Conversation with a CEO: Melissa Seixas
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (March 15, 2021) -- Melissa Seixas may be the new public face of Duke Energy in Florida, but she is no stranger to the field of energy production and distribution, having started with the utility way back when it was Florida Power. Named Duke Energy's state president in Florida in February, Seixas has been with the company since 1986 when she began working in distribution engineering.
It was an interesting career for the USF alumna whose graduate degree wasn’t in business or engineering, but in American history.
“It’s been a long journey from American history, to my first job at Duke Energy’s St. Pete Ops Center, hand-drawing schematics of poles and wires,” she said. “Of course that was long before the days of Google Earth.
“But learning those basics and that foundation continues to help me even today,” she said. “I eventually became a community relations manager and the vice president for that department before this current role.”
Seixas will be the next guest at the USF Muma College of Business’ Conversation with a CEO scheduled for April 1. The event will be a virtual affair and is free to the public. Registration is required. To find out more and to register, click here.
Over her 34-year career with the utility, Seixas has served in numerous roles with increasing leadership responsibilities.
She now is head of the utility giant that serves 1.9 million retail customers in central Florida, including metropolitan St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the greater Orlando area. She is responsible for the financial performance of Duke Energy's regulated utility in Florida and for managing state and local regulatory and government relations and community affairs. She also has responsibility for advancing the company's rate and regulatory initiatives related to its electric operations.
“Power is an essential part of people’s lives,” Seixas said. “It’s a life-saving necessity in the emergency room or after a hurricane. Keeping the lights on is a responsibility we take very seriously.
“I’ve also been fortunate to work in a program at Duke Energy that provides grants for community efforts, and partners with agencies to help customers who need assistance to pay their bills. Ultimately, we want customer to know, we are here when they need us most. And anytime you are able to help someone, that’s the most rewarding part of our job.”
Prior to assuming her current position, Seixas served as vice president of government and community relations in Florida. She directed efforts to strengthen relationships with local municipal, community and civic organizations, as well as business leaders throughout the company's 35-county service area. Her team works closely with leaders to help communities achieve their energy, growth and sustainability goals.
“Duke Energy Florida is delivering on what customers want: innovative, affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions to benefit all Florida customers,” she said. “The company is investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 megawatts of cost-effective solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida and will more than quadruple the amount of in-service solar on the system over the next four years.”
Seixas received a bachelor's degree in American history from Eckerd College and a master's degree in American history from USF. Her executive training includes a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) certification from Johns Hopkins University, and programs with the Edison Electric Institute and Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.
She has served on numerous boards for nonprofit and business organizations including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Pinellas County Urban League, the St. Petersburg and Clearwater Chambers of Commerce, Pasco Economic Development Council and as immediate past chair of the board of directors for the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.
“Since 2001, Duke Energy Florida’s economic development team has helped expand or attract over 306 companies to Florida, more than 46,000 jobs and $4.2 billion in capital investment,” Seixas said. “However, Creating Powerful Communities also means powering the lives of our customers and the vitality of our communities through charitable giving, with more than $4.5 million in grants each year through community impact initiatives focused on K-12 education, nature, workforce and economic development.”
Recognizing her long history of service to USF, Seixas was the 2019 recipient of the USFSP Regional Chancellor Award for Civic Leadership. She currently serves as a member of the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board and the USF Board of Trustees.