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Power Board public relations chief leaving post

Madison Mathews • Apr 8, 2013 at 9:33 PM

After nearly 30 years with the Johnson City Power Board, Robert White is leaving his post as the utility’s chief public relations officer to run a utility in Kentucky.

White will vacate his role at the Power Board May 10 to assume his new role as CEO of the Russellville Electric Plant Board in Russellville, Ky.

Like the JCPB, the Kentucky utility purchases its power from the Tennessee Valley Authority. Additionally, the Electric Plant Board offers broadband telecommunications services.

The additional services offered by the utility was one of the things that attracted White to the Kentucky market.

“It’s a small community that’s forward-thinking enough to deploy the advanced communications network that they have. They’re already offering internet, phone and cable to their customers. They’ve been doing that for almost two years now,” he said.

The Electric Plant Board is located in a much smaller community than that of the JCPB, serving about 4,000 customers.

White began his career with the Power Board in 1984 as a meter reader.

“That was back when we had to read the meters. The only thing smart was our brain,” he said.

Before serving as chief public relations officer, White served in a number of other roles at the utility, including assistant stockkeeper and manager of maintenance, purchasing and transportation department.

White, a native of Johnson City, said he and his wife, Karen, a third-grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary School, are looking forward to the new opportunity despite leaving the area they’ve called home.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity, but there will be some sadness because I’m leaving the community that I’ve known and I’ve grown up in and raised my family here ... but sometimes God provides opportunities and there are necessary endings for new beginnings,” he said.

Jenny Brock, chairwoman of the Power Board’s board of directors, said White’s service over the past 28 years has been a major asset to the utility.

“I think Robert White has been kind of the face of the Power Board to Johnson City and the rest of our service area for many years, and it’s really benefitted the Power Board well and taken it through the changes with the Power Board,” she said.

Brock said White will be missed, but she’s happy to see him further his career.

“He’s going to have a great knowledge base in that job and be able to get the position that he’s been wanting and looking for,” she said.

Power Board CEO Jeff Dykes also said the utility will miss White’s service.

“Robert’s a great gentleman and I know this is something he’s looking forward to. I think he’ll do a great job for those folks out there and we’ll certainly miss him, but we wish him the very best,” he said.

Following White’s departure from the utility, Dykes said officials will begin looking at what to do with the position as the Power Board moves forward.

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