The recipient of the 2010 Ellipse Award is Nicholas DeBenedictis, Chairman and CEO of Aqua America, Inc. Nick was elected Chairman of Aqua America, Inc. (formerly Philadelphia Suburban Corporation) in May 1993, 10 months after joining the corporation as its president and chief executive officer, and chairman of its principal subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania (formerly Philadelphia Suburban Water Company). Since then, Nick has led Aqua in fulfilling its mission to its customers: the reliable delivery of quality drinking water—a service that is basic to the quality of life we enjoy in the United States—and the environmentally responsible disposal of wastewater. Aqua’s commitment to providing quality water and wastewater services and the capital investment in key water and wastewater infrastructure have thrived under Nick’s stewardship. Nick considers the health of our nation’s infrastructure to be a top priority, and has led Aqua to invest more than a billion dollars to improve its plants, tanks, distribution systems and other infrastructure. Nick’s vision of a world where everyone has access to clean drinking water and good sanitation, as well as his ability to lead change to make those visions a reality, are among the many reasons that he has been chosen as the recipient of the 2010 Ellipse Award.
Prior to joining Aqua America, DeBenedictis spent three years (1989-1992) as senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for PECO Energy, responsible for government relations, economic development and environmental policies, plus implementation of the utility's public policy positions. DeBenedictis 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.