As a native of the area, Jeff Dykes is looking forward to getting back to his roots when he assumes his new role as president and CEO of the Johnson City Power Board next month.
“I think this is probably the greatest opportunity someone could have. This is a great utility, some of the best people that you’ll ever meet right here. ... It’s an opportunity to see the community grow and develop and I hopefully will be a part of that,” he said Wednesday during a news conference in which he met with local media and community leaders.
Dykes, a native of Elizabethton and graduate of Milligan College, was chosen to lead the Power Board in November after a lengthy search and interview process. He is leaving his post at nearby Newport Utilities, where he serves as general manager.
Prior to serving with Newport Utilities, Dykes was vice president and general manager of Trigen Kansas City Energy/Trigen Missouri Energy/Veolia Energy North America. His other experience includes being general manager of the Elizabethton Electric System and power supervisor/project construction liaison and project manager/engineer for Westinghouse Savannah River Co.
Dykes’ wife, Ricki, is a special education teacher at Lake Ridge Elementary School. They have two children.
When speaking to the crowd gathered in the utility’s board room, Dykes said he is looking forward to working alongside Power Board employees as they serve the community and do their best to ensure rates are as low as possible.
Working with community leaders to make sure the Power Board is at the forefront of economic development is another area Dykes is hoping to grow.
“Johnson City, I believe, is in a great position to grow. It’s one of the most beautiful areas you could ever live in but also it has a lot of the assets that companies are looking for. You’ve got some hard-working people here with strong ethics and work practices, and those are things that I’m excited to be a part of and I see that in the folks here,” he said.
As changes in laws and regulations are coming into effect and the rising price of gas power within the Tennessee Valley Authority system, Dykes said most of the challenges the Power Board will face in the future will be coming from outside the utility.
Keeping up to date with technology and maximizing the services the Power Board provides, such as adding telecommunications to the mix, is one way to meet the challenges the utility will face.
“It’s a great opportunity from an economic development side to provide things for the community. It’s more of a lease or taking of assets we have in place and maximizing the use of them,” he said.