Nicholas DeBenedictis is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Aqua America (now Essential Utilities) from June 1993 to July 2015. The company grew from a market capitalization of $100 million in 1992 to $6 billion today and experienced twenty years of record earnings.
Prior to joining Aqua America, Nick spent three years (1989-1992) as senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for PECO Energy, a $4 billion publicly traded nuclear utility. He was responsible for government relations, economic development and environmental policies, plus implementation of the utility’s public policy positions. He now serves on the Board of Exelon, of which PECO is a subsidiary.
From 1986 to 1989, Nick was president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He successfully designed and implemented various economic and business development programs to service the Chamber’s growing membership, which dramatically increased to more than 5,500 businesses, putting it among the five largest in the nation.
Nick served in two cabinet positions in Pennsylvania government: Secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources (1983-1986) and Director of the Office of Economic Development (1981- 1983). Before joining the cabinet, he spent eight years (1973-1981) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, first as the Assistant Regional Administrator for Region 3, based in Philadelphia, before being transferred to serve in Washington, D.C. from 1980-1981.
Nick received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Drexel University in 1968, and a Master’s degree in environmental engineering and science from Drexel in 1969. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers between 1970 and 1973 reaching the rank of Captain. Nick has received an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Widener University, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from Drexel University, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Misericordia University.
Nick is currently Chairman of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (PCVB) Board of Directors and is the past president of the Pennsylvania Society. Nick is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He also currently or has served on the Board of Directors for many regional businesses, economic and environmental organizations. These include: Drexel University, Exelon Corporation, PNC Bank – Southeast Pennsylvania Advisory, P.H. Glatfelter Company, Independence Blue Cross, and Mistras Group, in addition to Aqua. He is a past president of the National Association of Water Companies. Nick has received numerous awards for public service and civic leadership.
Nick has served as a member or advisor of the Pennoni Board of Directors since 1997.