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Jackson Energy Authority Newsletter

Winter 2014

Inside … Retirements n

George Flew



Sam Turner



Mike Zowada p3


Sam Petty



Richard Emison p4

Water Department employees fix a water main leak on North Highland Avenue, above, and on Hollywood Drive, at right, after cold weather causes breaks throughout the city.


Extreme cold breaks gas records, causes broken water mains, pipes

Other stories


anuary 2014 was a record-setting month for Jackson Energy Authority as temperatures plunged and crews worked long, cold hours to meet the extreme demands placed on all systems. On January 6, the mercury dropped to 4 degrees Fahrenheit and never topped 14 degrees. It was the coldest day in 20 years. Water pipes burst and natural gas usage soared. Robert Mullins, Senior Manager of Operations, said January 6 was the highest gas-flow day in the company’s history with 61,358 million cubic feet of gas moving through the system. The previous peak was January 23, 2003. Robert said the department worked with its supplier, Texas Gas, and its industrial customers to make sure the system was prepared to handle the increased demand. And while Texas Gas delivered its lowest pressures ever to JEA, customers did not experience any problems. “It didn’t effect us, but it sure got our attention,” Robert said. He credited System Operators for looking at historical gas usage and anticipating the appropriate amount of demand. “Their preplanning has been very

John Rochelle p5

n Vincent

good,” Robert said. “They performed very well.” He also credited Gas System employees for closely monitoring pressure and making adjustments when necessary. “It was definitely a team effort.” Because temperatures were cold throughout the month, January had the highest gas-flow total since the winter of 1984 and 1985, Robert said. Fred Cunningham, Superintendent of Field Services, said JEA employees responded to 345 burst water pipes and 142 gas trouble calls at customer addresses between January 6 and January 8. During the same period last year, crews responded to 24 water trouble calls and 46 gas trouble calls. The water problems at customer businesses and homes were most often caused by empty homes with water on, but no heat on; fire sprinkler lines broken in non-heated areas of warehouses; and yard sprinkler systems with broken backflow preventers that were never winterized, said Mike Stegall, Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Distribution. Field Services employees responded well to the volume of customer calls and made sure everyone was taken care of, Fred said. “The employees are really close Continued on Page 6 ...


Hurst p5



n Anniversaries






Flower arrangements brighten Tennergy offices p6 n n n

New employees p7 Promotions


Employees give needy children a Christmas p8

Retirements …

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George Flew retires with a few more stories to share


alking to George Flew is somewhat of an adventure. You never know where the conversation will take you. No question has a simple answer, but every answer holds the strong possibility that you’ll learn something new. When George retired in December, he left with a wealth of information about the company and many stories still to tell. George, who retired as Vice President of Engineering, first arrived at Jackson Utility Division in spring 1969 as a co-op student. (He replaced co-op student Danny Wheeler, retired JEA President and CEO.) He went to the University of Tennessee at Martin for two years and then transferred to UT Knoxville to get his engineering degree because Martin didn’t have a four-year engineering program at the time. When he came back in fall 1976 for a full-time job, he replaced John Williams (another retired JEA President and CEO) as Project Engineer in the Electric Department. He spent the 1980s working for consulting and design firm Allen and Hoshall, but he continued to do many projects for JEA, including the design of the Madison West Industrial, East Park and Oakfield Primary substations and a long-range plan to upgrade the Electric System to 161kV. He returned to JEA in fall 1994 after the 1993 reorganization that aligned departments by what they did rather than by utility systems. He was the Planning Engineer for all systems. “In a major paradigm shift,” George said, “the first thing I did was build the Carriage House 161kV substation.”


n Gerald “Bubba” Plemons and Lauren Vaughn are the proud parents of a baby boy. Drake Ryan was born November 22. Gerald is a Gas Pipelayer in Distribution. n Zack and Becca Zehner are first-time parents. Their baby girl, Zoey Nicole, was born December 28. Zack is a Plant Maintenance

