City Appoints New Electric Utility General Manager

By: City of Tallahassee Release
By: City of Tallahassee Release

Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson today announced the appointment of Rob McGarrah as general manager of the City of Tallahassee’s Electric Utility. McGarrah has served as interim director of the Electric Utility since June 2010, and was recently selected for the general manager position. Prior to his interim appointment, he served as Manager of Power Production for the Electric Utility, a position he held for nearly 20 years. He also worked for 11 years in various capacities for the Mississippi Power Company.

The City of Tallahassee’s Electric Utility serves over 113,000 residential and commercial customers in a 221-square mile area. It maintains over 2,200 miles of transmission and distribution lines. In his role as general manager, McGarrah will manage a staff of 295 and maintain responsibility for the City’s electric power generation, system reliability, transmission and distribution, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) compliance, planning and engineering functions.

“I’m pleased that Rob has accepted the challenge to lead the Electric Utility’s efforts,” said Thompson, who noted that McGarrah was selected for the position after the City conducted an extensive nationwide search. “His vast experience in the utility industry, superior skills at project management and his outstanding work ethic on behalf of our electric customers for some 20 years, combined to make him the obvious choice for the position. I believe Rob has the skills to lead our citizen owned Electric Utility to the next level in terms of technology and customer service, particularly in working with other City departments on our increasing focus on energy efficiency initiatives.”

In addition to his Electric Utility responsibilities, McGarrah also is serving as project manager for the City’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) $227 million upgrade. When completed in 2014, this project will result in significant environmental improvements at the Thomas P. Smith Wastewater Reclamation Facility operated by the City’s Underground Utilities.

During his tenure as Manager of Power Production for the Electric Utility, McGarrah served as the senior manager for power generation operations responsible for the three generation facilities operated by the City: Arvah B. Hopkins (on Geddie Road), Sam O. Purdom (in St. Marks) and the C.H. Corn Hydroelectric Plant on Lake Talquin. In this role, he was also responsible for plant operations, maintenance, engineering, major project retrofits, environmental compliance, procurement activities, budget and personnel. McGarrah provided primary leadership for three major power supply expansion projects totaling over 600 megawatts of highly efficient generation, increased generation capacity by 74 percent while streamlining staff resources, and reduced permitted emissions for the generating system by 82 percent while improving system fuel efficiency by 30 percent.

McGarrah holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. He holds professional memberships in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Public Power Association and the Florida Municipal Electric Association. His appointment is effective immediately.

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