Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council




President of Aqua America’s Illinois subsidiary

Craig Blanchette was named president of Aqua America’s Illinois subsidiary in July 2014 following his previous position as vice president of operations, which he held since 2011, Blanchette joined Aqua Illinois(Aqua) in 2008 as vice president and regional manager of Illinois for Kankakee and Will County Divisions.

Blanchette has more than 20 years of water and wastewater industry management experience, including more than 12 years with Aqua. He is responsible for executive oversight of the development, management and operations for the water and the wastewater functions, which include the delivery of public drinking water; wastewater collection and treatment; engineering, maintenance and construction; ensuring regulatory and environmental compliance; and public health and safety related to the company’s operations. He is also responsible for driving the organization’s operations to satisfy its various stakeholders.

Prior to joining Aqua, Blanchette served as Village Administrator, Superintendent of public works, and water and wastewater operator for the village of Manteno, Illinois. He was responsible for the overall management and operations of the various departments within the village of Manteno, including public works, parks, water and wastewater, general government, and building and zoning.

Blanchette earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a Master of Business Administration from Oliver Nazarene University. He is a member of the American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, past Chairman of the Illinois Section NAWC Chapter, and serves on various local boards and charitable organizations.


President and Chief Executive Officer, ComEd

Dominguez leads ComEd, an Exelon company, which powers the lives of more than 4 million residential and business customers, or 70 percent of Illinois’ population. He is responsible for the safe and reliable delivery of electricity to customers and for empowering them to manage their energy use. He oversees the management of the electric grid for Chicago and most of northern Illinois and ComEd’s partnerships with the diverse communities it serves.

Before joining ComEd, Dominguez served as executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy for ComEd parent company Exelon. In that role, he led the development and implementation of federal, state, and regional governmental, regulatory, and public policy strategies for one of the nation’s largest electric companies with approximately $34 billion in annual revenues.

Dominguez joined Exelon in 2002 as associate general counsel, responsible for all litigation matters in the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2004, he was named general counsel for ComEd sister company PECO. In 2007, he was named senior vice president of state regulatory and government affairs and general counsel of Exelon Generation. His role expanded in 2009 to include senior vice president of communications, and in 2010 he was named senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs and public policy for Exelon. In 2012, Dominguez became senior vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy for Exelon.

Prior to joining Exelon, Dominguez was a partner in the law firm of White and Williams, LLP, with a broad-based litigation practice counseling large and small corporations, institutions, and government entities. He is a former assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where he spearheaded the investigation and prosecution of numerous crimes ranging from money laundering to murder-for-hire.

Dominguez serves on several boards of directors and councils, such as Hispanics in Energy and the Rutgers Law School Corporate Governance Advisory Board. He cofounded the Association of Latino Energy and Environmental Professionals, an organization focused on ensuring the Latino voice is heard in the energy and environmental industries, in 2011.

Dominguez received the Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Adelante Award from APM, the Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos Award, the Visionary Hispanic Energy Leaders Award, and the nuclear energy industry’s most prestigious award, the William S. Lee Award for Industry Leadership. Dominguez is an inductee of Rutgers-Camden’s Finest and a past Honoree of the Hispanic Bar Association of PA Legal Fund (HBALEF).

Dominguez earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He earned his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude, and was recognized as a Dean’s Scholar and the school’s Ralph Bunche Distinguished Fellowship Scholar.


Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer, SJW Group

IUBDC Board of Directors 2015-2020

In August 2022, Bruce A. Hauk joined SJW Group as Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer. In his role, he leads the company’s acquisition and growth initiatives with his substantial experience in the water and wastewater industry. He has an exceptional track record in acquisitions, averaging over 40,000 customers per year in growth. He has also built outstanding relationships with regulators and local public officials while delivering for shareholders.

Prior to joining SJW, Mr. Hauk served as President of NextEra Water. He led teams and drove results in all areas of water utilities – from strategy planning and execution, administration, budget and forecasting, project management, regulatory, customer service and operations.

Prior to joining NextEra, Mr. Hauk served in several roles of increasing responsibility at American Water for more than 16 years, lastly serving as President of Regulated Operations and Military Services Group and then as Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Additionally, Bruce has significant experience in municipal government, having served as Deputy Mayor/Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Westfield, and as Town Manager/Director of Public Works for the Town of Westfield, Indiana.

