North Alabama Electric Cooperative and (NAEC) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.
Located in the lush, Appalachian foothills of northern Alabama, scenic Lake Guntersville offers relaxation and enjoyment for residents and tourists alike.
Fishing and bald eagle watching are just two of the many activities enjoyed at the lake by members of NAEC. Ongoing TVA stewardship of the watershed ensures that the water and surrounding lands remain accessible to the community by providing trails and blueways and aquatic vegetation management.
Covering 6,000 acres of public land along the Tennessee River, the lake was created when the Guntersville Dam was completed by TVA in 1939. The dam produces clean hydropower as part of TVA’s balanced generation portfolio and reduces flood damage for farmers, landowners and recreators along the shores. Partnerships enabled by NAEC customers allow TVA to protect and conserve the abundant cultural resources in the area as well.
NAEC serves several communities within Jackson and Marshall counties. Economic development of the area is a top concern for Bruce Purdy, general manager of NAEC. Competition with neighboring regions to win new industry can be competitive, but the partnership with TVA helps NAEC and the communities it serves compete, Purdy said.
Economic development isn’t just about building new manufacturing facilities. Providing educational opportunities for local students to learn in-demand job skills is also key to not only economic growth, but also ensuring that residents continue to reside in the community. With this in mind, Jackson County leaders held a celebrated ground-breaking ceremony in October of 2020 on the site of the new Jackson County Innovation and Career Academy, scheduled to be completed for enrollment by Fall 2022.
Purdy says TVA’s partnership was integral to the “state of the art” tech center, which will include a repurposed 66,000-square-foot building in Jackson County Industrial Park. Students will have the opportunity to study subjects to prepare them for the workforce that their home schools may not offer, such as AP computer science, agricultural science, cybersecurity, building construction, and cosmetology.
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