City hires new electric director

Anthony Pollard

By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, January 19, 2018

An electrical engineer from New Bern will be the next head of Elizabeth City's electrical utility.

“I'm very excited about the opportunity,” said Anthony Pollard, 51, in an interview Wednesday.

City Manager Rich Olson announced last week that Pollard will become the city's electrical superintendent on Jan. 29. Pollard will replace Karl Clow, who retired last month after nearly 40 years with the city.

As electrical superintendent, Pollard will oversee a utility serving 12,000-plus customers with millions of dollars’ worth of assets. City residents will also look to him when power outages need fixing.

Pollard said Wednesday he's worked about 25 years in the electrical field, the last three and a half of them in New Bern where he's an electrical department staff engineer. Prior to then, he worked for the city of Washington, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Covington, Tennessee electrical system.

Pollard earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering technology from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1993. He also served in the Air Force from 1984 to 1986.

Asked about highlights of his career, Pollard said one was helping plan the layout of underground utilities for a development of nearly 1,000 homes in New Bern. He also had some experience in New Bern with a new “smart grid” system similar to the one Elizabeth City is looking to install. The system, created by Nexgrid, has worked well so far in giving New Bern better data on usage and outages, he said.

Pollard said he enjoys working for electrical utilities because it's a community service and because of the close-knit, almost family-like work environment that comes with them. He also said he enjoys the challenge of keeping the lights on “24/7,” noting that hazardous weather and animals getting into power equipment both often cause outages.

Asked why he decided to apply to work in Elizabeth City, Pollard said he sought the job to advance his career, and because it might put him closer to family. He noted he has two sons in the military, and one may soon be assigned to Norfolk, Virginia.

Olson said Wednesday that Pollard was one of two people interviewed for the electrical superintendent’s job. He said Pollard brings both a strong technical and engineering background to the job. Olson also said Pollard should be able to do some of the engineering work that the city currently has to hire contractors to perform.

Olson said one of the tasks Pollard will start with will be evaluating the entire utility system, including looking at how the city might restructure distribution.

Olson said Pollard will be paid $85,000 a year, about $3,000 less than Clow made.