Managers and Directors
All department managers and directors can be reached at (410) 822-6110.
Hugh E. Grunden, P.E.
President & CEO
Hugh Grunden joined Easton Utilities in 1983 and became the President & CEO in 1994. He provides the strategic direction for a multiple division municipal utility. He is also responsible for the overall operations to provide safe, reliable utility and communication services to over 10,500 customers. Mr. Grunden currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Public Power Association. He also serves in an advisory role for M&T Bank and The Country School. In addition, Mr. Grunden was appointed to the Governor's Task Force for Rural Internet, Broadband, and Cellular Service and formerly served on the Governor’s Task Force Advisory Group for Electric Industry Restructuring in Maryland. Mr. Grunden holds a BS in Civil Engineering from University of Maryland – College Park, an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Maryland.
Steven J. Ochse
Senior Vice President of Finance & CFO
Steven “Steve” Ochse oversees all aspects of Easton Utilities’ financial management in a progressively challenging financial and regulatory environment. He works closely with the CEO and department heads in executing the mission statement of Easton Utilities. Mr. Ochse previously held management positions with CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann, one of the largest accounting services firms in the country. Mr. Ochse has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Baltimore and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Ochse continues to be active in community organizations including the Memorial Hospital Foundation and Easton Rotary.
John J. Horner, Jr.
Senior Vice President of Operations & COO
With over 25 years of industry experience, John is the Senior Vice President of Operations & COO and is responsible for implementing policies and spearheading the overall operational plan for Easton Utilities. Prior to joining Easton Utilities, Mr. Horner held various senior level positions with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE). Mr. Horner graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering and holds an MBA from Loyola College.
Tracie A. Thomas
Vice President of Customer Services
Tracie Thomas manages all activities of the Accounting, Customer Service, Billing & Collections, and Warehouse Departments. She graduated from Salisbury State University with a BS in Accounting and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. She also holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. Ms. Thomas brings over 20 years of experience in both public accounting and private industry and has been with Easton Utilities since 2000.
Vicki L. Petro
Director of Human Resources
With more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources, Vicki Petro is responsible for benefits and compensation, training and development, employee relations, performance appraisal and management practices and policies, recruitment and staffing, and employee wellness at Easton Utilities. Ms. Petro has a BA from Washington State University, a Professional Human Resource Certificate from the Human Resource Certification Institute, is a SHRM Certified Professional and holds a Human Resource Management Certification through Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Ms. Petro is an alumna of The Shore Leadership Class of 2004.
Frederick C. Christie
Chief Information Officer
As Chief Information Officer, Mr. Christie leads the development of information systems infrastructure and communications technology to support current operations and future needs. As an IT Professional with over 30 years of experience working in the technology field, Mr. Christie possesses the considerable managerial skills necessary to deploy the rapidly-evolving information technology Easton Utilities uses to conduct operations and serve our customers. Mr. Christie's background includes serving as Chief Information Officer for an international manufacturing company and a hi-tech electronics company. He earned both a BS in Mathematics and a BS in Computer Science from Villanova University, an MS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Loyola University.
Theodore L. Book
Director of Cable & Communications
As Director of Cable & Communications, Ted Book is responsible for all aspects of the distribution, installation, service and maintenance of the Easton Cable and Online divisions of Easton Utilities. Mr. Book has been with Easton Utilities since 1997 and has held many positions including Director of Internet Services and Network Administrator. Mr. Book has more than 15 years experience in information technology and holds a BS in Computer Science from Lynchburg College and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
John E. Hines III, P.E.
Electric Department Manager
John Hines is the Electric Department Manager responsible for all aspects of the operation and safe delivery of power from transmission through distribution to the customer throughout the 54-square mile territory. Prior to joining Easton Utilities, John held various roles as an Electrical Engineer and Project Manager for companies in the mid-Atlantic region. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Maryland. With a passion for boating and sailboat racing, John has been an active member of the Miles River Yacht Club since 2005 serving in various positions to include Past Commodore. He resides in Easton with his wife and two daughters.
James P. Crowley
Gas, Meter, and Safety Manager
With more than 30 year’s experience, Jim has been committed to and passionate about the natural gas industry. He is responsible for all aspects of Easton Utilities’ Gas Department which includes the purchase, transmission, distribution and safe delivery of natural gas. Jim also manages the Meter Department and oversees Corporate Safety to ensure all are in compliance with company policies. He has a BS in Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy and sailed as a 3rd Assistant Engineer for US Lines and also aboard private yachts before his path led him to the Eastern Shore. Jim is a certified OSHA outreach trainer, Registered Gas Distribution Professional, Shore Leadership graduate, and sits on several industry boards, committees and task groups.
Douglas R. Abbott
Water & Wastewater Department Manager
Doug Abbott oversees the water and wastewater operation for Easton Utilities, including water treatment, storage, and distribution, as well as wastewater collection, and the Enhanced Nutrient Removal Wastewater Treatment Facility. Doug has over 40 years of experience in the water and wastewater utility industry. Prior to joining Easton Utilities in 2006, Doug provided operations consulting services to utilities and regulatory agencies throughout the US and abroad. Doug is a native of Talbot County, an avid racing sailor, and a member of the Miles River Yacht Club and Tred Avon Yacht Club where he currently serves as Commodore.
Paul L. Moffett
Engineering Department Manager
Paul Moffett oversees planning, design, permitting, construction, inspection and project management for Easton Utilities projects and manages plan review, approval, coordination and field inspection for all private and public sector utility related construction and development activity in Easton. Mr. Moffett has over 20 years experience in facility planning, design, construction and operation. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Chemical Engineering and received a MS from Georgia Institute of Technology in Environmental Engineering.
Kelly A. Simonsen
Marketing and Communications Manager
Kelly Simonsen is responsible for managing all facets of internal and external communications and marketing to effectively promote the broad range of programs and services Easton Utilities provides. Partnering with the Town of Easton as well as other community members, Kelly plans to share the many benefits Easton Utilities offers residents and businesses. Prior to joining Easton Utilities, Kelly was the Development Director at CASA of the Mid-Shore. She has a BS in Communications from Towson State University and is a 2014 graduate of Shore Leadership.