Drake Plemons

Zoey Zehner

“Coming back after the reorganization was exciting for me,” George said. He eventually became Vice President of Engineering, then Vice President of Information Systems and Vice President of Engineering again. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Information Systems,” he said. George, center, is surrounded by coworkers at a going-away lunch at Baudo’s. “In Engineering, once to Ireland, England, Africa and Auswe deal with problems all of the time. In IT, tralia. In Australia, he learned something surevery day someone had a problem. The fact prising: “I went to Alice Springs in the Outthat we could solve it was greatly satisfying.” back where I learned Alice Springs chicken is When he heard his former boss at Allen not very good. It’s better at Outback.” and Hoshall comment that an employee was Though he will continue to do some wearing “one of those ugly Hawaiian shirts,” work for JEA, he plans to live in Knoxville it gave him the idea of having an annual Ugly near his daughter, Amy, who is a curator at Hawaiian Shirt contest in his department. He the Knoxville Zoo and his frequent travel also enjoyed taking his staff out for lunches companion. Beyond that, his only plans “are and breakfasts on his ticket. to do whatever volunteer work they need at He also enjoys talking about his travels. the zoo that involves a shovel.” He particularly loves Scotland. “Amazing Will he miss JEA? “Gosh, yes,” he says, Grace on the bagpipes was a Top 40 hit in “particularly the people. I have good friends the 1960s, and I loved it,” he says. Years later here, and it won’t be easy.” when he went to a Scottish festival in So, he’s probably talking to the animals at Nashville and watched “60 pipers and 40 the zoo these days, answering questions and drummers walk across a field,” he was telling his stories. hooked. His website, where he talks about his “There’s a lot to be learned,” he says, “by travels, is at wandering the universe.” He’s been to Scotland four times, and Tech in Operations. n Jason and Jala Galloway have a new baby boy. Cason Michael was born Cason Galloway December 29. Jason is a Plant Operator in Operations. n Lee Ann Priddy has a new grandson. Garrick Jermaine Transou Jr. was born JanuGarrick Transou Jr. ary 8. His parents are Garrick and Chummere Transou. Lee Ann is Senior Billing Coordinator in Billing.

n Chesley and Jenny Dennison have a new baby girl. Sophie Ella was born on January 16. Chesley is the Sophie Dennison Telecom Commercial Sales Manager. n Clint Newsom and his wife, Melinda, have a new baby girl. Amelia Rose was born on February 6. Clint is an Environmental Sam- Amelia Newsom pler in Treatment Operations. Amelie’s grandfather is JEA Retiree David Newsom.

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Sam Turner joined JEA as a groundman


am Turner worked company event. his way from a “JEA has a lot of good, groundman in the dedicated people who are Electric Department to not only employees or Senior Manager of Marketcolleagues, they become ing and Communications your friends, and they are during 36 years of employa special part of what is ment with JEA. unique about Jackson His first day on the Energy Authority.” job was in January 1978, In retirement, he plans and he was a groundman to stay busy making knickfor a year before entering knacks in his woodshop the Apprentice Lineman for friends and volunteerprogram. During the ing at his church. And, he course of about 10 years, has three children, four he moved from Apprentice grandchildren and one Lineman to Lineman to great-grandchild in TenLead Lineman. nessee with whom he’ll After becoming a Sysspend time. Sam signs his retirement papers, while his wife, Paula, watches. tems Dispatcher, a position Sam was able to open “I’m very blessed,” Sam said. “We’ve he held for four to five years, Sam took classhis own business with the education he got a good organization to work for. I’ve es at Jackson State Community College, secured while working at JEA. been able to work and acquire an education earned an associate degree and took an openHe plans to continue working as a pering in the Customer Service Department. He and opportunities for advancement and formance improvement consultant for comthen worked on obtaining undergraduate and improvement.” panies. He added that he enjoyed being able to graduate degrees from Union University. Still, he remains fond of his time at JEA. make a living while serving the community. He held management roles in the Cus“It’s been a good organization to work tomer Service Department and was Vice Pres- When reflecting on his many years at JEA, with, and I’ve enjoyed my time there. After ident of Business Analysis before assuming his he said he would remember the people he 36 years, though, it’s time to open a new latest role in marketing and communications. worked with above any storm or notable book.”

