Meet Maryann Heil of Atmos Energy. She is presenting on how to Leverage Resistance at the upcoming Change Management for Utilities Conference this September in San Diego.
Q: Name, title, company?
A: Maryann Heil, Business Process and Organizational Change Management, Atmos Energy Corporation
Q: Family, hometown, where you live?
A: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where my great-grandfather started a moving and storage business in 1901. He built his business by moving steam trunks for John D. Rockefeller and other oil executives. I grew up working for my father in the business. And toiling away in a family enterprise taught me a lot. Patience, mainly. But before I was 16, I knew how to balance and read a balance sheet, drive a tractor-trailer, operate a tow motor, and pack/load a truck. Most importantly, I learned how to work with and respect people. I currently live in Dallas, Texas.
Q: What is your utility/change management experience?
A: I have worked for two natural gas companies. Working at these two companies connected me to colleagues, customers, and markets from the Atlantic Coast to the Rocky Mountains. I have worked on all sizes of projects, ranging from spinning off a pipeline group to be a separate entity to streamlining a financial system and creating one standard general ledger for all divisions to use.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
A: We moved to Dallas last year so we have spent most of our time getting to know our new home state.
Q: Notable achievements?
A: This year my white paper for ACMP was selected as one of the top three submissions and was published for the 2017 ACMP Conference. I recently was elected as ACMP North Texas Regional Director.
Q: Where do you see Change Management in utilities in two years?
A: The utility industry will face a number of issues in the next few years, including aging infrastructure and uncertain regulatory environments. As a result, leaders will ask employees to adapt to change much quicker than in the past, without sacrificing quality and without disrupting company culture. Change management will be crucial to this process.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: Getting use to the Texas heat. I once thought two or three days of 90 degree temperatures was a heat wave. Now it’s relief from a week’s worth of 100 degree days.
Q: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
A: Before entering the natural gas industry, I worked for the State of Ohio – in the Department of Taxation and at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Q: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
A: I had a great role model when I worked for the State of Ohio fresh out of college. My boss taught me a great lesson: “know your worth.” I mentioned to him once that a co-worker was makig a lot more than I was even though I had a lot more responsibilities. I knew my co-worker had been at the agency for over 20 years, but I felt I deserved a raise. He asked me, “How much is the market willing to pay for what you do?” I rose to his challenge, updated my resume, and applied for jobs. I found that I was paid pretty well for someone who had little experience in her early twenties I learned to figure out what the market is asking for — whether it is experience, certification, or education.
Q: What is one of your biggest goals (in life or business)?
A: To travel more.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about Change Management?
A: Communication and training is all you need to ensure change.