Mr. Hauk was the recipient of the 2019 Inclusion & Diversity Award presented by the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Also, while President of Illinois American Water, his company won the 2018 Outstanding Corporate Leadership Award from the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Hauk has a BS in Chemistry & Life Sciences from Indiana State University, a Master of Public Administration from Indiana University-Purdue University, and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a licensed operator in water and wastewater treatment.


President and Chief Executive Officer of Nicor Gas

John Hudson is a licensed attorney who serves as president and chief executive officer of Nicor Gas, the largest natural gas distribution company in Illinois. In this role, he is responsible for ensuring that natural gas – a clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy source – reaches more than 2.2 million homes and businesses in 656 northern Illinois communities. In addition, Hudson serves as executive vice president of Southern Company Gas, where he has enterprise-wide responsibility for market strategy and new venture development across the company’s regulated utility franchises in Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia. Hudson also is a member of the Southern Company Gas Management Council. Southern Company Gas is a subsidiary of Southern Company and the parent company of Nicor Gas.

Before assuming his current role, Hudson served as executive vice president and chief external and public affairs officer at Southern Company Gas. In this role, he was responsible for the company’s external affairs, customer operations, corporate communications, marketing, community relations, economic development and environmental affairs functions. In addition, he served as president of the Southern Company Gas Foundation, which focuses on philanthropic and volunteer initiatives. Through previous leadership roles at Alabama Power, a sister company of Southern Company Gas, Hudson served as senior vice president of marketing and business development, chief executive of the Alabama Power Foundation, vice president of public relations and charitable giving, assistant to the company’s president and CEO and area manager for the Birmingham division.

After spending more than a decade at Alabama Power, Hudson left the company in 2006 to serve as senior vice president of corporate diversity and public affairs at Regions Financial Corporation. He also founded The Hudson Group, a public policy consulting firm, where he practiced law and served as president and chairman. He returned to Alabama Power in 2010.

As part of his long-term commitment to entrepreneurship and philanthropy, Hudson serves as chairman of the board of directors of Bronze Valley Corporation, which he launched to expand the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem among people of color in the technology industry. For his work in the area of philanthropy, innovation and entrepreneurship, he was selected for the prestigious Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. He also is a member of the board of directors of Trillion Communications, a national supply-chain company that provides logistics services to the telecommunications industry; A.G. Gaston Enterprises, a privately held investment company with holdings in construction, real estate and media; and Metallum Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on funding early-stage technology startups.

Hudson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Alabama A&M University and is a cum laude graduate of Miles College School of Law. He also completed the Executive Accounting and Finance Program at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School.
Hudson resides in Chicago with his wife.


President, Illinois American Water

Justin Ladner is president of Pennsylvania American Water, and formerly the president of Illinois American Water, the largest investor-owned water utility in Illinois, providing water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people.  In his role as a state president for American Water, Ladner reinforces and strengthens customer, regulatory and local government relationships, drives operational and financial results and is the principal external contact for American Water.

Ladner joined American Water in 2018 as director of National Regulatory Affairs. In this national role for American Water, Ladner was responsible for developing and implementing strategies, practices, and processes related to National Regulatory Affairs. He also served as the primary liaison between several business units and the Company’s state Regulatory Affairs teams, providing leadership and strategy to identify, develop, and implement best practices to ensure functional excellence. He has also worked closely to enhance American Water’s presence as an industry leader at National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) events.

Before joining American Water, Ladner served as the governmental affairs and policy manager for Southern Power. In that role, he created and led the government affairs team with a focus on federal, regional, and state legislative and regulatory affairs. He also held several other
positions at Southern Co., including project manager for the Integration Management Office, assistant to the executive vice president of Nuclear Development, and attorney for Southern Nuclear.

Prior to joining Southern Co., Ladner was an associate attorney for Huie, Fernambucq & Stewart in Birmingham, Ala. He also worked for U.S. Steel as a metallurgical engineer. Ladner received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Alabama School of Law, as well as a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering with honors from the University of Alabama.

Richard J. Mark

Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois

Richard J. Mark is chairman and president of Ameren Illinois Company. He is responsible for electric and natural gas distribution to more than 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers across three-quarters of the state of Illinois. Ameren Illinois’ complex delivery system includes approximately 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines, 45,700 miles of distribution lines, 18,000 miles of natural gas transmission and distribution mains and 12 underground natural gas storage fields. Ameren Illinois is a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation which is ranked 373rd of the Fortune 500 companies.

