Finalists Named for Utility Board

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., May 7, 2015 – The Kissimmee Utility Authority board of directors on Wednesday interviewed seven applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the five-member volunteer utility board. An eighth candidate was not able to participate in a scheduled interview.

The outgoing director, Kathleen Thacker, has served one term on the board and is eligible for reappointment.

Per the guidance of the Kissimmee City Commission, the board narrowed the list to three recommended applicants whose names have been sent to the commission for a second round of interviews and final appointment on May 19.

The recommended applicants are:

– PETE EDWARDS, former president of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce, St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and Osceola Center for the Arts. He was previously a member of the Osceola County School Board and served as chairman for two years. A Vietnam veteran, Edwards is a 59-year resident of Osceola County and a graduate of the University of Florida.

– MANUEL ORTEGA, a resident of Kissimmee for two years and a former law enforcement officer for Broward County, Florida and New Bedford, Massachusetts. A retired Navy captain, he holds criminal justice degrees from Western New England College in Massachusetts and Salvia Regina College in Rhode Island. He previously served on the airport commission in New Bedford.

– KATHLEEN THACKER, a current member of the KUA board of directors. She is a retired 30-year employee of Orange County Public Schools and holds degrees from Florida State University and Western Carolina University. She has resided in Kissimmee for nearly 13 years.

The candidate appointed by the city commission will be sworn in at the board’s October meeting.

Founded in 1901, KUA ( is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 67,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.

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Contact: Chris Gent
(407) 933-9836