About Gary L. Highley

smaller photo (819x1024)My purpose for writing this blog is simple. I wanted to share the knowledge I have gained during my career, and frankly, writing and batting around ideas in an open forum helps everyone get better.  No single idea is perfect, situations vary, and learning from each other keeps us moving forward.

For most of my career I have been involved with industrial services in some form or another, building functional teams, transforming, aligning, and restructuring organizations to meet the needs of our customers.  I have managed through an automation start-up, created a custom engineering business, and converted a former manufacturing business into a power distribution services center of excellence, always advocating for the customer.  In the service business your reputation and ability to execute are everything and the quality of your service is often indistinguishable from the people providing it.

Thirteen years of my career were spent at General Electric under the tenure of both Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt where I learned and applied the art of applying science and statistics to services operations and methodically analyzing our value chain.  I also served 21 years in the Army Reserve and National Guard, including one combat tour in Iraq in 2004 as a company commander and received the Bronze Star for using the techniques I learned at GE to achieve a 100% readiness rate on our equipment.

I am currently the Chief Operations Officer an electric transmission and distribution cooperative utility which has been experiencing significant volatility in the makeup of the membership base, and having great fun coaching managers and moving this utility forward.  Teaching the managerial teams how to measure their business, find the pain points, use data to formulate a plan, and execute has been extremely rewarding, bringing stability and controlled growth to an uncertain landscape.

My guiding philosophies are:

  • Enable people to succeed and reach their full potential
  • Manage with data wherever possible
  • Embrace change, the industry is changing at a pace we have not experienced before
  • Build professional and political relationships.  We are stronger together.
  • Remove constraints to progress
  • Think outside the box

In addition to the seven cooperative principles, I like to stay focused on the one question that should drive all we do on the cooperative utility world:

What is in it for the member at the end of the line?


Any views expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any companies I am associated with.