The Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) Board of Commissioners has selected Gabriel “Gabe” Bolas II, Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer, to be the seventh President and CEO of the agency that serves more than 457,000 customers in Knoxville and parts of seven surrounding counties. Bolas replaces Mintha Roach, who is retiring after serving as President and CEO of the organization since 2004.
“The Board was impressed with all the candidates we interviewed, and we know they all are committed to KUB’s continued success,” Board Chair Celeste Herbert said. “In the end, we selected Gabe because we felt that he is extremely qualified to ensure KUB’s vision of serving customers by providing utility services that are safe, reliable and affordable. He has the experience and ability to lead KUB through the next phases of improving the utility system infrastructure and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. We will continue to be good environmental stewards and good corporate citizens.”
The new President and CEO joined KUB in 1995 as an engineer and has held his current position of Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer since 2017.
“I appreciate the Board’s confidence in appointing me as President and CEO,” Bolas said. “I’m committed to making sure our service to our customers reflects the high standards that have been established over KUB’s nearly 80 year history.”
“I also want to thank Mintha Roach for her leadership over the past 15 years. She has been a great mentor, and I want to continue the legacy that she and our predecessors established at KUB.”
Herbert said Bolas will be sworn in in October. Bolas said he plans to meet with employees and external KUB stakeholders, such as elected officials and business and community leaders, to gather input.
“Because I come from within KUB, my learning curve won’t be as steep as someone coming from outside our organization,” Bolas said. “Still, we have to stay aware of the opportunities and ahead of the challenges that come our way.”
The new President and CEO earned his Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer. At KUB, he has served as Manager of Engineering Systems, Environmental Programs, and Overhead Construction and Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. He is a member and past president and state director of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, receiving the Young Engineer of the Year award in 2001 and the Engineer of the Year award in 2013.
In the community, Bolas is a member of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2018 and currently serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and the Sertoma Center. He is a founding member of the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 1922 Society. He has worked closely with various environmental and development groups to create relationships between KUB and the environmental community, as well as attracting new industrial employers to the area. He served on the team that was instrumental in securing a $15 million grant for weatherization of Knoxville’s low-income homes.
Bolas and his wife, Tarah, are parents of three sons, Gabriel III, Zander and Avery.
Bolas pledges to keep customer interests at the forefront and, with the support of employees, keep KUB focused on its vision and mission. He will continue the dedication to fairness for all customers and high ethical standards.
Herbert praised Roach’s service to KUB, saying the agency achieved several milestones during her tenure, including major system improvements under the Century II program and the wastewater Consent Decree; the Round It Up program to support weatherization for low-income families; and numerous KUB awards for reliability, environmental stewardship, safety and customer satisfaction.
“The Board greatly appreciates the service of Mintha Roach as President and CEO and looks forward to working with Gabe to support the economic development of the city and region served by KUB,” Herbert said.