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Downtown the Sequel: Utilities consulting firm returning to CBD with Regions’ lease

utility managementUtility Management Corp. is returning to downtown Jackson after several years in Flowood.

A utilities consulting firm and oil and gas broker, Utility Management had its offices in the 111 E. Capitol St. building from its inception in 1987 through 2009.  It will move into a 7,000 square-foot space on the 11th floor of Regions Plaza in early November, according to CEO Howard Randolph.

The 16-employee company opted for the return to downtown after its lease at 2508 Lakeland Drive expired. “We are at the point we’d like to have a change of pace,” Randolph said. “We had a great experience in Flowood.”

The relocation decision got a boost when Utility Management signed a deal with Hertz Investment Group to manage energy and utilities usage and billings for the national commercial real estate company. Hertz, a major downtown Jackson landlord, owns and manages Regions Plaza.

“It’s always nice to have your client and landlord next door,” said Randolph, whose company has a 10-year lease for Regions Plaza.

Utility Management’s main specialty is the management of electrical power, natural gas, water, sewer and telecommunications for major users across the country.

“Our typical customer would be a large manufacturer, university or city with a natural gas system,” Randolph said.

As part of its utilities management, the company also pays monthly utilities bills for many of its customers, especially those in multiple locations such as hotels and banks. It follows up with an analysis designed to assist customers in controlling the amount of their bills. “We capture the data off those bills and help them (the clients) reduce their energy costs off that data,” Randolph said.

“Ten years ago that was not possible to do,” the CEO said. “Technology has allowed us to process a lot more utility bills today than what we could have done a few years ago.”

Technology has also helped revenues grow steadily across all of the company’s business areas, Randolph said.

Utility Management also brokers natural gas and other energy commodities in states and regions where the commodities are deregulated, according to Randolph.

Randolph’s father, Bill Randolph, and Gail Blackburn founded Utility Management in 1987 after long careers with Mississippi Valley Natural Gas.  The opportunity for starting the company came with the federal reregulation of the natural gas industry in 1987, according to Howard Randolph.

The senior Randolph and Blackburn sold the firm to the Tulsa, Ok.-based Williams Bros. Co. in 1997. Howard Randolph brought the company back into the Randolph family with a repurchase in 2002.

Moving into Regions Plaza gives Utility Management an opportunity to increase its Internet speed with fiber optics and to gain data redundancies, according to Randolph.

“We have to stay connected 24/7,” including during the upcoming move, he said.

Randolph said he is looking forward to seeing Capitol Street revitalized and the gaining of new neighbors once leasing begins in earnest at the Landmark Center, recently purchased by Israeli investor ZeevYochelman.

“You’re moving back just made it better,” said Ben Allen, president of Downtown Jackson Partners, in an email to Randolph Monday.

A pair of former Parkway Property executives handled the transaction. Steve Rogers represented Utility Management and Jim Ingram the Hertz Group.

The transaction gives Utility Management the option of taking an additional 4,000 square feet in the future.


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