A younger Tim Echols was selected by the Atlanta Airport Rotary Club as "Student of the Year" from his high school in 1978. While at the luncheon, he met Truett Cathy, a member of the Atlanta Airport Rotary Club. After the meeting, Truett invited Tim to come by his Hapeville office and there gave him a set of motivational tapes and a challenge. Echols said the tapes changed his life and as a result of listening to Zig Ziglar and his teaching, Echols set a goal to be a statewide elected official. After building a national non-profit organization, Echols ran for and was elected to statewide office in 2010 serving as Public Service Commissioner. His primary job is energy regulation. When Echols took office, Georgia was 34th in solar power. Now, 6 years later the state is 4th in the nation in approved solar.
Echols' commitment to promoting clean energy has resulted in not only millions of solar panels being installed in Georgia, but has resulted in more electric vehicles as well. Our state is second in the nation in electric vehicles--only behind California. Echols created the Clean Energy Roadshow that has traveled the state every summer for the last six years. This educational event travels to cities around the state helping commuters, businesses and municipal governments evaluate alternative fuel for their transportation and residential use. When he is not managing Georgia's energy portfolio, Echols is helping Atlanta's children. He created the Unholy Tour that serves as a rolling seminar on child sex trafficking and the harm it is causing to the youngest of our citizens. The tour is credited with rescuing two children in Atlanta.
Echols, who has a Masters degree in Non-Profit Organizations, considers the charities in our state a great resource. Echols founded “TeenPact” and grew the mock legislative youth program for teens to 38 states in his tenure. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He most recently created the William Wilberforce Weekend for young men--founded after the great abolitionist Wilberforce, who helped end the slave trade in Great Britain. Tim also has been at the forefront in fighting human sex trafficking. He created the "Unholy Tour" that helps policy makers see first-hand the harms of human trafficking.
Tim has tried to lead by example. He added solar hot water heating to his Athens home just before being sworn-in. He bought a natural gas car, a propane van and owns two electric cars. Tim also led the effort to provide the Salvation Army and two other agencies with $5 million to help low income seniors in Atlanta with heating assistance. That program continues today. Tim created a pilot program to provide specially equipped IPADS to the hearing impaired to help them function more productively. That programs continues today as well.
Recognizing that ultimately his job is about helping plan Georgia's energy future, Tim has supported and approved new carbon-free nuclear energy sources for Georgia that will provide baseload power for generations. Tim supports recycling the nuclear waste and using the remaining energy resident in those fuel rods as the most sustainable course of action for the state and nation. He has represented the United States at the World Nuclear Exhibition for the last four years.
Tim and his wife, Windy, have been married 33 years and they have seven children. He lives in Jefferson, Georgia.
By Katherine Shepherd
Story Published: Oct 22, 2015
(Story Updated: Oct 22, 2015 )
With the changing season comes other changes. You change your clothes from cooler to warmer and your thermostat from air conditioning to heat.
WGXA sat down with Commissioner Tim Echols of the Public Service Commission, the agency that regulates utilities in Georgia.