Acclaimed for More than 30 Years of Distinguished Service
January 5, 2017–Following more than three decades of faithful and distinguished service to public power, Walter R. McGrath has retired. Mr. McGrath served as the General Manager of the Braintree Electric Light Department in Massachusetts, a municipal electric system, from 1985 to 2002. Since 2003, he has served as the New England Representative on the staff of Hometown Connections, the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association (APPA).
A senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) with a B.S.E.E. degree from Northeastern University and an MBA in Management from Bentley College, Mr. McGrath served as the APPA president in 1998-1999 and was a member of the board of directors for nine years. He has served on numerous committees for both APPA and the Northeast Public Power Association and was a board member of NEPPA from 1989 to 2002.
“Walter is one of public power’s unsung heroes who has dedicated his professional career to supporting the APPA membership,” said Tim Blodgett, President & CEO, Hometown Connections. “Much of the success of Hometown is due directly to Walter, who helped establish Hometown when he served on the APPA Board and then came on as a senior member of our staff, representing the public power systems in New England. He has kept Hometown focused on delivering products and services that meet the operational and customer service needs of small- to medium-sized public power systems. Most importantly, Walter has been a wonderful mentor and friend. It’s hard to imagine Hometown Connections and public power without him.”
In recognition of Mr. McGrath’s contributions to the company, Hometown Connections created the annual Walter R. McGrath Executive Consultant of the Year Award, and he was its first recipient in August 2016.
“Hometown Connections was extremely lucky to have Walter join our organization when he did,” said Steve VanderMeer, Senior Vice President, Planning & Marketing. “Hometown Connections was still in its early years, and Walter’s experience and insights into the workings of public power greatly helped us serve our clients better. He has been a great resource and is committed totally to the success of public power.”
“Walter epitomizes the dedication and commitment public power employees display on a consistent basis,” said Jeff Haas, Vice President of Membership & IT, APPA. “He worked tirelessly to advance the interests of public power as general manager of the Braintree Electric Light Department and continued to keep his foot on the throttle as a consultant for Hometown Connections—always striving to support Hometown’s partners and improve the value proposition of public power. I find Walter’s straightforward, roll up your shirtsleeves approach to be effective and refreshing.”
“Due to his wealth of knowledge and experience, Walter’s shoes will be very hard to fill,” said Lisa Miller, Manager of Communications & Marketing, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and long-time sales affiliate of Hometown Connections. “Walter understands how municipal electric distribution systems work and what they need to be successful. More than anyone I know, he walks the walk and talks the talk of public power. I will miss him greatly, especially during Hometown’s biannual meetings.”
Debra Scarbo, the operations manager of the Texas Public Power Association, has known Mr. McGrath since the early 1990s when as an APPA Board member he helped TPPA address Texas regulatory issues. “I see Walter as a kindred spirit,” Scarbo said. “His ethics, his kindness, and his commitment to public power are unparalleled. He’s a joy to work with and to have as a friend. He’s old school public power, and we are so very grateful for all he’s done for the industry, for Hometown, and for the APPA membership.”
“I have had the privilege of working with Walter as both a Hometown Connections sales affiliate when I was on staff at ElectriCities of North Carolina and currently as a vendor partner,” said Robbie Tugwell, Vice President, Public Utilities, PowerSecure. “His insights and his relationships with his peers at public power systems in New England are priceless. At every utility we call on in his region, everyone knows and trusts Walter. His reputation and the respect he’s earned are second to none.”
Mr. McGrath has been a member of the Braintree Rotary Club since 1989 and served as president of the Club in 2002-2003. He has been married since 1965 to Donna and they have two children: Lynn and Michael, and four grandchildren: Amanda, Kayla, Alexandra, and Sean. Walter enjoys playing golf, working around the yard, and spending time with his family.
About Hometown Connections International, LLC
Hometown Connections is the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association, offering public power utilities guidance and access to quality products/services from a trusted entity with public power’s best interests in mind.