Vest tapped to lead utilities
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Ferrell Vest, a Hartselle native with an extensive background in management experience, has been appointed general manager of Hartselle Utilities. He assumed the position on Tuesday after his employment contract was approved by the board at a Monday night meeting.
Vest was employed by HU in August 2003 as business development manager/contract administrator. He follows in the footsteps of George Adair who resigned as manager last November to accept a similar position with Lake Worth, Fla.
Vest emerged as the candidate of choice after the HU board conducted a national search for Adair's replacement. Of the more than 90 applicants who showed an interest in the job, Vest and two other prospects, one from Arizona and the other one from Florida, were interviewed by the board week before last.
"We met on Monday night (Feb. 21) and the board voted to offer the position to Ferrell," said board chairman Buzz Howell. He added that after Vest accepted the offer, contract negotiations went smoothly and were completed about mid-week.
He said the interviews were grueling …"lasted about two hours each. All three candidates were well qualified," he pointed out.
"Ferrell came out on top because he knows where the board wants to go and has a strong background in management experience," Howell said. "We have engineers on staff. We needed someone to manage the whole operation."
"I'm tickled to death to get the job," said Vest. "And I want to thank the directors for putting their faith and trust in me. I know it's a big responsibility and I'm looking forward to the challenge. The fact that Hartselle Utilities employees are dedicated, talented and experienced made it a lot easier for me to seek and accept the position."
As manager, he said he will continue to push for the rehabilitation of the sewer, water and gas distribution systems and maintain reliability of services for customers.
A 1970 graduate of Morgan County High School, Vest earned a bachelor's degree in law enforcement from Jacksonville State University in 1974. He also was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and advanced through the ranks to lieutenant colonel. He received a master's degree in public administration from JSU in 1982.
During his military career, Vest served as a platoon leader, company commander, battalion executive officer, command provost marshal and liaison officer for the Allied Forces Southern Command in Bosnia.
He retired from the Army after 20 years in 1995 and was appointed Hartselle police chief. He gave up that position in April 2001 to serve as city administrator. He joined Hartselle Utilities in August 2003.
Vest is a member of Hartselle Rotary Club and a director of the Hartselle Development Board.
His wife, Beth, is an English teacher at Hartselle High School. They have a son, Tyler, a junior at The University of Alabama, and a daughter, Caitlin, a sophomore at Hartselle High School.