CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 15, 2023) To keep Chattanooga at the forefront as the energy and communications industries undergo rapid change, the EPB Board has approved a plan to restructure the company to give it greater flexibility and focus in positioning the community to benefit from longer-term developments while heightening EPB’s continuing efforts to deliver world-class technology and customer service through its current operations. EPB will establish a new business unit, which will be wholly dedicated to capitalizing on emerging opportunities. EPB’s current operations will comprise another business unit called Energy and Communications. To provide direct leadership for this part of the company, the EPB Board promoted Ryan Keel, currently Senior Vice President Technical Operations. In his new role, Keel will serve as President of the Energy and Communications business unit with day-to-day responsibility for EPB’s existing operations including the Electric and Fiber Optics systems. David Wade will continue to serve as EPB’s CEO, heading up the corporate entity with overarching responsibility for the whole company and its strategic direction.
According to EPB Board Chair Vicky Gregg, the changes will allow EPB to maintain its focus on delivering excellence in its established operations while adding capacity to proactively explore new ways to benefit the greater Chattanooga community. “Over the last several years, Ryan has demonstrated the kind of leadership EPB needs as it takes its next steps in continuously striving for ever-higher levels of excellence to serve our customers,” Gregg said. “At the same time, establishing the new business unit will give EPB the flexibility to recruit expertise that will allow us to more fully focus on emerging technologies such as EPB Quantum Network while also exploring key opportunities such as geothermal energy.”
EPB CEO David Wade welcomed the board’s approval of the plan. “A little more than 20 years ago, the EPB Board approved the launch of America’s first Gig-speed community-wide network along with the deployment of the most advanced power distribution infrastructure in the nation. Today, they gave EPB the flexibility and capacity we need to explore emerging opportunities that could be just as transformative for Chattanooga in the long-term,” Wade said. “I also appreciate their approval of my recommendation to promote Ryan. I’ve worked with him for many years, and his commitment to EPB’s community mission, dedication to delivering for customers, and breadth of experience have prepared him to lead our ongoing efforts as we continuously work to deliver world-class technology and customer experiences for the people we serve.”
Keel has led some of EPB’s most successful cross-divisional efforts. In addition to playing a critical role in the initial design and build out of EPB’s smart grid, he has led the company’s Technical Operations since 2014. Over the last few years, he has had primary responsibility for EPB’s five-year, $70 million upgrade of Chattanooga’s fiber optic network which paved the way for EPB to launch America’s first community-wide 25 Gig internet service.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve our community mission of enhancing quality of life for all our customers as the EPB team works every day to innovate and improve Chattanooga’s infrastructure and technology offerings,” Keel said. “Together we’re committed to doing everything we can to advance the community we’re proud to call home.”
Keel is a native Chattanoogan. He has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He began working at EPB in 1997 and has held positions in engineering, operations, and leadership. Keel is a member and past president of the Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club. He and his wife Keri are the proud parents of three children.
Pictured (left to right): EPB Board Chair Vicky Gregg, EPB CEO David Wade, EPB President, Energy and Communications Business Unit, Ryan Keel.
With the mission of “enhancing quality of life in our community,” EPB is a municipal utility that delivers world-class energy and connectivity services to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the surrounding area. In 2010, EPB completed a 100% fiber optic network accessible to all its customers as the basis for launching America’s first community-wide Gig speed internet. The company still operates the world’s fastest community-wide internet service today at speeds up to 25 Gig. EPB also utilizes Chattanooga’s fiber optic network as the communications backbone for the most advanced and highly automated power distribution system in the United States. In 2022, EPB continued its commitment to keeping Chattanooga on the cutting edge by establishing our nation’s first commercially available quantum network--EPB Quantum Network℠ powered by Qubitekk, which aligns local job creation efforts with the national priority to accelerate the commercialization of quantum technology.
Since switching the lights on for its first electric customer in 1939, EPB has grown to serve a 600-square-mile service area with cutting-edge infrastructure that integrates power distribution and telecommunications. At the same time, EPB keeps customer benefit at the center of all its efforts, earning recognition from J.D. Power as the #1 Mid-Sized Utility in the South for the last eight consecutive years based on customer satisfaction ratings. Learn more at epb.com.
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