CUMBERLAND — The utility bringing natural gas service to Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth has announced a change in leadership.
Summit Natural Gas of Maine named Mike Tanchuk president, effective Jan. 1, 2015, according to a company press release. He will replace Mike Minkos, who is retiring.
Tanchuk, who already works as an adviser to Summit, will also be executive vice president of Summit Utilities, and direct all strategies and operations for Summit Natural Gas of Maine, according to the press release.
The announcement came less than a month after the utility pledged to reimburse customers for deposits they paid for work that remains incomplete because a contractor went out of business.
Contractor David Ireland, who abruptly closed his Howland business, and laid much of the blame for his situation on the utility, noting, among other things, Summit’s delayed laying of service lines, which was postponed several time from July to December.
“When you’re the last utility in a right-of-way,” Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane said Tuesday, referring to storm water, sewer, water, telecommunications, power and cable, “… maybe it’s surprising that we got as much done as we did in the first year. … This was never to be all done in one year; it was always to be a three-to-five-year plan.”
The company is under budget in the tri-town area for this year, which may allow for additional areas to be supplied next year, Shane said, adding that “you have to get through the growing pains.”
“Mike Minkos has done a great job for our area,” Shane said. “He has worked very well with the three towns, and especially in dealing with this latest contractor issue. I think his leadership was instrumental in getting us to a very positive resolution.”
Minkos was already retired when approached by Summit, and his time with the company was meant to have been short, according to Shane. The manager said he understood that the intent was to get the Cumberland-Falmouth-Yarmouth area up and running with natural gas, and then for Minkos to withdraw into a consultant role.
In the press release announcing his appointment, Tanchuk said he was “very impressed by the work Summit Natural Gas of Maine has done in such a short amount of time. The vision and values of the company were a big part of my decision to come to Summit. My focus will be to build on Summit’s success and be part of a team that’s reducing energy costs for residents and businesses across this great state, as well as providing hundreds of jobs for Mainers.”
Tanchuk most recently was chief executive officer at Ormet Corp. of Ohio, which produced aluminum services and products, and related items, according to Summit.
Ormet closed in October 2013, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which reported most of the company’s 700 workers were put out of work. Tanchuk blamed the plant’s closure partly on Ohio’s electricity market deregulation, which he said caused a significant increase in power bills.
Tanchuk previously was responsible for expansion and operations at Century Aluminum, and was president of Alcoa/Reynolds Metals Co.
“Mike Tanchuk has proven great leadership qualities and a wide range of experience in operations, project management and business development,” Mike Earnest, president and CEO of Summit Utilities, said in the company’s announcement. “His skills will be a tremendous asset for our company as we continue to build on our growth in Maine.”