MWA votes to hire Ron Shipman as interim executive director

The retired Georgia Power executive could be the first African American in the executive director role


Liz Fabian

Ron Shipman was honored recently for his work on Georgia Power’s SOAP project to build a solar field in the encroachment area north of Robins Air Force Base.

After about 20 minutes in executive session Thursday evening, the Macon Water Authority unanimously voted to hire retired Georgia Power executive Ron Shipman as interim executive director.

Shipman’s name was submitted for consideration in late October, but the authority waited the required 14-day waiting period before voting to offer Shipman the position.

“It is my honor and privilege to move that the authority hire Ron Shipman,” MWA board member Dwight Jones said.

Chairman Sam Hart, who said he previously voted against Shipman’s nomination based on procedural issues, supported Shipman’s hiring Thursday evening.

Allegations that board members had violated open meetings laws leading up to Shipman’s nomination led to Hart asking the district attorney to investigate. 

That probe is “ongoing,” Hart said Thursday.

Most recently, Shipman served as interim executive director of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce but Jessica Walden filled that position as of Oct. 31.

Shipman was in the running for executive director position after the resignation of former executive director Tony Rojas in May of last year. He did not make the final cut as both finalists had worked for water utilities, while Shipman has not.

According to Shipman’s professional biographies, he retired from Georgia Power as the vice president of the utility’s southwest region and led operations for more than 440,000 customers in 59 counties that included the cities of Valdosta, Dublin, Columbus and Macon. He has more than 35 years of electric utility experience and has served in a variety of leadership roles including legislative affairs, customer service, environmental and external affairs, nuclear chemistry, and distribution management.

He also served on Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller’s transition team.

If Shipman accepts the offer, he could become the first African American to hold the authority’s executive director position.

He would replace Joey Leverette, who served as executive director for about 10 months before what Hart referred to as a “forced resignation.”

– Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.