Athens Utilities Board (AUB) has a new power superintendent.
Kevin Goins was named to the position this week as David St. John, AUB’s current power division leader, prepares to leave AUB to be a consultant in the power industry.
Goins has been at AUB more than 20 years, beginning as an intern before becoming a full-time employee in the spring of 2000. A year later, in the spring of 2001, he moved from water and wastewater to the company’s power division and has never looked back.
Since his days as an intern, where he worked as a wastewater laborer and warehouse assistant, Goins has moved through the roles of apprentice lineman, lineman, assistant crew foreman, line crew foreman and director of Power System Operations.
Now, he takes on the top job in the division as power superintendent.
“It was hard to leave the field and move to an office job,” Goins said in reflecting on his move from line foreman to overseeing the power system’s operations. “I always enjoyed line work in general and I really loved restoring power after a storm. Moving to the operations role was great, but it meant giving up field work, not being as hands-on with crew members all day, every day.”
Goins said that he believes the move will be a good one for him and AUB, though.
“But I truly believed I could do great things for our linemen, for AUB in general, and thereby for the community by moving from the field to work as operations director and, now, as the superintendent,” he said.
AUB General Manager Eric Newberry said that while losing a man as talented as St. John is tough, he has full faith in moving forward with Goins.
“David has been here a decade and has done outstanding work in our power group as well as getting our telecommunications efforts up and running well. I truly believe he has Kevin ready to take on this challenge as the top person in the division,” Newberry said.
While the move to the top slot in the division is exciting for Goins, it comes with challenges.
He’ll spend ample time learning more about AUB’s interactions with its power supplier — TVA — and the “business end” of rates and contracts.
“While I’m not totally responsible for those items, I’m sure I will need a broader understanding on the inner workings of things to better serve all of our customers, from households to the largest industry,” Goins said. “I’ll be forever grateful to David for investing so much time and effort exposing me to the different aspects of being superintendent during his time running the division.”
Goins sees the power division at AUB as strong and reliable.
“We have great crews and that goes for every man. That’s including their personal interaction with one another and with customers,” Goins said. “Our crews are well trained professionals, top notch at keeping the power on and restoring it when there is a problem. Plus, we are doing some really great things with our data from the field and in the office to help shape the future needs of our system for our customers.”
The division that Goins will oversee is ever-evolving, from how it handles work orders to how it collects data from the field to study as he and others plan the division’s future within the larger utility.
“I am very interested in data collection and modeling to help make decisions better and more quickly. Those are areas in which I plan to continue to make gains for AUB,” he said.
Furthermore, he plans to continue his ongoing support for crew foremen to cement their role as high-quality employees with growing leadership skills every day at the utility.
When Goins is at home, away from work, his main love in life is his wife, Allison, and his five children.
“Our daughter, Karaline, plays golf for McMinn County High School, and I love going to her matches and playing practice rounds with her,” he said.
His boys — Carter, Cooper, Cole and Cam — also are deep into sports playing golf, baseball and basketball.
“We stay busy chasing them around whatever field, court, course or beach that we can,” he said.