Chesapeake Utilities CEO rings bell on Wall Street

From left, Chesapeake Utilities’ delivery driver for Sharp Energy Kevin Wilson, Chesapeake President and CEO Jeff Householder, New York Stock Exchange Vice President of Listings and Services Chris Taylor and Chesapeake board member Ronald G. Forsythe Jr. celebrate the stock market opening on May 20. (Submitted photo/New York Stock Exchange)

DOVER — A small Dover-based business expanded into a multi-state company with a $1.5 billion market cap over the last two-and-a-half decades.

No wonder an array of Chesapeake Utilities staff took center stage at New York Stock Exchange on May 20. Executives, truck drivers, accountants, customer service representatives and more were among 40 members to hear the opening bell.

Recently appointed President and CEO Jeff Householder pushed a button to ring the bell for about 10 seconds, something he’d watched from afar “a million times.”

OK, not that many times but who could blame Chesapeake’s head for thinking big? Much of the company’s growth has come in the past 10 years of a 25-year-existence.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to take part in this historic tradition and stand with a group of our many key employees who have driven our growth over the last 10 years, which provides a strong foundation for our future growth” he said.

Junior Council, corrosion/leak specialist with Chesapeake Utilities in Dover, attended the May 20 New York Stock Exchange bell ringing. (Submitted photo/Chesapeake Utilities)

“Chesapeake’s combination of strategic focus, financial discipline and engaged employees has led to our company’s long track record of financial and operational success … the bell ringing event represents an excellent time to recognize all of our employees’ many efforts in driving our past success and positioning us for the future.”

Chesapeake corrosion/leak specialist Junior Council of the Energy Lane campus in Dover – approaching 52 years with the company – attended the opening.

Mr. Householder took an elevator to the trade floor, “which is exciting enough in itself,” The CNBC crew was broadcasting the start of another week and traders were scurrying everywhere.

“It’s an iconic institution in our country and it’s what makes America America,” he said.

For 150 years, the bell ringers have signed books to chronicle their appearance, and that’s just what Mr. Householder did.

“Some of the titans of industry have signed in so that’s a (tremendous honor) to now be part of,” he said.

Employees of Chesapeake Utilities stand with “Fearless Girl,” the statue created by Lewes sculptor Kristen Visbal, which faces off against Wall Street’s bull in New York City. (Submitted photo/Chesapeake Utilities)

In the past 10 years, Chesapeake has had a compound annual growth rate of shareholder value of 17.7 percent. The company has doubled its size twice during the period and increased market capitalization from $215 million in 2008 to its current $1.5 billion valuation. The market cap was $45 million when Chesapeake was listed on the exchange in 1993.

The NYSE saluted Chesapeake for “the contributions of the company’s employees, its 12 straight years of superior earnings growth and total shareholder return, and over 25 years of being listed on the NYSE.”

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