Two high-profile retirements at Cleveland Utilities over the past year that led to internal promotions and temporarily combined administrative roles reached some closure Friday with the naming of a new controller and a safety supervisor.
Last December when Vice President of Administrative Services Rick Lawson ended a 41-year career, he was succeeded by safety director Tim Henderson who became the department’s new VP, and by Jan Runyan, the long-time head of Human Resources who was named his assistant. In the year-long transition, Henderson never relinquished his safety director duties.
Earlier this year when CU President and CEO Tom Wheeler retired after 43 years, he was succeeded by Ken Webb, former senior vice president and chief financial officer. Since assuming Wheeler’s responsibilities Oct. 1, Webb briefly held down the duties of both the presidency and CFO.
In a rare Friday afternoon formal session in the utility’s training center, the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities was introduced to the service provider’s new safety supervisor and controller.
- John Corum, a graduate of the University of Tennessee where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a doctorate of education degree from the University of Texas at Austin; Corum will succeed Henderson in operating CU’s safety program. Corum has a strong East Tennessee connection, having served 20 years, until 2006, for the Knoxville Utilities Board as Environment, Health & Safety technician with responsibilities in safety and workers’ compensation.
- Marshall Stinnett, a graduate of Polk County High School who earned a bachelor’s degree from UT Knoxville in accounting and finance, and a master’s, also from UT, in accounting; Stinnett has been named CU controller, reporting directly to Webb. Stinnett joins CU from Ernst & Young in Chattanooga. E&Y is currently the second largest accounting firm in the world. At the Chattanooga office, Stinnett served as a member of the core audit team on the TVA account, and he also worked on the transportation and insurance industry accounts.
Corum joins Cleveland Utilities from western Nebraska where he designed, developed and implemented a Powerline Construction training program at Western Nebraska Community College where he served as program director and full-time faculty member. Additionally, Corum has served as a utility training consultant since 2008, assisting electric cooperatives and municipalities in workforce development and technical skills development training.
“A wise person once told me to always hire people smarter than you are,” Henderson told CU board members while introducing his new safety supervisor. “I certainly feel like we have accomplished this with John.”
Henderson pointed to Corum’s diversity and versatility as assets to Cleveland Utilities.
“[John] really brings a unique group of skill sets to this new position — education paired with blue-collar experience,” Henderson stressed.
The Administrative Services vice president pointed to Corum’s formal education at UT and the University of Texas at Austin as his white-collar assets, but said the incoming safety supervisor is also a graduate of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) Line Worker Apprentice course and the Merchant Job Training & Safety program.
“Regarding his professional work history, John has over 20 years of utility-related experience,” Henderson told the board.
Corum and his wife, Donna, have two children — a daughter, Sidney, who attends Cleveland High School, and a son, Brody, who attends Stuart Elementary.
Of the new safety leader, Henderson stressed, “He’s got a lot of good things to bring to us at Cleveland Utilities ... he’s a super addition to our staff.”
While introducing Stinnett, Webb said the new controller’s duties will include directing the general accounting department and the internal audit function for CU. He will assist Webb in the oversight of the Customer Service and Billing departments.
“Marshall has demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of accounting theory and concepts since coming to work at Cleveland Utilities,” Webb stressed. “His skills and abilities will be a tremendous asset to us as we go forward.”
Webb added, “I personally look forward to working with Marshall, and I ask each of you to please support him in his new responsibilities.”
Given their educational backgrounds at UT, both Corum and Stinnett were introduced as loyal followers of University of Tennessee Volunteers athletics.
On a related personnel note, Webb’s duties as CU president and CEO became official Friday as Wheeler’s effective retirement date was Nov. 1. Wheeler’s duties were actually transfered to Webb on Oct. 1 because the outgoing president and CEO was using a month’s worth of accrued personal and vacation days toward his retirement. He was not in the office throughout the month of October.