Nicholas DeBenedictis serves as chairman emeritus of the board of directors for Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE: WTRG), one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million people across 10 states.
DeBenedictis was chairman and CEO of the Company from June 1993 to July 2015. During this time the Company grew from a market capitalization of $100 million in 1992 to $4.5 billion and experienced 15 years of record earnings.
Prior to joining the Company, DeBenedictis 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, DeBenedictis 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.
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.
DeBenedictis 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. DeBenedictis 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.
DeBenedictis was elected chairman of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau's board of directors in July 2004 and is the current president of the Pennsylvania Society. He currently serves on the policy committee of the Pennsylvania Business Council and is a former chairman of the council (formerly the Pennsylvania Business Roundtable). DeBenedictis is a member of the executive committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the board of directors for many regional businesses and economic and environmental organizations including: Drexel University, Exelon Corporation, PNC Bank - Southeast Pennsylvania Advisory, P.H. Glatfelter Company and Independence Blue Cross. He is a past president of the National Association of Water Companies. He is also chair of the risk mitigation and investment policy committee of the board of directors for Essential.