Community Energy Stories

Creative Agency: redpepper
Client: Tennessee Valley Authority


Copywriter: Julie A. Downey
Interviewed subjects, conducted research, wrote story, created web page in WordPress, tracked project progress in Monday and Google sheets

Objective: Tell unique and compelling stories about the ways community energy and the local power company’s partnership with TVA makes lives in the service area better and creates economic, educational, and recreational opportunities for the best tomorrow possible.

Project accomplishments: Client approved recommendation to shift stories from reporting a single perspective (GM/CEO) to digging into the richness of the work in the community, thus improving upon the depth of the stories and breadth of voices represented. Developed improved questions for initial interviews to meet goals. Created story progress tracking system to unify process and meet or beat deadlines.

Creating Opportunities for Youth and Industry to Flourish

Teacher Industry Day began as a way to promote economic development and career development in the community and has continued to expand and create new programs. “Work-Based Learning is an initiative that was born out of Teacher Industry Day. This initiative places students in local businesses and industries and has resulted in close to 100 student placements,” Eads said. One great success story is that of a recent college graduate who is now a full-time graphic designer at Robinette Company, where she participated in a work-based learning opportunity while enrolled at Bristol High School. This experience introduced her to package manufacturing design."

Full STEAM Ahead for Another 80 Years of Safety, Giving and Receiving in Tough Times and Education Innovation

Mayfield was forever changed the night of December 10, 2021 when a tornado struck and devastated much of Western Kentucky. The next day, before anyone could grasp the gravity of the situation, first responders from all over the country showed up. “We normally have 42 staff members. Starting December 12, we were feeding 250 people a couple times a day for weeks, figuring out the logistics of meals and housing. TVA was a huge help in converting their customer service center trailer into an operations hub,” Ivy said.

A Spirit of Service and Readiness for the Future

Dolly Parton wrote “My Tennessee Mountain Home” about her own sweet memories of growing up in Sevierville, Tennessee. And throughout her life, the legendary singer, songwriter and actor has herself been a source of light in Sevier County. Her theme park, Dollywood provides both kids and adults with not only a source of fun and joy—but knowledge, too. Dolly has prioritized education for area youth in her philanthropic efforts, so it was a natural fit to weave learning into the park experience. For example, Dollywood leverages the roller coaster as an opportunity to teach the concept of potential and kinetic energy. The park works with education partners SCES and TVA to develop these integrated lessons in electricity, energy and conservation.

Attention to Changing Needs Brings Customers Cleaner Energy, Compassionate Assistance and Economic Growth

In addition to solar production, BrightRidge continues to reduce the area’s carbon footprint by increasing its contribution to the Valley’s growing EV culture, in partnership with TVA and the State of Tennessee. They are working to ensure that locals and visitors who choose to drive electric cars are able to recharge while enjoying area amenities and attractions. Thus far, BrightRidge has installed two Level 2 charging sites two at their office in Boones Creek, and one each in downtowns Jonesborough and Johnson City as well as the East Tennessee State University Gray Fossil Site and Museum.

Innovative Educational Programming, Renewables Research and Lifting Up Residents

Since 2012, CDE Lightband has hosted a Teacher Extern Program with K-12 STEM teachers. “Externships are a unique and sustainable way to help students and teachers alike gain a deeper understanding of STEM concepts and apply that understanding in both the classroom and real world experiences,” Pease said. Externships with CDE Lightband have given educators the tools to lead students projects as intense as creating a substation with a 3D printer and as simple easy as using math to read meters.

Creative approaches keep neighbors engaged, informed and connected

On a walk through the alleys of Paris Tennessee, there’s no mistaking which building houses Paris Board of Public Utilities once you spot the 40-foot mural called “ELECTRICITY, A River Cycle.” The piece illustrates the history of public power in Henry County, including TVA’s essential role. The painting, by local artist Dan Knowles and apprentice Ariel MacDonald was made possible through the Back Alley Paris project. This initiative, which brings the community public art that tells rich visual stories about the city, has also improved infrastructure and reduced the effects of flooding.