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APS CIO Geisler on loving his job and predicting the future

In this world, there are people who do their jobs and there are people who are their jobs.

In the vernacular of our business, there are those who work at a utility—people who come in at 8, take a full lunch hour, leave at 5, and leave the work behind—and then there are those few who are the life and breath of that utility—people who are passionate about the ways and means that a utility makes society function, who lovingly serve as the infrastructure of our world’s infrastructure, the backbones of the backbone.

Ted Geisler, the chief information officer (CIO) of Arizona Public Service, is a self-proclaimed latter-camp devotee—a “utility guy.”

He talks with gusto about not just the technical aspects of how a utility supports society—specifically his utility—but also dives into details of economic and even charitable responsibilities.

In other words, Geisler isn’t just a utility guy who loves making power; he loves how a utility fits into a larger community and how it can serve as a workplace family as well.

And we’re quoting him directly when we use the word “love.”

“I love this company, and I love this industry,” he told us during a call a few weeks ago.

“Our value translates across the spectrum from altruism to economic development,” he added, noting that APS is dedicated to helping attract local development and sharing heart-warming customer stories of the life-saving purpose of power—to run air conditioning in extreme heat or to keep medical equipment in order.  

“In our short lives, there are a lot of things we can choose to do that could make a difference,” he said. “This work is how I make a difference.”

Choosing that road-less-traveled path to making a difference makes Geisler excited to come to work every day, whether that day involves tackling new ways to operate the grid or planning new ways to make an ever-more-involved customer happier.

Geisler and his team at APS are always looking, planning, examining all the ins and outs—all the possibilities of that new and what the future may bring. In fact, Geisler emphasized how important is it for his team to know what may be coming with a variety of future possibilities—and to be ready for all of them rather than bet on one.

“The key, in my view, is to worry less about predicting the exact path and, instead, ensure we’re focused on developing the capabilities that can accommodate a number of different future states,” he told us in a deeper dive on planning and processes. “We must be able to maneuver as things inevitably change—as our customers gain certain preferences or as policy makers adopt certain mandates or as tech advances certain opportunities.”

But no matter what future state may come, Geisler and his APS centers back to one person when thinking about plans and roadmaps: the customer.

“Whatever changes with policy or technology or innovation, our mission at APS stays the same underneath: We exist to serve customers,” he added.


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