Five Questions with Alumnus Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power
Mr. Bowers was named chief executive officer of Georgia Power on Jan. 1. The company is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest producers of electricity. He also serves as executive vice president of Southern Company. Mr. Bowers is a graduate of the class of 1978.
Mr. Bowers was named chief executive officer of Georgia Power on Jan. 1. The company is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest producers of electricity. He also serves as executive vice president of Southern Company. Mr. Bowers is a graduate of the class of 1978.
Q. You are now COO of Georgia Power. What was your very first job following graduation?
A. I was a marketing representative for Gulf Power in Pensacola.
Q. As a student at UWF, did you ever envision yourself as a top executive at a company like Georgia Power?
A. Well, you always have aspirations like this, and hopefully every student coming through the university has an aspiration to create value somehow. Did I ever have the specific goal of becoming CEO coming out of UWF? No. It’s always been about doing the best job I can at each job I have. If you reach one goal or level, can you achieve the next? Throughout my career, I’ve been CEO of smaller operations, president and CEO of start-up companies. You get different views with each position and appreciate how your team of people can help bring you success.
Q. How did your time at UWF prepare you for this position?
A. Whenever you have the opportunity for higher education, you have an opportunity to think differently and prepare yourself for the future. No matter the courses you take, you must be prepared and comprehend the essence of what your instructor teaches, and then demonstrate that understanding on a test. It prepares you for critical thinking and problem solving in the workplace. Also, the lifelong friends and networks created through the university experience carry on after graduation. Going through your business career, you have these other resources you can always tap into for advice or ideas.
Q. Did you have a favorite place to hang out or activity as a student in Pensacola?
A. I was really involved with Intramural Sports, like flag football and basketball. It was a great way to have fun and also build relationships with people on campus.
Q. What tips or advice would you give to current UWF students who aspire to positions at the executive level in the future?
A. Understand business in its totality in the sense that every element – marketing, accounting, finance and so on – fits together. Get that broad perspective and also recognize that the person next to you in class will have value to you later in life. Build relationships and networks both within UWF and beyond, either through business contacts or just having advisors who serve as soundboards. And don’t stop learning. Once you graduate and have a bachelor’s degree, don’t stop there. From a competitive advantage standpoint, you may work with or for people with advanced degrees, so you always have to be willing to keep learning.
To read more about Mr. Bowers, visit http://www.georgiapower.com/about/ceo.asp.