Doug Oliver is Director of Communications at PECO. He’s been a PPRA member for 10 years.
PPRA: Doug, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.
DO: For 11 of the past 14 years, Doug has worked in the energy sector, currently serving as the Director of Communications for PECO, an Exelon Company, where he leads the company’s communications, brand and reputation management strategies. Prior to joining the PECO team, Doug served as Vice President, External Affairs for Philadelphia Gas Works, the nation’s largest municipally-owned natural gas utility.
In previous experience, Doug served as Press Secretary for the City of Philadelphia and as Director of Communication for the Pennsylvania Dept. of Public Welfare (DPW). In 2015, Doug was a candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia in the Democratic Primary, establishing himself as a creative problem solver and a symbol of a new generation of thought leadership.
A proud graduate of Milton Hershey School, Doug earned his undergraduate degree from Lock Haven University, a Master’s degree from LaSalle University, and an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University. Doug sits on the Boards of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (PHLCVB), Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) and Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and the Corporate Leadership Board of Barnes Museum.
PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?
DO: Right now, PECO is investing $500 million dollars annually into our electric distribution system, including tree trimming, tree resistant cable, upgraded equipment, new technologies and preventative maintenance. These investments are all made to ensure that our customers experience as few outages as possible and that those outages don’t last long when they do occur.
Additionally, PECO is supporting a package of legislative initiatives designed to transform the energy experience for our customers. Initiatives include proposals for a microgrid pilot program, expanding fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles, expanding access to natural gas and making solar power available to all customers.
PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?
DO: I like the variety of the work that I do. There is always an issue that needs to be thought through. There is always a strategy that needs to be developed.
I also enjoy that as a communicator, I am permitted to play in other people’s sandboxes from every department across the company. The Communications role allows you to develop a well-rounded understanding of any business.
PPRA: What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?
DO: We just managed communications through four separate Nor’easters that battered our service territory through the month of March. The storms interrupted service to nearly 750,000 customers and PECO was able to assess damage, fix broken poles and wires to restore service in record time. We were successful in working with media, regulators, elected officials and other key stakeholders to manage communications and limit the impact of our storm on our customers.
PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?
DO: As a communicator, you often give up your own voice in service to others. In many ways, you actually lose some of your own voice. For that reason, it is of great importance that you work for an organization that shares the same values that you have.
This makes it easy for you to enjoy the work that you do and for you to experience a fulfilling career in the communication industry.
PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?
DO: I could read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell 1000 times and learn something new.
PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?
DO: Barnes Museum – especially on PECO Free First Sunday Family Day
(What kind of PR guy would I be if I didn’t plug our community partners?)
PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?
DO: I take my cheesesteak with fried onions and cheese (regular cheese, not that fake cheese whiz stuff).
PPRA: Our PPRA 2017-18 PRoactive partnership is with Tree House Books. What was your favorite childhood book and why?
DO: Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now? by Dr. Seuss