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June 8, 2020 Zoom Meeting - Tim Echols - Georgia's Energy Future

A younger Tim Echols was selected by the Atlanta Airport Rotary Club as "Student of the Year" from his high school in 1978. While at the luncheon, he met Truett Cathy, a member of the Atlanta Airport Rotary Club. After the meeting, Truett invited Tim to come by his Hapeville office and there gave him a set of motivational tapes and a challenge. Echols said the tapes changed his life and as a result of listening to Zig Ziglar and his teaching, Tim set a goal to be a statewide elected official.

Shortly after graduating from UGA, Tim and his wife Windy founded TeenPact, a training experience for conservative high school students. The program began at the Georgia Capitol and now operates in 45 states, having trained 50,000 students. After building TeenPact, Echols ran for and was elected to statewide office in 2010 serving as Public Service Commissioner.

The PSC's primary job is energy regulation. When he took office, Georgia was 34th in solar power. Now, 9 years later the state is 10th in the nation in approved solar. Echols created the Clean Energy Roadshow that has traveled the state every summer for the last eight years. This educational event travels to cities around the state helping commuters, businesses and municipal governments evaluate alternative fuel for their transportation and residential use.

Tim authored the December 2017 motion to keep Plant Vogtle moving forward. He believes carbon-free nuclear energy plus solar is the way forward for Georgia. He has represented the United States at the World Nuclear Exhibition for the last six years.

Tim has tried to lead by example. He added solar hot water heating to his Athens home just before being sworn in. He bought a natural gas car, a propane van and now owns an electric car. Tim also led the effort to provide the Salvation Army and two other agencies with $5 million to help low income seniors in Atlanta with heating assistance. That program continues today. Tim created a pilot program to provide specially equipped IPADS to the hearing impaired to help them function more productively. That programs continues today as well.

Tim led the PSC to increase the number of pediatric hearing aids in a program the PSC oversees.

Most recently, Tim rallied donors and the solar community to build and donate to the Hog Hammock Foundation a 16-panel solar pavilion for the community library on the remote island off Georgia’s coast. Sapelo is the home of one of the last remaining Gullah Geechee communities and this array will provide free electricity to the library for the next 30 years. With help from YellaWood, Southern Current and EDF Renewables, Echols led the way to build this lasting asset.

Tim also has been at the forefront in fighting human sex trafficking. He created the "Unholy Tour" that helps policy makers see first-hand the harms of human trafficking. As a part of his efforts to educate the public about the harms of trafficking, Echols created the Wilberforce Fellowship that meets once per year at Georgia’s oldest state park, Indian Springs. Tim and Judge Tim Batten head up this effort.

Tim has a weekly radio show called Energy Matters airing on Cox Media Group and back episodes can be found at WGAU Radio - Energy Matters.

Tim and his wife, Windy, have been married 37 years and they have seven children. He has 3 degrees from the University of Georgia and lives in Hoschton, Georgia.

Posted by Bill White
June 9, 2020

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