George B. McGuffin was awarded the Power of Excellence Award by the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association at their annual meeting on Thursday, July 15th. Nominated by Morristown Utilities, he was recognized for his commitment to public power and his community.
“I’m very honored and pleased to serve,” he said.
As a lifelong resident of Morristown, McGuffin has achieved prominence and recognition for his many outstanding contributions to the community. In 2008, he won the R. Jack Fishman Community Service Award McGuffin was first appointed by Morristown’s City Council to the MU Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1, 1977 and has served as Chairman of the Board since Sept. 2, 1992.
For the last 44 years, he has been consistently reappointed to not only serve on the board but remain its chairman, showing the confidence held among City leaders and the trust placed in him by the MU board.
He was first nominated by Mayor John Johnson. Looking back, he said he finds it hard to believe.
“Looking back on it, I never would have thought I’d be part of Morristown utilities 44 years later,” he said.
McGuffin was crucial in the decisions that MU made to expand infrastructure for three industrial parks in Morristown. Parks, which today, provide over 14,000 manufacturing jobs not only for Morristown but surrounding counties.
Through his support for industry, housing and commercial development, he played a major role for economic growth in Morristown and the Lakeway Area. He oversaw the acquisition of TVA assets and the expansion of MU’s Power System to support the utility with solid electric infrastructure that provided capacity and reliability to recruit industry for those parks. As of today, over 70% of all MU electric sales come from industry.
Throughout his tenure as chairman for MU, he has presided over substantial investments for their regional water system. That system provides water to city customers and wholesale services to three utility districts, reaching over 35,000 customers in a total of five counties. In the early 2000s, MU’s Filtration Plant doubled its capacity to position itself as the reliable water supply for the Lakeway Area.
McGuffin provided the guidance and leadership when MU went into the business of fiber-to-the-home telecommunications, with their launch of FiberNET in 2006. Entering telecommunications was a unique and challenging business, but one that was entered into because of the request from the city to improve services and broadband speeds for the community. The support from him not only allowed the service to succeed, but become the platform to advance MU’s Electric System.
In 2014, McGuffin was at the helm when MU assumed operations from the city for the wastewater system.
The MU Board understood that MU had the engineering and technical abilities to improve the failing system and manage the improvements mandated by TDEC. MU took the responsibility of the wastewater system and the leadership to improve infrastructure and protect public safety.
The last decade in the utilities industry has seen an advert of technology, something that McGuffin has embraced, allowing for state-of-the-art technologies that provided demand response, smart metering, and computerized advancements. Throughout his leadership, he continued to advance the utility and raise their performance to a new level to match customer needs; because of that, MU has held the American Public Power Association’s RP3 designation since 2005, with the last nine years at its highest level diamond certification. As a successful businessman and community leader, he brought a solid business experience, strong financial knowledge, a sense of fairness for customer policies and an overwhelming love for his community as chairman of MU’s Board. MU’s customers and employees have benefited from McGuffin’s loyalty, support, and leadership for the last 44 years, something that will continue on.
MU General Manager, Jody Wigington, expressed his appreciation for his chairman’s service.
“It has been my honor to serve the Commission under his leadership and over the years, he has become a close personal friend,” he said.