Corker, Alexander Introduce Tennessee Valley Authority Board Nominee Jeffrey Smith

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday introduced Jeffrey Smith at a Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing on his nomination to serve on the nine-member board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and called on his colleagues to swiftly confirm nominees for the four current vacancies on the board. A transcript of the senator’s remarks at the hearing follows.


“I am pleased to be here with you today to introduce Jeff Smith, who has been nominated to serve on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority.



“I would like to extend a warm welcome to Jeff and his family. I also want to welcome the other three board [nominees] today – Kenny Allen, A.D. Frazier, and Skip Thompson – as well as their families.


“I’d like to also thank the committee for holding this hearing. With over 9 million customers, TVA is the largest public power utility in the nation, and it is critical for the region that it remains a low-cost, reliable producer of electricity, not only for ratepayers but also for our state’s business recruitment efforts.


“It is important that TVA has a full and well-qualified board, and without confirmation of these nominees, the board will lose a quorum at the end of the year.


“As deputy director of operations for one of the most prestigious research labs in the country, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Jeff Smith understands the importance of continuing TVA’s mission.


“In this position, he gained extensive experience working with TVA as he coordinated with the utility to construct three new substations as part of efforts to modernize the grid at Oak Ridge.


“Jeff also has overseen cutting-edge research in the energy sector, and that knowledge and background will be of great value as our electrical power sector undergoes important changes to support the demands of the growing Tennessee Valley.


“In addition to a distinguished career, Jeff has demonstrated a true commitment to East Tennessee through his involvement with multiple community organizations that work to improve the standard of living in the region.


“I am confident that Jeff understands the needs of the Tennessee Valley and believe he will bring valuable experience to the TVA board.


“I wholeheartedly support Jeff’s nomination – and the other nominees here today – and believe their diverse backgrounds give them the necessary qualifications to support TVA’s important mission.


“I appreciate you guys letting me be here today. Thanks for holding this committee hearing, and I hope we will swiftly confirm these nominees.


Senator Lamar Alexander said, “One reason Sen. Corker and I recommended him [Jeff Smith] is because of his background in nuclear energy. He is the Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is known around the world for its expertise in nuclear energy. TVA has been the utility that has led all other utilities in opening new nuclear reactors. TVA opened both the last nuclear power reactor in the 20th century and the first nuclear power reactor in the 21st century.  Having a TVA director with a broad background in nuclear energy is especially important.  

“Second, he knows how to manage a large organization. Oak Ridge National Laboratory employs nearly 5,000 people and has a budget of $1.4 billion. He brings this experience to the nation’s largest public utility which has an annual budget of over $10 billion and employs more than 10,000 people.

“Third, he knows how to finish a large construction project on time and on budget, which has been a problem with some government projects, but not at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their Spallation Neutron Source was on time and on budget while he was Deputy Director.

“As a resident of the Tennessee Valley and East Tennessee, Jeff is very familiar with the needs of the region’s residents and businesses. He understands that TVA must continue to provide low cost, clean, and reliable power for homes and businesses throughout the TVA region.

“So for all those reasons – his expertise in nuclear energy, his background in management of a large facility and his understanding of large construction projects – he will make an excellent board member for the nation’s largest public utility.”

Alexander said Smith would be an “outstanding choice” for the TVA Board after President Trump announced his nomination on Sept. 19.

Video of Alexander’s remarks is available here.


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