Mike Zowada spent 34 years in Gas Department


as Department Foreman Mike Zowada retired from JEA on January 31 after 34 years with the company. It was a great job and a great experience, he said. And although Mike said you might not believe it, he got a little teary-eyed when he thought about leaving the company he had been with for so long. “It was a great bunch of people to work with everyday, and I enjoyed the work.” He has many memories that he’ll take with him — particularly the weather-related work required to support JEA in the aftermath of a storm. “I’ve been in every ice storm and all the tornadoes,” Mike said. “They’ve all been experiences that I’ll never forget.” A pipe welder since high school, Mike said he would continue welding in his retirement, taking on odd jobs as they arise. He also plans to hunt, fish, travel and spend

time with his wife and two grandchildren. One thing won’t change: he said he would still get up every morning at 4 or 5 a.m. “I’m just a morning person, but I’m going to enjoy not having to go to work every day.” Mike will stay in the Jackson area, and he plans to attend special events hosted by JEA. He also Mike Zowada and his wife, Nyoka. plans to keep in touch “I can’t forget my coworkers, that’s for with the people he has worked with for so sure. I’ve just been with them too long.” many years.

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Anniversaries January Rick Webb Richard Cogdell Mike Zowada Teresa Whiteford Charlie Jones Robert Mullins Stacy Scoggins Matthew Coffman Barry Harrison Edward Coffman Penny Knipper Jay Emison John Bray Darryl Ross Mitch Pigue Brandon Butler Kelly Readhimer Tracy Webster Bradley Henson Regina Kelly Angela Bond Jason Gable Gerald Plemons Tanisha Buford Dale Justice Charles Johnson Jim Halbrook


Lee Haskins Randy Nipp Mona Gates David Wright Donnie Garey Joe Poteet Sandra Wall Janeil Day Ricky Martin Janet Wilbanks Mark McCage Braxton Williams Hameen Harris Alan Couch Kathy Hopper Willie Rogers III Jennifer Ferrell Aaron Cooper Wes Alexander Phil Utley Kyle Dudley Jennifer Melugin Clint Lee Tim Rogers Alice Coleman Sheri Baker William Hill

1/26/76 1/30/78 1/11/80 1/26/81 1/04/93 1/21/97 1/24/00 1/02/01 1/16/01 1/14/02 1/27/03 1/10/05 1/10/05 1/31/05 1/03/06 1/12/06 1/15/07 1/22/07 1/29/07 1/29/07 1/09/12 1/23/12 1/29/12 1/02/13 1/13/13 1/25/13 1/30/13 2/15/82 2/13/83 2/23/90 2/12/91 2/18/91 2/18/91 2/25/91 2/20/92 2/24/92 2/28/96 2/03/97 2/16/98 2/01/99 2/01/01 2/05/01 2/19/01 2/26/01 2/11/02 2/28/02 2/10/03 2/11/03 2/17/03 2/02/04 2/01/07 2/19/07 2/04/08 2/19/13

More retirements! Sam Petty enjoyed being a pipelayer


out, he said. He rememam Petty, a Pipelayer bers working long hours in the Gas Departrestoring services after a ment, retired from tornado swept through JEA at the end of 2013. the area in 2003. He began as a temporary “That was an experiemployee in 1998 and ence because it was the joined the company full first time I had seen any time in 2000. devastation like that.” He worked with sevAnother tornado eral crews installing gas touched down in 2008, mains and fixing leaks, as causing $60,000 in damwell as terminating gas ages to his house. Sam services when necessary. “I said JEA helped him get enjoyed the work and Joyce Petty watches Sam sign his retirement papers. his lights back on and liked working with the recover from the storm. different crews. I got to know quite a few people.” In his retirement, Sam said he plans to travel Sam also said he enjoyed the company of his colleagues during the many company picnics and dinsome, but he’ll continue to live in the Jackson area. “I also plan to do a lot of work I need to do ners he attended throughout the years. around the house, inside and out,” Sam said. During his time at JEA, a couple of events stand

Richard Emison says he’s ready to slow down


ichard Emison logged 39 years of work in the Water and Wastewater Department before retiring on December 31. He began in 1975 as a work order clerk and retired as a foreman on an outside crew after several years as a pipelayer and foreman in the maintenance shop. And he’s not finished. Richard will stick around as a parttime inspector in the Engineering Department and work on an as-needed basis. “It’s bitter-sweet,” Richard said. “I really enjoyed working around the guys, and I’ll miss seeing them. But it’s not like I’m going to be completely gone.”

