Meet Denny Urban
This week is the mid-year financial close: It’s a busy time for the Finance team!
In honor of their work we thought it would be nice to post a few “get to know you” profiles about people in the department. The work of US Finance team this time of year helps us to fulfill our financial reporting obligations to our shareholders, debt holders and regulators. They make sure that our accounting records are accurate, and that we are able to provide reliable information to support business decisions.
Meet Denny Urban, CFO for New England and FERC!
Could you give me an overview of what it means to be VP and CFO for New England and FERC?
I provide financial oversight for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island jurisdictions–electric and gas–and the FERC jurisdiction, so the transmission lines, the generation assets on Long Island, pipeline investments, etc.
I left school at the end of my first year and went to work at Duquesne Light Company in Pittsburgh. I spent the first 13 years of my career working out in the field—I was a lineman, climbing poles, putting up wires, working on transmission towers. At the same time, I went back to school to get my associate’s degree in engineering technology (because at the time I thought that was what I wanted to do). I thought it was pretty cool being in the electric business! But, at that time engineers were not in very high demand, so that led me to switch to pursuing a Finance bachelor’s with a major in accounting and minor in business management. My thought was that since I had both my operations background and financial experience, I would be well prepared for whatever might happen in the future.
Then, back in 2007, the company I was working for was taken over by a group of private equity banks. I stayed on for a while, but after about a year I took severance and landed a new job at PPL, a utility based out of Allentown, PA, where I eventually made my way up to VP of Finance and Regulatory. Later on, I was contacted by somebody about the opportunities here at National Grid, and looking into it, I found it to be an intriguing organization given their interest in being a leader among utility companies.
When did you move into this role?
Is there anything that you’ve especially enjoyed? What gets you to work every day?
Well, I see lots of opportunities here to move the organization forward. The Finance team is going through an organizational redesign and we’re making a lot of progress aligning our team against the needs of the business. For me, it’s very important for us to do this right as we go through the transition and develop a new way of working. If you have your building blocks correct, then in my view the opportunities are limitless.
When I say adventure, what do you think of?
Adventure for me is spending time with my family traveling. I love the outdoors—I was a hunter, I was a fisherman. But I really like going on vacation with my family. That’s adventure.
Anything you would like to add?
In terms of career advice, I would really encourage everybody to think about moving around within the organization and get a broad base of knowledge. Especially if you’re looking to move up, you need a broad-based view of the company in order to be able to take on those responsibilities. Folks that just want to move up vertically, you can do it, but the opportunities become more and more limited, whereas if you move around and gain knowledge about how everything works within the business, you can become a jack of all trades.. So, I encourage everybody to look at opportunities across the organization.