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Lt. Gov. Ainsworth taps Alabama Power CEO Jeff Peoples and PowerSouth CEO Gary Smith for workforce commission

Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth has appointed Alabama Power CEO Jeff Peoples and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative CEO Gary Smith to serve on the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on 21st Century Workforce.

“Because their companies are committed to meeting the needs of employers ranging from small businesses to large industrial operations and also play an important role in economic development, Jeff Peoples and Gary Smith understand the skills and training that a 21st century workforce must possess,” Ainsworth said. “By combining their insight and experience with that of the other commission members, we can ensure Alabama remains the nation’s leader in recruiting, retaining and expanding the long-lasting, well-paying, 21st century jobs that every state desires.”

Peoples has held several leadership positions at Alabama Power and Southern Company. Prior to his current role, he was the executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services, where he oversaw customer services, marketing and economic development strategy and operations, as well as the company’s six geographic business divisions. In addition, he was responsible for Alabama Power’s labor relations, human resources, safety, wellness, health and disability management functions.

Recognized as a national leader in labor relations and workforce development, Peoples serves on numerous industry and nonprofit boards including the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), Paths for Success Foundation and TradesFutures. He currently chairs the board of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA).

Smith joined PowerSouth in 1989 and was named president and CEO in January 2000. He was previously employed by Pemco Aeroplex and also practiced law. A former chairman of the BCA, he currently serves on the boards of EDPA, the University of North Alabama, the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives, Southern Independent Bank and the South Alabama Regional Airport.

The commission was created in 2019 to continually assess Alabama’s workforce and make recommendations that will increase its competitiveness with other states. The panel released its initial report and recommendations, titled “Alabama Workforce Development – Accelerating the Transformation to Excellence,” in 2020.