Coworkers, above, say goodbye to Richard Emison at his retirement party. At left, he signs his retirement papers. He said his new role would be beneficial for JEA as well as himself. It’ll help keep him busy in retirement. “I’m not ready to sit down — I’m just ready to slow down.” He has enjoyed his time at JEA and looks forward to a continued association with the company. “It’s been a good place to work,” Richard said. “This has really been the only full-time job I’ve ever had. It’s been good to me and good to my family.” When he’s not working part time for JEA, Richard said he would fix items on his honey-do list, spend time with his two grandchildren and travel.

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John Rochelle programmed PLCs


John retired December ohn Rochelle joined JEA 31. During his time at JEA, he in 1995 as a maintenance earned certification as a Master helper in the Electrician and Limited LiabilWastewater Treatment Plant ity Electrician. He also earned on Miller Avenue. It was a his commercial driver’s license, good job, he said. Collection Systems II license, “The job mostly involved Grade II Water Distribution electrical installation and Systems license and Grade IV troubleshooting on lift staWastewater Treatment Plant tions and the wastewater Operator license. treatment plants,” John said. He plans to continue to “I enjoyed installing electrical work with the company on a services, fabricating control part-time, as-needed basis as a panels and troubleshooting programmer. equipment.” In retirement, he will stay Much of his work at JEA busy. The top of his to-do list involved programming Prois to keep his wife, Diane, grammable Logic Controllers happy. The second item is to (PLCs). be nice to everyone with “When time rolled John Rochelle signs his retirement papers. whom he comes in contact. around to replace the Foxboro And then there are the grandchildren. “We have 15 controls at the Miller Plant with the current controls, I with another grandson due soon,” John said. “When got to chase a lot of electrons around so they would do the grandchildren are around, life is sweeter than apple what they were meant to do,” John said. He eventually moved to the Water Treatment Plant pie and vanilla ice-cream. Needless to say, we plan on maintenance group and then to WaterPro as a full-time taking them to McDonald’s for an apple pie and vanilla ice-cream cone often.” Maintenance Technician. “I enjoyed being at WaterPro John plans to host some overnight hog-roasting tremendously because of the opportunities to work barbecues for family and friends, as well as look for with the public,” he said. “Building and wiring control panels under Eddie O’Neill and Darryl Green’s supervi- ways to volunteer his time and skills to help others in the community. sion was a pleasure.” John also plans to finish writing his book about a He continued to program PLCs as well as install poor farm boy in Tennessee based on true stories and high-speed ethernet radio-controlled Supervisory Conmemories from the 1960s. And he plans to spend trol and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems on water “10,000-plus hours” improving his family farm. tanks. It gave him exercise, he said. And, he’ll keep in touch with his friends at JEA. “I “I often kidded people about climbing tanks. I’d say: ‘Some people pay gyms to exercise; when I climb, I worked with some very pleasant people. JEA was a nice place to work. I was proud to have a job there.” get paid to exercise.’”

Vincent Hurst retires after 22 years


incent Hurst, who joined JEA in 1992, retired as a Water/Wastewater Plant Maintenance Foreman on January 3. When he first started at JEA, he worked on the valve crew in the Distribution Department. As a Water/Wastewater Plant Maintenance Foreman, Vincent oversaw maintenance activities at the water and wastewater plants, tanks, pump stations, lift stations and other related facilities. He held a Grade IV Water Treatment Certification and a Grade II Distribution Certification.

n The family of Betty Hill, Retiree, who died November 25. She retired in 1992 after 20 years of service to Jackson Utility Division. n The family of Jewel Stephenson, Retiree, who died December 11. She worked at Jackson Utility Division from 1963 to 1990. n Steve Cronin, Field Service Foreman in Customer Service, whose father-in-law, Mack Lee Hale, died January 24. n Erric Kellum, Superintendent of Instrumentation and Controls in Operations, whose grandmother, Elsie KellumKing, died the first weekend in February. n Ray Lamport, Electric Foreman in Distribution, whose wife, Beth, died February 11. n Chris Strong, Part-time Customer Service Representative I, whose father, Jeff Strong, died February 15.



