Role: Concept, Editor
Company: Tennessee Valley Authority

We launched the Powered By People You Know campaign in the Fall of 2015 in an effort to highlight TVA’s greatest resource, it’s people, and emphasize the company’s mission to make life better for the people of the valley.

TVA’s story is made of thousands of people. Some are engineers. Others are helicopter pilots, chemists, and administrative assistants. But all of them have a story, and together they make up ours. Meet the people proud to serve their neighbors throughout the Tennessee Valley.


Over the course of this campaign, we’ve had the great pleasure of getting to meet numerous TVA employees who are responsible for great work across the valley. They’ve invited us into their homes and offices, be that in a nuclear facility or inside a hydroelectric dam— football field or 1,000 ft up in a helicopter— and told us their stories of how and why they came to work for TVA.

My favorite story captured so far is that of Tanya D. Townsend:

My team is responsible for the protecting the plant and its employees,” Townsend says. “When we do our job, they can do their jobs. Browns Ferry can continue to provide low-cost, clean and reliable power. When we do our job, the public is safe, too. My family is safe.”

This campaign has given us opportunities to go off the beaten path to follow TVA specialists out in the field. Take, for example, wetlands biologist Kim Pilarski-Hall:

Wetlands—swamps, marshes, bogs, river banks—play a key role in life on Earth,” she explains. “They’re home to a disproportionately high number of plant and animal species compared to other areas. And they perform a variety of ecological services, from providing fish and wildlife habitat to removing pollution, trapping floodwaters and recharging groundwater supplies.”

It’s rare that any large corporation, let alone a government agency, affords the resources necessary to build a campaign just to showcase it’s own employees. In this regard, the Tennessee Valley Authority is exceptional, and the Powered By People You Know series has worked effectively to humanize a company that otherwise can feel like a looming corporate machine. Stories like that of Bill McElvain in particular stand out as compassionate examples of how much TVA cares about its mission and the people who execute it.

I want other employees to have the same positive experience that I had when I joined TVA,” McElvain says. “But, more than that, I believe in what our employee resource groups are trying to do. The idea is to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to create a culture of inclusion at TVA.”

More of our stories from the Powered By People You Know campaign can be found on