Today, Mayor Strickland appointed Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen to serve as President and CEO of the Memphis Light Gas and Water Division. He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the nation’s largest three-service public power utility, serving more than 440,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County.
“For the last nearly seven years, Doug McGowen has been someone I have relied on countless times to help deliver our vision for the direction of the city. Doug gets things done,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “Whether it was improving all city services, such as 911 answer times, paving city streets, and an overhaul on our sewer system (the city’s other utility system); finding innovative ways to fund universal needs-based Pre-K and Transit Vision; and helping to lead the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force through the pandemic, he has always gotten it done.”
As Chief Operating Officer, McGowen directly manages and oversees all city departments and related agencies. Prior to his COO role, he served as Executive Director of Innovate Memphis. Before joining the City of Memphis, McGowen served as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy, retiring as a Captain in 2011 after 26 years of service. His last assignment was as Commanding Officer of the Naval Base in Millington, TN. He is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute (B.S., civil engineering) and the Naval War College (M.A., national security).
Deputy Chief Operating Officer Chandell Ryan will be appointed to replace Chief McGowen. Deputy Chief Ryan, a 17-year veteran at City government, is responsible for day-to-day service delivery, resource allocation, budgeting, and policy development for all City divisions, among other duties. She also currently serves as the Interim Solid Waste Director. In addition, Ryan previously held various attorney and human resource management roles for the City and served as Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Ryan’s experience outside of City government includes general civil litigation, management, and human resources. She is a native Memphian and
attorney who obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, in 2001.
“As a long-time city employee, Chandell brings with her an intimate knowledge of all city government, and I’m excited she has accepted this new challenge” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “With Chandell’s appointment, she will be the first woman and woman of color to lead our day-to-day operations as our chief operating officer. I’m proud to say this administration has more women in leadership roles than any other in our city’s history.”
Both appointments will be up for Memphis City Council approval at the October 11 meeting, and they will transition to their new roles Nov 15.
Today, I want to address the upcoming vacancy in the position of president and CEO of MLGW.
Before I make that announcement, I want to acknowledge and again express my sincere thanks to J.T. Young for his leadership of the organization over the last four plus years and wish him well as he starts this next chapter of his career. J.T. is a man of great integrity, intelligence and leadership. While I will miss working with him, I am happy for him with this wonderful opportunity back home.
As you can imagine, owning and operating a three-sector public utility is a tremendous responsibility for any city.
Since MLGW is the largest three–sector public utility in the country, it is even more important in the daily lives our citizens, to the success of our businesses and to the future economic growth of our community.
In addition, this is a critical time for MLGW as it is faced with an enormously important decision regarding the source of its power supply.
We will soon need to engage in important decision-making discussions with the MLGW board and Memphis City Council regarding the RFP power supply responses.
In addition, the outage improvement committee has made its recommendations which need to be implemented soon so as to minimize the mass outages our community has suffered for decades due to winter and wind storms.
I also want expeditious implementation of the LED street lighting project, broadband internet, 5G infrastructure, and the new paving requirements for street cuts.
And immediate attention to continued customer service improvements must not be delayed.
Because of the importance of this role, I am pleased to announce that I am recommending our chief operating officer, Doug McGowen for appointment as the new president and CEO of MLGW.
For the last nearly seven years, Doug McGowen has been someone I have relied on countless times to help deliver our vision for the direction of the city.
Doug gets things done. Whether it was improving all city services, such as 911 answer times, paving city streets, and an overhaul on our sewer system (the city’s other utility system); finding innovative ways to fund universal needs-based Pre-K and Transit Vision; and helping to lead the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force through the pandemic, he has always gotten it done.
We all want our utility to be there for us every day, and to reliably deliver the services we all count on.
When crisis happens, we want to trust that our utility is prepared – to prevent any interruption, but if disruption does occur, to communicate clearly with us and to quickly restore service.
I can think of no one I trust more than Doug McGowen to lead the organization. No one who is more capable, reliable, forthright, and forward thinking.
Whether through day-to-day operations or in hours of crisis, Doug has he has delivered for our community, over and over again. I have full confidence he will do the same in this new role at MLGW.
With Doug leaving, I could not be happier to announce my appointment for his replacement—his deputy, Chandell Ryan.
As a long-time city employee, Chandell brings with her an intimate knowledge of all city government, and I’m excited she has accepted this new challenge.
I have been impressed with Chandell since my time on City Council. She has worked in three divisions of city government and has led as the deputy COO. She has also righted the ship of the department of solid waste which struggled, especially during the pandemic.
With Chandell’s appointment, she will be the first woman in the history of city government to lead our day-to-day operations as our chief operating officer.
I’m proud to say this administration has more women in leadership roles than any other in our city’s history.
As we close out the last 15 months of my term, we still have much to accomplish, and I know Chandell will help us deliver. Congratulations Chandell!”
I will present both these appointments for approval by the Memphis City Council next week on October 11th.