Vincent and Wanda Hurst look forward to retirement.

Sympathy to ...

ongratulations to Lori Phillips, Administrative Assistant, who graduated from Union University in December with a master’s degree in business administration.

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Flower arrangements brighten offices


ennergy’s Charlotte Armstrong has been picking flowers and making floral arrangements for as long as she can remember. “I would go out and get my flowers and put them on my little Charlotte Armstrong play table,” said Charlotte, the Energy Supply Coordinator. “My mother called it piddling.” Today, she grows her own flowers at home and brings live bouquets to work. They adorn her desk, Tennergy’s reception area and the table in the boardroom. She has been bringing them into work since she started with the company 17 years ago. “It has really grown

from year to year,” she said. She recently decorated the office with 18 spring arrangements of flowers made of silk; it’s too cold this time of year to grow them in her garden. For Thanksgiving, she created an extravagant tabletop display in the boardroom, complete with candles, pumpkins and a bouquet of flowers as the centerpiece. “It’s like therapy for me,” said Charlotte, who has a music degree from Union University. “If you tend to be creative in any Charlotte Armstrong’s flower and table arrangeway, it has to come out some ments, including her transformation of the how. I love the flowers, and I love boardroom table for Thanksgiving, at top, and a to see smiles on peoples’ faces.” spring bouquet, bring beauty to Tennergy offices.

Cold weather ... JEA follows protocol to Continued from front page ...

down here, and they’re all going to pitch in and tackle the work load.” Water Distribution employees had to repair 30 broken water mains throughout the month of January, Mike said. During the cold snap, they were repairing two water mains a day. Typically, he explained, crews fix an average of 100 water mains the whole year. Water main breaks are caused by inferior pipe, aged infrastructure and expansion and contraction of the pipe and ground around it, he said. “We usually see most of our break activity in the winter months, often after temperatures have cooled down and then start warming up. No doubt this January has been a roller coaster ride with temps up and down.” “The crews do an excellent job of responding to main breaks within our system,” Mike said. “They protect the public’s safety and maintain the integrity of the water system.” “They also do an extremely good job to minimize any customer water outages,” he added. “Most of our main break repairs are made without shutting off the water and fixing the break under pressure. Often customers never know anything occurred.”

repair broken water lines


o avoid any potential contamination, JEA repairs most water main breaks while they are still under pressure. But when repairs cannot be completed while maintaining sufficient pressure, JEA follows a standard protocol to fix the problem, explained Mike Stegall, Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Distribution. In a short summary: n Crew members will first go to each home or business affected by the outage and turn off the meter or fire line as necessary. n Side-street, main-line valves are then turned off, and then the section of pipe that contains the break is isolated. n Once isolated, the crew removes the damaged section of the water main and replaces it with a new section,

which is disinfected before and during installation. n When the new pipe is installed, the section of water main that contained the break is turned back on. Crews then flush the section, usually at the nearest fire hydrant, to remove any deposits or air in the water main. n Once the section is flushed thoroughly, a bacteriological sample is taken and sent to JEA’s lab for analysis. The results are provided the following day. n Crew members then return to each individual home or business to turn the meters back on and flush customers’ service lines. If a customer is not at home, the meters are left off until someone is home so service can be turned back on. The crew then turns the side-street valves back on, returning the system back to normal.

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Luke Cain

Julie Cole

Ryan Landers

Jacob Myracle

Larence Pirtle

Miller Pounds

Michael Richerson

Chris Strong

Richard Watson

Welcome new employees ... n Luke Cain, a Groundman in Distribution, who previously worked for DET Distributors. n Julie Cole, Part-time Customer Service Representative I, who comes to JEA after working for E. Daniels Custom Tailor. n Ryan Landers, Temporary Water and Wastewater Pipelayer, who joined JEA after working for Central Distributors. n Jacob Myracle, Temporary Gas Pipelayer in Gas Distribution, who previously worked for Bird Family Farms. n Larence Pirtle, Temporary Serviceman Assistant for ProGas, who joined JEA after working for Volunteer Express. n Miller Pounds, Apprentice Lineman in Distribution, who previously worked for Pike Electric. n Michael Richerson, Part-time Customer Service Representative

I, who previously worked for State Farm Insurance. n Chris Strong, Part-time Customer Service Representative I, who comes to JEA after working for McCoy’s Heating & Air. n Richard Watson, Temporary Gas Pipelayer in Gas Distribution, who joined JEA after working for Storm Shelters of Tennessee.

