NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, an organization representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 million consumers they serve, announces the appointment of David Callis as executive vice president and general manager. Callis replaces Tom Purkey who recently announced his retirement.

Callis began his career with the Tennessee Valley Authority as an accountant and then as supervisor of power revenue. He then worked at Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation for almost nine years, serving first as director of finance and administration and then as general manager. In 2001 he joined the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association as the director of government and public affairs, and in 2010 he was named vice president of statewide services. Callis has served on the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives and the South Kentucky Industrial Development Association.

Callis and wife Dawnn have been married for 32 years and have two children, Megan, 27, and Brian, 23. Dawnn works with XO Communications in Nashville. Megan works as a legislative assistant for Tennessee State Senator Tim Barnes and is attending law school. Brian is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and works as an accountant at Franke in Smyrna.

“David has a deep appreciation for the electric cooperative business model,” says Bill Rogers, president of the association’s board of trustees. “He is immensely talented, well respected and a passionate advocate for Tennessee’s cooperatives and their members.”

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical.

Download a high-resolution image of David Callis.

 

In the first week of session, the primary focus of both the House and Senate has been on the 10-year reapportionment of legislative districts. While there was some debate over the composition of these districts, as well as several tweaks along the way, the plans were approved almost as originally presented.

An initial analysis of the new districts shows that the plan does not cause any tremendous impacts to Tennessee’s cooperatives, or any of our cooperatives’ strongest supporters. That said, a number of changes in representation among cooperatives will occur.  For example, the headquarters locations of seven or TECA’s members will now be located in a new Congressional District.  TECA staff is working to produce lists and/or maps of the districts that will be a part of each cooperative’s service area.  These will posted on the Members Only section of the website soon.

Tennessee State House Districts

Based on 2010 population

Tennessee State Senate Map

Based on 2010 population

 

 

 

 

 

US. Congressional Map

Based on 2010 population

by Tom Purkey, Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

I had a wonderful November. Each year representatives from all Tennessee electric co-ops gather for an annual membership meeting, just like the individual cooperatives do, featuring speakers who provide a host of useful information and political leaders to report on our state and country.

This year’s meeting was special for me: It was my last. I gave my usual report to the representatives of the 23 member electric cooperatives that make up the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association; however, on the first evening, I was honored that more than 400 people attended a reception for me. Four managers who do what I do at other states even came and made really kind remarks.

It was a wonderful way to finalize my tenure at TECA. Seeing friends from the past as well as current friends and folks with whom I work … it was the highlight of my career. But besides that, I had my wife, Sharon, and all four of our children and six grandchildren by my side. That was special. Being able to introduce my whole family to the managers, directors, employees, attorneys and other guests was very rewarding.

I originally reserved this column to introduce you to the newest Purkey — a grandson scheduled to arrive mid-December, the fifth child for my son, Justin, and daughter-in-law, Lisa. But he’s decided to choose his own delivery date, so at the time of publication, he’s still in a “holding pattern.” When I think about “Baby Purkey,” I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for him as he lives his life. What does his “future plan” look like?

No one can answer that question, but everything we do will affect his life. A preacher at our church recently said that any kind deed we do to another person resonates eternally and changes things in other people’s lives forever. That statement is a sobering thought: that we are all constantly changing the lives of people around us.

Having grandchildren will certainly keep me on my toes at all times, especially knowing that every good deed is like a rock being tossed into a lake … the resulting waves go out over and over again, affecting the water clear to the shoreline. We generally refer to it as the “ripple effect.”

I look forward to touching the life of our new grandson as well as the lives of the rest of the grandchildren, and I’m hopeful that their lives will reflect the good deeds that they see from all their family, including their Papa and Granny.

I have enjoyed my career at TECA, and I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family. Goodbye, and may God bless each of you in everything you do.

Mike Knotts, Director of Government Affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

I love “The Andy Griffith Show.” That’s not exactly breaking news, I know. It’s only one of the most popular television shows in history. And I suppose having a father whose name is Don Knotts may have helped pique my interest many years ago. But few can disagree that there is just something about that program that resonates with people across America.

While my father was not the actor who played the iconic Barney Fife, I do relish the thought of life in Mayberry. Life was simple, doors were not locked, people helped one another during hard times, Aunt Bee’s cooking was the best (except for those pickles!) And occasionally the Darlings rolled into town to pick a song or two.

Over the past couple of years I have enjoyed exposing my three young boys to Andy and Opie and the rest of the characters. Sometimes they get a history lesson. “Dad, why does Barney have to ask Sarah to call the diner? Why doesn’t he just use his iPhone?” Sometimes they learn a great moral lesson about telling the truth or the consequences of unethical or unlawful behavior. Sometimes they see how important it is to serve others — can you think of a single episode where Andy Taylor does anything for his own gain? And sometimes they just laugh at Barney’s wide-eyed look of frustration when something else didn’t work the way he planned.

Yes, I love “The Andy Griffith Show.”

And while I readily admit that the world we live in is much different than Mayberry, couldn’t we all learn a little bit from it? I think so. Honesty, integrity and selflessness are not character traits that we readily associate with our political leaders of late, but I can tell you that those qualities still exist — and in great supply. But then again, maybe our world isn’t that different from Mayberry. For real fans of the show, you might recall that Mayor Stoner had a hard time respecting the separation of powers between the mayor and sheriff — that is, until a black bear and ornery bull taught him otherwise.

I’ve been involved in politics and government for more than 15 years now, and my experience has ranged from stuffing envelopes for political candidates to serving on the staff of a member of Congress as well as being appointed by the president of the United States to a position in his administration. I’ve seen a lot of good people working very hard for the future of this country and, yes, even a Mayor Stoner or two.

So when I came to work for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association a little less than one year ago, I was given the responsibility of protecting the interests of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives before both the state and federal governments — no small task, but one I have readily accepted.

As a member-owner of an electric cooperative, you share a unique experience with about 1 million other rural and suburban Tennesseans. You don’t just buy your power from your local co-op; you own your local co-op! The reality of that statement is that you are an owner of a business that is critical to our modern society, is technically complex, requires lots of money to build and operate and is a vital part of our communities. Oh, and the product you sell can kill you if not handled properly. This is serious business!

So it is only natural that the activities of your cooperative are frequently the subject of proposed new laws or government regulations. As these changes are proposed and debated in Washington, D.C., and Nashville, we will always advocate positions that keep your cooperative strong and able to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to your home and business. And we will do what it takes to ensure that the millions of voices of our association are both heard and respected.

As I have been telling electric cooperative employees across the state, we have a unique responsibility to help guide our lawmakers to sound energy policies. Our association takes this responsibility seriously. I look forward to using this column as well as our website at www.tnelectric.org over the years to come to keep you informed about these issues.

Hopefully our editorial oversight will better than the Mayberry Sun, Opie’s newspaper that focused on Mayberry gossip.