Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs has been promoted to deputy city manager. He will start his new job Monday, March 8.
In his new position, Suggs will help with several projects, including the new water plant, economic development projects, computer software, and the transfer of the Oak Ridge Airport project, the city said in a press release.
Suggs’ promotion will allow other potential leaders to advance, most immediately in the Oak Ridge Electric Department, the press release said. Ardo Ba, who is currently the department’s electric operations manager, will serve as interim electric director.
“The city is fortunate to have someone with a unique set of engineering, business, and operations knowledge and experience who is able to step up,” Suggs said of Ba. “I am confident that I am leaving the department in capable hands.”
Suggs joined the City of Oak Ridge in 1989 as assistant director of public works after having served in related professional positions in Texas. He began serving as electric director in 1991.
“I have been honored to serve the Oak Ridge community as part of the city’s leadership team for many years,” Suggs said. “During that time, I have developed meaningful initiatives and been entrusted with many projects both inside and outside of the Electric Department. Using this experience as a base, I look forward to working with the city manager in addressing the wider organizational needs of the community, both project-based and programmatic.”
“Jack and I have had a strong working relationship over the last 10 years, and I have always admired his professionalism and problem-solving skills,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “With the growing workload the city is facing, having Jack in this new position will be beneficial to the community.”
The city said Suggs’ history as an effective, strategic planner and manager supplements his experience with organizational management and supervision, measurement of employee performance, and the legal aspects of personnel administration.
Also, he has developed and implemented policies for the Utility Business Office that resulted in the significant reduction of lost revenue and improved consistent customer service, the press release said.
“I am an emphatic supporter of lifelong learning who believes that to be successful, one must take advantage of personal and professional development opportunities,” Suggs said in the press release said.
The city said Suggs is well-known for working with organizations in the region to help them meet their goals, including the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Oak Ridge Economic Partnership, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, and East Tennessee Industrial Development Association.
“As electric director, he has been an active and respected voice regionally and nationally on matters related to the electric industry,” the press release said. “Suggs has served in a variety of leadership roles: Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association, Appalachian Public Power Association, and national advisory roles for the Electric Power Research Institute.”
Suggs has a bachelor of science degree in engineering technology from Texas Tech University and a master of science degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
“Jack is an energetic and involved leader and will, without a doubt, engage in many improvements in the city in the next two to three years,” Watson said.
Suggs will be sworn in at the Monday, March 8, meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council.