Job changes …


ongratulations to the following employees on their promotions and job changes … n Wes Alexander is an Apprentice Lineman in Distribution. He previously was a Plant Telecom Technician. n Casey Brooks was promoted from Customer Service Representative I to Plant MainteWes Alexander nance Technician I in Operations. n Jason Brooks is a new Utility Locator Foreman in Distribution. His past position was Utility Locator. n Brandon Butler is a Press Operations Technician. He previously was a Groundsworker. n Matthew Coffman was promoted from Maintenance Lineman to Superintendent of Telecom Field Services. n Matthew David is a Plant Maintenance Technician I in Operations. He previously was Matthew Coffman a Press Operations Technician. n Jason Gable was promoted from Gas Pipelayer to Senior Gas Pipelayer in Gas Distribution. n David Hale was named Plant Maintenance Foreman in Operations. He previously was a Meter Tech II. n Noelle Lipscomb was promoted from Part-time Customer Service Representative I to Full-time Customer Service Representative I. n Brian Seaton was promoted from Senior Gas Pipelayer to Gas Foreman in Distribution. n John Shilliday, who previously was a Groundsworker, was named a Telecom Serviceman I in the Telecom Department.

Casey Brooks

Jason Brooks

Brandon Butler

Matthew David

Jason Gable

David Hale

Noel Lipscomb

Brian Seaton

John Shilliday

E Dispatch The

Jackson Energy Authority P.O. Box 68 Jackson, TN 38302

The Dispatch

is the employee newsletter for Jackson Energy Authority, 119 E. College St., Jackson, TN 38301 731-422-7500 n

Publisher: Aletza Boucher Editor: Mary S. Reed Contributors: Stacy Scoggins, Janet Wilbanks, Chrissy Vandiver n

The next “Dispatch” will be in March/April. Send items for the issue to Aletza Boucher by March 20.

Employees support needy children


ore than 50 children across Jackson received Christmas presents this year through the Tennergy and JEA Employees Underprivileged Children’s Fund. The fund’s committee was given 54 names from the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center and the Department of Children’s Services, said Customer Account Clerk Donna Whitaker. Employees picked names and purchased presents for children in need. The committee also raised money for gifts through employee payroll deductions and candy bar sales. “We’re blessed with our employment, and we try to share with others and give back when we can,” Donna said. “This is one of the ways we do it.” Along with the presents, each child received at least one set of clothes and a pair of shoes. Donna said the kids are elated when they receive their gifts. “These are children that would not have very much of a Christmas, or any Christmas, if it weren’t for groups like us.” JEA’s Christmas fund committee members include Donna, Michelle Weeden, Connie Clark, Penny Knipper, LaCosta Diggs, Julia Lester and Jack-

Employees are surrounded by presents for underprivileged children at Christmas. ie Arnold. Donna also said a special thanks goes to Beth Wilson for her help. “We, the committee members, would like to thank all involved for giving of themselves so that others less fortunate could have a merry Christmas,” Donna said. Page 8

Mission Our mission is to provide exceptional utility services that create value for our customers and our community. Vision JEA will continue to improve the quality of life in our community through the delivery of high-quality services to our customers. • JEA will be an industry leader in providing utility services, exceeding the expectations of our customers. • JEA’s employees will be recognized by those we serve as the most knowledgeable, highly-skilled and customer-focused workforce available. • JEA will be a leader in the economic development of the community we serve. Values The values that reflect our culture and which our employees must possess to ensure our mission and vision are: Integrity • Respect Fairness • Loyalty Innovation

Winter 2014 Dispatch