Before his appointment as president, Mark was senior vice president of Ameren Missouri Customer Operations and was responsible for electric and gas distribution to more than 1.2 million customers across central and eastern Missouri including the greater St. Louis area. Mark also oversaw Customer Services Operations, Community Relations, Communications, Customer Satisfaction and Corporate Giving for Missouri’s largest utility.

Mark joined Ameren in 2002 as vice president of Customer Service. In 2003, he became vice president of Governmental Policy and Consumer Affairs. In just two short years, he rose to the position of senior vice president of Ameren Missouri Energy Delivery – becoming the first African American to hold this position. In 2009, Mark was promoted to senior vice president of Customer Operations – a position that encompasses Ameren Missouri’s Energy Delivery but was expanded to meet customers’ energy needs of the future.

To ensure a secure energy future for Ameren customers, Mark is leading a Strategic Customer Initiative focused on promoting energy efficiency, smart grid technologies and customer-based energy generation, or distributed generation. His team’s goals are to deploy advanced technologies, tools and services to enable customers to manage their energy usage and costs while enhancing the electric grid.

Prior to joining Ameren, Mark spent six years as president and chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis and five years as chief operating officer. Mark also served 10 years as chairman of the East St. Louis District 189 Financial Oversight Panel.

Mark serves on a variety of boards and organizations including Enterprise Bank and Trust, Madison Mutual Insurance, Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis, and the St. Louis Police Foundation. He has received three honorary doctorate degrees for his civic and community work, as well as numerous awards and honors; most recently Mark was recognized by Savoy magazine in its 2014 spring issue as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America. In 2012, Black Enterprise magazine named him one of the 100 Most Powerful Executives in America. His other honors include the NAACP’s Inspiring St. Louisan Award of 2011, St. Louis Business Journal’s Ten Years of Influence of 2010, St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Energy Executive of 2010 and many more.


Former President, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas

IUBDC Board of Directors 2015-2022

Charles Matthews served as president and chief executive officer of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas from 2015 to 2022.

Matthews managed the daily operations, strategy and administrative activities of WEC Energy Group’s two Illinois utilities that collectively provide safe, reliable natural gas service to nearly 1 million customers in the city of Chicago and 54 communities in its northern suburbs. Before taking the helm in Illinois, Matthews held executive and leadership positions at WEC Energy Group, Jamaica Public Service and Southern Co. Across his career, Matthews worked more than 40 years in the energy industry.


President and Chief Executive Officer, ComEd

Anne Pramaggiore is president and CEO of ComEd, an electric utility company delivering electricity to 3.8 million customers in Chicago and Northern Illinois.

Pramaggiore joined ComEd in 1998 to work on the company’s transition to competitive energy markets under the Illinois Consumer Choice Law of 1997. In her role as ComEd’s lead lawyer and as head of Regulatory Policy, she led major policy work around the restructuring of the Illinois electric industry.

In 2009, Pramaggiore was appointed as ComEd’s COO and became responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations on the electric grid and in customer operations. In that role, she led the company’s effort to set the legislative framework for ComEd’s smart grid build-out, a leading model nationally for modernizing one of the largest utility systems in the country.

Pramaggiore was promoted to her current position in February 2012. She is the first female to hold the post of president and CEO at the electric utility.

Pramaggiore serves as a board member of Chicago Federal Reserve Board, Motorola Solutions,Inc., and several civic and community organizations.

She is a 1989 graduate of DePaul University School of Law and served as editor-in-chief of the school’s Law Review. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Theater from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Melvin D. Williams

Senior Vice President, AGL Resources and President, Nicor Gas

Melvin D. Williams was named senior vice president of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) and president of Nicor Gas, the largest natural gas provider in Illinois, in May 2015. He is responsible for ensuring that natural gas is delivered safely to more than 2.2 million homes and businesses in more than 650 northern Illinois communities.

With AGL Resources for more than 25 years, Williams has a depth of operations, new business development and regulatory experience. He previously served as senior vice president of planning and business services, and also held the position of vice president and general manager for Atlanta Gas Light and Florida City Gas. In that role, Williams oversaw field operations in Port St. Lucie, Brevard and Hialeah, Fla., and much of the Atlanta Gas Light territory in Georgia outside of metro Atlanta.

Williams is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and AGL Resources Foundation and is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. He actively supports numerous community and youth organizations in both Georgia and Florida.

Williams received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Savannah State University in 1987.