Panelists discuss future of energy, economic development in North Mississippi

TVA OverbyThe chief executive officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Bill Johnson, joined three other specialists in the field of energy and development from North Mississippi in a discussion of “The Future of Energy and Economic Development in the Region.”

The special program, designed to take advantage of a meeting of the TVA board of directors in Oxford, was moderated by Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center.

Johnson, who became president and CEO of the TVA in January, is responsible for leading the nation’s largest public utility. TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors in parts of seven states across the southeastern United States. A summa cum laude graduate of Duke University with a law degree from the University of North Carolina, Johnson developed an impressive background in the energy field in North Carolina before taking the TVA position.

Others on the panel from North Mississippi – which is served in many areas by TVA – are:

  • David Copenhaver of Tupelo, a retired vice president, administration, for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. With more than a quarter-century’s experience in economic development in the Southeast, Copenhaver had a major role in establishing the Toyota plant at Blue Springs, near Tupelo.
  • J.R. (Josh) Gladden, associate professor of physics and director of the National Center for Physical Acoustics at Ole Miss. Gladden conducts research on energy-related materials and served last year as the university’s representative to the SEC Symposium on Renewable Energy.
  • David Rumbarger, the president and CEO of the Tupelo-based Community Development Foundation. Rumbarger has more than 20 years experience in economic development and focuses on creating project partnerships and local incentive packages.

Watch the program on YouTube.