Gary Zheng brings more than 30 years of experience to the position.
The Frankfort Plant Board officially named Gary Zheng as the new General Manager of the community’s municipal utility. Recognized in the industry as an effective executive, Zheng brings with him more than 30 years of experience in electrical utilities with 15 years in executive positions.
“The board was most impressed with Gary’s well-rounded resume,” said FPB Board Chair Anna Marie Pavlik Rosen. “His extensive education, his municipal utility experience from basic levels to leadership roles, and his strong background of working with government and interagency organizations made him the standout candidate.”
Zheng holds a bachelor’s, a master’s and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, in addition to a master’s in computer engineering.
He worked 17 years for Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L), the third largest municipal electric system in Texas serving more than 100,000 electrical meters and 85,000 water meters. Zheng served as President and CEO for nine years. During that time, he turned around the company that was near bankruptcy by increasing efficiency and productivity and improving customer service, all while providing the lowest retail electric rates in Texas.
Zheng strategically built LP&L’s brand name in a competitive market. He negotiated long-term purchase power contracts and increased the proportion of renewable resources in LP&L’s energy portfolio to more than nine percent.
The board was also impressed with Zheng’s involvement and work with the Lubbock community. In addition to increasing transparency with the public and raising confidence and trust in LP&L, Zheng served on numerous boards for industrial and non-profit organizations.
No stranger to Kentucky, Zheng served two years as General Manager of Paducah Power System (PPS) and General Manager of the Kentucky Municipal Power Agency (KMPA). There he was responsible for the transmission and distribution of a power system serving 23,000 customers, its 124 MW natural gas power plant and business service. He also managed energy trading, negotiation of long-term contracts and securing transmission service from MISO and Louisville Gas and Electric/Kentucky Utilities for KMPA.
Zheng will start in his new position at FPB Oct. 15. His plate will be full as each division has two major projects underway. The electric department will transfer to a new power supply in May 2019 and is in the beginning phase of implementing Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The Water Department will also implement AMI and needs to replace the 135-year-old reservoir. The Cable/Telecom Department is replacing and upgrading 20-year-old amplifiers and line extenders and is in phase one of a Fiber-To-The-Home project.
David Denton CPA, FPB’s Finance Director, has served as Interim General Manager since Nov. 1, 2017 when former GM Herbbie Bannister retired. The board thanks Denton for his skilled efforts in this position. He will return to his finance position.
“This is an exciting time for FPB, the board and our customers,” Rosen said. “We are confident that Gary Zheng will continue the momentum of the new projects in each utility and will make great contributions to our community.”