The parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts announced a change in its local leadership Thursday, a day after Governor Charlie Baker declared that most of the critical construction in response to the Sept. 13 Merrimack Valley gas disasters has been completed.
Indiana-based NiSource Inc. named Mark Kempic as chief operating officer of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, responsible for the next phase of the restoration effort in the Merrimack Valley, which includes processing claims and following-up on needed repairs. He will also oversee daily utility operations for Columbia’s three service territories in Massachusetts.
Steve Bryant, president of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, will focus on external, customer, and regulatory responsibilities. Bryant has previously told the Globe that he had previously planned on announcing his retirement but then stayed on to lead the company through the restoration in Merrimack Valley.
Both Kempic and Bryant will report directly to Pablo Vegas, who was detailed from Indiana to serve as NiSource’s chief restoration officer for the recovery effort in Massachusetts. Vegas will reassume his post overseeing all of NiSource’s gas businesses, which include local utilities in seven states. He reports directly to Joe Hamrock, NiSource’s president and CEO.
“Safety and care for our customers are the foundation of our business,” Hamrock said in a statement. “As we transition to the next phase of the restoration effort in Massachusetts, our enduring commitment to the Greater Lawrence area is a top priority, and we are aligning our leadership team to continue to meet our customer and community needs across all our states.”