By Gabrielle Fimbres
Whether it’s cheering at his daughters’ dance competitions or watching old reruns of “Magnum, P.I.” And “Murder, She Wrote,” David G. Hutchens’ favorite time is spent with family.
“Those old shows are so corny but we love watching them together,” said Hutchens, president and COO of UNS Energy, Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. In May Hutchens will step up to CEO.
Hutchens, who joined TEP as an engineer nearly two decades ago, is a 2014 Father’s Day Council Tucson Father of the Year.
“People in the community don’t always know how important fatherhood is to me because you don’t really talk about it that much when you are in business meetings,” he said. “My wife and daughters are extremely important to me. I strive to keep family first and foremost above everything else.”
Hutchens and his wife of 25 years, Cathy, are parents to Danielle, 20, and Gabrielle, 17.
Raising funds for type 1 diabetes research through Father’s Day Council Tucson is an important undertaking, he said. “You don’t know how prevalent this disease is and how devastating it can be. It can be so scary and life threatening.”
His wife recently joined the Steele Children’s Research Center advisory board, and they are committed to supporting research for improved treatment and an eventual cure for type 1 diabetes and other illnesses that impact children.
Hutchens came to Tucson from Minneapolis to attend The University of Arizona, and met his wife, a Tucson native. He received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. “I graduated, got commissioned in the U.S. Navy the same day and got married two weeks later.”
He was in the Navy for five years, working on nuclear submarines. “Cathy was with me the whole time, and we travelled all around the U.S.”
Hutchens, who also holds an MBA with an emphasis on finance, returned to Tucson and joined TEP in 1995.
He said Tucson has been a great place to raise his family. “Tucson is a tight, close-knit community that still feels like a small town.”
While the economy “took the wind out of our sails” in recent years, he sees progress, especially in the growing downtown, where his company has its headquarters.
“It’s just starting to get that critical mass where you feel like this can be a very vibrant downtown, something you hope will attract people to come and live in Tucson,” he said.
On the business front, Hutchens is excited about the future.
“For our industry and TEP, it’s a new age. We are seeing a lot of new technology and we are seeing more people who are interested in sustainability and energy efficiency – using less electricity to get more of whatever they are trying to get, which is absolutely the right thing to do. There is a lot of change on the horizon and we stand at the ready to deliver what our customers want from us in integrating all of those new technologies and sustainability efforts.”
Giving back to the community is important to both Hutchens and TEP.
“We have 2,000 employees throughout the state and about 1,300 here in Tucson who live and have their families in the community,” he said. “It is where we live, where we work, where we play and it’s important for a community organization like ours to give back. It helps us be a very strong part of the community that we live in.”
TEP’s Community Action Team volunteers have donated more than half a million hours to Tucson and eastern Arizona causes in the past 20 years.
“You see our folks helping out all throughout the community and it makes you feel good to be part of that,” Hutchens said. “I have passed that on to my kids. They got the volunteering bug.”
In addition to serving on industry boards, Hutchens is involved with the Tucson Conquistadores, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and DM50.
How does he balance commitment to family, career and community?
“You have to force the balance. You have to say no sometimes. I make sure I focus on my wife and kids first. I still work hard, but my family is my hobby. When I have free time, I like to spend it with them.”