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Turnarounds, Veterans, and a Tribute to Senator John McCain with Don Brandt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle West


 This episode is dedicated to our military veterans and to the memory of Senator John McCain of Arizona.


Welcome to Episode 16. I joined Don Brandt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle West, more commonly known as Arizona Public Service, under azure Phoenix skies in early March of 2018. $3.5 bln revenue Pinnacle West Capital Corp. is an energy holding company based in Phoenix, Arizona, has consolidated assets of about $17 billion, about 6,200 megawatts of generating capacity and 6,300 employees in Arizona and New Mexico. Through its principal subsidiary, Arizona Public Service, the Company provides retail electricity service to nearly 1.2 million Arizona homes and businesses.  This episode is dedicated to our military veterans and to the memory of Senator John McCain of Arizona. 


Arizona Public Service has its origins within a storied past. Natural and man-made infrastructure were key to the settlement of the western US and provide the backdrop or dramatic context for wild west legend and lore. Railroads access, river crossings, mining, water resources, and power generation were antecedent admixtures to the conditions for statehood in the west. Arizona Public Service was founded five years after the infamous gunfight at OK Corral and a quarter century before Arizona became a state. The company has served Arizona for more than 125 years. 


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Program Guide Episode 16

Turnarounds, Veterans, and a Tribute to Senator John McCain

An Interview with Don Brandt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle West


0:30      Introduction to Episode 16

2:12      Leading a turnaround of the utility through more effective regulatory processes

5:17      Break 1

5:33      Broader historical context for the setting of the turnaround

12:06    Break 2

12:23    Managing decisions and divestiture of non-regulated diversified assets

14:47    Hiring military veterans and reservists

18:30    Break 3

18:53    Don Brandt and Tony Orlando - Tribute to Senator John McCain

26:31    The End



Biographies of Guests


Mr. Donald Brandt


Donald Brandt is Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle West and Arizona Public Service (APS).


In 2009, Brandt was elected to Pinnacle West’s board of directors and promoted to Chairman, President and CEO of Pinnacle West and Chairman and CEO of APS. Before assuming these responsibilities, Brandt held several leadership positions with the company, including APS president, executive vice president and chief financial officer. He again added the title of president of APS in 2013.


Prior to joining Pinnacle West in 2002, Brandt gained 20 years of power industry experience. He served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Ameren Corporation, a St. Louis-based energy company. Prior to Ameren, he was at Price Waterhouse & Co., where he provided accounting, audit and consulting services to Fortune 500 public companies.


A recognized industry leader, Brandt currently serves as chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute and vice chairman of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. He also sits on the board of the Edison Electric Institute. Brandt is a leader in the community as well, serving on the boards of the McCain Institute, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Nature Conservancy in Arizona.


Brandt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Louis University.


Mr. Tony Orlando


Tony Orlando is one of America’s most endearing and enduring iconic stars.  2017 finds Tony bringing his exhilarating energy, warmth and humor to a tour of live concert shows across the nation as he celebrates over five decades as a beloved entertainer.


2016 found Tony collecting a dizzying number of top honors. These include the Casino Entertainer of the Year Award, recipient of the “Best All Around Entertainer” Las Vegas which he has won a total of four times, and previously three times in Atlantic City; Jukebox Artist of the Year Award from the Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York; The Ellis Island Medal of Honor one of the nation’s most prestigious awards; The Bob Hope Award for excellence in entertainment from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society honoring his efforts on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Tony’s tireless work on behalf of our veterans led to his being named Honorary Chairman at the 40th Anniversary at the NAM-POW’s Homecoming Celebration at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in 2014. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Eisenhower Foundation as well as Honorary Chairman of Snowball Express, an organization that serves the children of our fallen military heroes.


Tony also hosts the Congressional Medal of Honor dinner every year in Dallas to honor our Medal of Honor recipients. He has also served as the Master of Ceremonies at the Secretary of Defense Freedom Awards at the Pentagon.  Few entertainers have excelled in so many realms as Tony has: a top selling recording artist, songwriter, concert headliner, network television star, Motion Picture actor, Broadway performer and author. Tony was also GM and Vice President of CBS-Music Division April-Blackwood Music from 1966-1970. He represented such songwriters as James Taylor, Laura Nyro, Blood Sweat and Tears and signed and produced Barry Manilow’s first recording while working for the legendary Clive Davis. Grammy Nominee Tony Orlando has sold millions of records, including five number one hits: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree,” “Knock Three Times,” “Candida,” “My Sweet Gypsy Rose” and “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).” 


“Tie A Yellow Ribbon” was the number one Billboard Song of 1973 and became Orlando’s theme song, and grew into an American anthem of hope and homecoming, reunion and renewal. He has 2 Platinum albums, 3 Gold albums and 15 Top 40 Hits. Tony Orlando and Dawn rank among the Top 100 Billboard Magazine artists of all-time.  The enormously popular Tony Orlando and Dawn television variety show ran for four seasons, from 1973 to 1977, on CBS.  The show catapulted Tony Orlando and Dawn from popular recording artists into major stars. Tony Orlando and Dawn was the first multi-racial singing group to star in a network television series. 


Tony is still one of the most popular live concerts artists, and has headlined around the world and entertained for five US Presidents.  Like a painter, Tony is an artist who steps onto a stage as if it were a blank canvas. Each show he weaves colorful emotions set to music touching the deepest part of a person’s heart. A 2016 review says it best, “The truth is: Tony Orlando is more than a singer. He has the ability to reach an audience, touch us inside, and connect with us on a higher level with his voice, style, and values.”


Tony is a recipient of three American Music Awards and two People’s Choice Awards for best male entertainer. For outstanding achievements to the entertainment industry Tony was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Orlando has a wife Francine, a daughter Jenny and a son Jon.


Your host Thomas B. Linquist is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lyceum Leadership Consulting and Lyceum Leadership Productions. Over his 16 years in management and leadership consulting he has served a wide array of industrial clients.  This includes leadership assessment and search for chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and boards of directors.  He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and over his 27-year career has served in a variety of roles: as an engineer with Shell Oil Company, a banker with ABN AMRO Bank, and as treasurer was the youngest corporate officer in the 150+ year history at Peoples Energy Company in Chicago.  He is an expert on hiring and promotion decisions and leadership development.  Over the course of his search career, he has interviewed thousands of leaders.


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Program Disclaimer

The only purpose of the podcasts is to educate, inform and entertain. The information shared is based on the collection of experiences of each of the guests interviewed and should not be considered or substituted for professional advice. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experience and conclusions, and neither The Leadership Lyceum LLC nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular content, recommendation or methodology discussed in this podcast.


This podcast Leadership Lyceum: A CEO’s Virtual Mentor has been a production of The Leadership Lyceum LLC. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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