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Canida replaces Defoor as CEO of electric board

Published 6:02am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Russellville residents will notice a few changes in faces at the Russellville Electric Board, but they shouldn’t expect any changes in service, officials said.
Steve Defoor retired this month after 19 years as Chief Executive Officer of the Russellville Electric Board. Defoor served with the board for a total of 39 years.
“It was just time to step away and retire,” said Defoor, a Phil Campbell native who began his career with the board as a meter reader.
“I have had a good career and it’s been exciting, but it’s time to retire. The power system and equipment is as up to date and in as good a shape as anyone could get it, so I always wanted to leave when things were like that.”
The electric board hired former board chairman Charlie Canida as Defoor’s replacement.
Canida retired this month following a 30-year career with the Tennessee Valley Authority, most of that time being spent at Brown’s Ferry.
Defoor said Canida’s experience on the board and in his former position at TVA made him a good choice as the new CEO.
“We have a state of the art system that should carry Russellville into the next 25 to 30 years and Charlie is very familiar with how things operate and the employees he’s working with, so I expect things to go very smoothly.”
Defoor said the 16 employees that he has been accustomed to working with are what he will miss the most once he walks away from his current advisory position at the end of the month.
“There are good people that work here and that will be the biggest change – just not seeing them everyday,” he said.
Canida, who spent seven years on the electric board, said he also expects a seamless transition.
“I want to dove-tail into what Steve was doing,” Canida said.
“You don’t come in and fix something that’s not broken and the Russellville Electric Board has been a top notch group for many years.”
Canida was initially hesitant to take the position, he said, but following some prompting by board members, he decided to step into the day-to-day leadership role.
“The main thing we want to do is to improve distribution reliability for our customers and to reduce operation and maintenance costs,” Canida said.
He also expects his close relationships with people at TVA to help as well.
“We have a contract with TVA so it is important to maintain a good relationship with them and I have already been talking with folks there that I have known for years, so I think those contacts will be helpful.”
Russellville businessman Darren Woodruff was appointed to fill the vacancy on the board created by Canida’s hiring. Former Russellville Street Department Superintendent Tom Pace was named board chairman.
The Russellville Electric Board provides power services to 5,100 customers.

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