SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga Utilities Board general manager Mike Richard had never heard of the city of Sylacauga in 1991. In those days Richard worked at Carolina Power and Light in Wilmington, N.C. when a recruiter reached out to him regarding an engineering job in Sylacauga.
Richard said he interviewed, was offered, and eventually accepted the job at the Sylacauga Utilities Board. He has been in Sylacauga ever since.
Over the next 12 years Richard wore many hats at SUB. Starting off as a staff engineer, he worked his way up to electrical superintendent, then operations director before being named the general manager in October 2003.
After 26 years in Sylacauga, Richard is leaving SUB for the same position at the Greer Commission of Public Works (CPW) in Greer, S.C.
Greer CPW Public Information Officer Alison Rauch told SylacaugaNews.com that Richard was chosen after conducting a national search and months of interviews by the CPW board of commissioners for the GM opening.
“Mike’s educational background plus his significant management experience proved to be a strong combination as we narrowed the field of national candidates. We know Mike is a great fit with Greer’s four utility system and the Commission welcomes the Richard family to the Greer community,” said Perry J. Williams, CPW Chairman.
According to Richard it was time for him to do something different. He also said he has family in North Carolina and has always loved the Carolinas.
But there are things he will miss about Sylacauga. “I’m going to miss the people,” said Richard. “I’ve made so many great friends here.” He also said he is going to miss joking and having a good time in board meetings with other members of SUB.
When he took over the GM job at SUB Richard said he had a few goals. One of those was to use technology to make all of SUB’s utilities more efficient. He said he accomplished that goal.
“The use of technology allowed us to continue the level of service that we were giving, even with less personnel,” said Richard. At SUB, Richard currently oversees 61 employees. That number was around 90 when he first got to SUB, and he credits technology for SUB’s success with so little employees. He is also currently managing a 51-million-dollar budget.
The SUB has certainly been successful under Richard, but he does not expect a drop off in production when he leaves.
“One of the key things any GM should do is get his staff ready to step up to the next level, and I feel like I have done that,” he said. “So I’m hoping they’re going to do better, and I’m assuming they’ll do better”
Richard’s last day with SUB will be March 3, and his first day at Greer CPW will be March 6.
SUB provides electrical, water, waste water, natural gas and high-speed internet services to more than 12,000 residential, business and industrial customers in Sylacauga and the surrounding areas.
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.