermore, his leadership also led to the first utility scale renewable energy projects in Puerto Rico.
Management of ARRA Funds: Ortiz was Chairman of the ARRA Inter-Agency Committee from 2009-2013. This committee was chartered by the then Governor of Puerto Rico to oversee and invest funding received under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This program successfully invested $7.2 billion in critical infrastructure and garnered recognition for a stellar stewardship of taxpayer funds.
Infrastructure Financing Authority: Ortiz was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority from 2009-2012. Under his chairmanship, he was able to support executive staff in infrastructure investment valued at $1.5 billion, including the construction and rehabilitation of 130 schools, investments in facilities required for the Central America 2010 Games and the upgrade and expansion of the Puerto Rico Medical Center.
PRASA Experience: Ortiz was Executive Director of Infrastructure at the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) from 2004-2007 and was responsible for the development of the utility’s Capital Improvement Plan that required an investment of approximately $2.3 billion for the design and construction of new water treatment plants and sanitary improvements to optimized potable water and sanitation systems.
Ortiz became the Chief Executive Officer of PRASA and served in said role from 2007-2013. During his tenure Ortiz led efforts to dramatically improve bond ratings to investment grade after 14 years of near junk status and negotiated three consent decrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address over 20 years of non-compliance. Revamping of internal procedures and organization improved client service standards by 70%.
During this time, Ortiz was also a Board Member of the Water Utilities Council of the American Water Works Association from 2011-2013. The Council is charged with setting legislative and regulatory priorities for the American Water Works Association and ensuring effective representation in Washington D.C. for the benefit of consumers.
Post-Government Service: Following almost a decade of stellar public service, Ortiz became a Vice President for Strategic Development of Wyndham Worldwide from 2013-2018. He also served as a board member for various non-profit institutions and provided consulting services to a wide array of business ventures.