After more than four decades with Easton Utilities, Hugh Grunden announced his retirement as President and CEO effective July 1. “Hugh has been deeply devoted to the organization, serving this community responsibly through fiscal discipline and passionate leadership to uphold our mission,” says W.W. “Buck” Duncan, Chairman of the Easton Utilities Commission.
Under Grunden’s direction, Easton Utilities has become a multi-service provider committed to exceptional customer satisfaction, superior reliability of critical infrastructure, and competitive pricing of the essential services relied on by all every single day. His accomplishments include bringing innovative technology to Easton through the addition of cable television in 1984 and internet service in 1998, building an award-winning Customer Service Center in 2000 for the expanding business operations, and constructing a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility in 2007. This facility later became the home of the Easton Sustainability Campus to contain a system of multiple, diverse renewable energy sources including a two-megawatt solar array which was completed in 2017.
Most recently, Grunden worked to help solve the rural broadband issues in Talbot County, and Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is now well underway to completing this transformational project. Currently, more than 2,200 residents have access to broadband and over 1,200 have signed up for service through this expansion project. “In our modern world, connectivity has risen higher and higher on the list of essential services and has become a vital part of nearly every facet of human interaction,” adds Town of Easton Mayor Megan Cook. “Thank you to Easton Utilities for working tirelessly to accomplish this goal through the Connect Talbot project.”
However, it is Grunden’s unwavering loyalty to the community that will continue to flourish in the culture of Easton Utilities. He encourages all employees to get involved by supporting the many businesses and philanthropic organizations, knowing Easton Utilities is a pillar of the community. One of his cherished accomplishments was bringing Rudolph back to Easton. “Who knew putting a 16-foot plastic reindeer up on Talbottown would elicit such a sentimental response from this community?” adds Grunden.
Grunden began his career at Easton Utilities in 1983 as a Civil Engineer, following his graduation from University of Maryland where he received a degree in Civil Engineering. Later, as Deputy General Manager, he worked under the mentorship of then General Manager Roger Judd. Early on, Grunden was groomed to be a future leader for the organization. He became the President and CEO of Easton Utilities in 1994 following Judd’s unexpected passing. In 2001 he received his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from The Johns Hopkins University.
“It has been an interesting and rewarding career where I learned a lot and had the privilege to interact with so many talented individuals all with the same end goal in mind,” says Grunden. “I credit my success to the entire team and will depart proud of everything we accomplished together. I look forward to watching Easton Utilities continue to flourish.”
The Easton Utilities Commission and members of the Executive Team will begin the thorough process to select Grunden’s replacement. In the meantime, Easton Utilities will ensure a seamless transition and safeguard the continuity of all operations.