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Profile: Bruce M. Baldwin

By FRED W. WRIGHT Jr.

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 5, 2001


NEW POSITION: Vice president of Combustion Turbine, or CT, Operations Department, Florida Power Corp. and CP&L, St. Petersburg.

PREVIOUS POSITION: Acting director of CT Operations Department, Florida Power Corp. and CP&L, St. Petersburg.

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Expanding his 31-year relationship with Florida Power Corp., Bruce M. Baldwin has been named vice president of the Combustion Turbine Operations Department for Florida Power and its sister utility, Carolina Power & Light.

Baldwin is one of the few senior Florida Power executives to make the transition to the new Progress Energy Corp., formed last year when CP&L Energy of Raleigh, N.C., acquired the St. Petersburg electric utility's parent company, Florida Progress.

Baldwin began his career with Florida Power in 1969 after graduating from Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

"My plan, as far as 21-year-olds have plans, was to go into the electric utility industry," he said. "Fortunately, a company like ours is large enough to have enough variety in it."

Baldwin has held a number of engineering and management positions at Florida Power, including manager of distribution operations, manager of engineering operations, manager of the North Suncoast Division, director of materials and contracts and director of Energy Supply Services.

"That's the way it remains interesting," he said about the various roles he's played at Florida Power since 1969, "exciting and learning and all that."

Baldwin, 53, earned a master's degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology. And he completed executive management programs at Stanford University and at the University of Michigan.

As vice president of CT Operations, Baldwin is responsible for 99 combustion turbine units at 25 sites in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The department has approximately 230 full-time employees.

Combustion turbines are one of the energy-producing technologies used by Florida Power and CP&L. The turbines are similar to jet engines, Baldwin said, and are fueled by either natural gas or "light" oil.

"The challenge today that we face is to continue to provide safe, reliable, low-cost electrical energy in a rapidly changing industry," he said. "In a big-picture way, our industry throughout the country is on the verge of deregulation to introduce competitive dynamics into the electrical energy business."

Baldwin is confident deregulation will happen in Florida. "It's just a question of when," he said.

"The basics of free enterprise, I think, are still sound," he said. "Our business right now is one of the more interesting and dynamic ones that there is.

"Hopefully, (the electricity crunch in) California will affect Florida for the best in that we will all, throughout the country, learn from the few missteps in California and we'll handle deregulation much better when the time comes in Florida."

Baldwin, who lives in Seminole, is married and has two children.

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