Vernon Pierce retires from Entergy

Vernon Pierce, whose career at Entergy spans more than 43 years, has announced his retirement.

Pierce officially retired at the end of January as vice president of customer service for Entergy Texas Inc. where he was responsible for oversight of distribution operations, including construction, engineering, repair and expansion of infrastructure for existing and new customers. He also maintained oversight of storm response activities, and most recently, led the Entergy Texas response to Hurricane Harvey, which knocked out power to 186,200 customers.

“Vernon is leaving behind a legacy as a champion of safety of our employees and a tireless advocate for our customers,” said Sallie Rainer, Entergy Texas president and CEO. “His long-standing relationships within our community, including local officials and key stakeholders, have been instrumental in our achievements, particularly during times of crisis.”

At its Jan. 30 meeting, the Beaumont City Council surprised Pierce by recognizing him for his decades of service to Southeast Texas.

“All of the city staff that’s here today… would say what a huge role you’ve played in every disaster we have had that affected electricity and others,” Mayor Becky Ames told Pierce. “I was the mayor pro-tem for Rita, and I was the mayor for Ike and Harvey, and I can’t tell you how unbelievable Vernon has been in helping us get through some of those storms and being so responsive.

“You’re loved by a lot of people, Vernon, and today is your day at City Council.”

Ames then proclaimed Jan. 30, 2018, as “Vernon Pierce Day” in Beaumont.

In accepting the proclamation, Pierce said as he stepped up to the podium, “This is quite a surprise. This is quite a nice honor.

“We moved to Beaumont … 20 years ago, and we just fell in love with Beaumont. It’s a great place. … A lot of people ask, ‘Where are you going when you retire?’ And, I say, ‘Nowhere.’ I’m staying right here in Beaumont.”

Pierce thanked his wife, Sheree, and his staff, and gave special appreciation to the man who hired him and brought him to Texas, Joe Domino.

“He hired me sight unseen — didn’t know me,” Pierce recalled. “One short interview, and he hired me. I wouldn’t have made it to Texas if it hadn’t been for Joe.”

The current Entergy Texas president and CEO was in attendance for the proclamation and praised Pierce for his longtime loyalty to the company and community.

“He really has been an unbelievable employee for the company,” Rainer said. “He gives tirelessly. You won’t find a more dedicated individual to the company. Thank you all for seeing that in him. He’s done so much for the community. … My congratulations to him.”

Under Pierce’s leadership, Entergy Texas worked more than 3 million man-hours without a lost-time accident and earned the best safety record of all Entergy operating companies for three of the last five years. Most recently, Hurricane Harvey restoration was also completed without a lost-time accident.

During Pierce’s tenure as customer service vice president, Entergy Texas was twice awarded for outstanding customer service by J.D. Power for business customers. And last year, the company was second in residential customer satisfaction for mid-size utilities.

Pierce is an active member of the Golden Triangle community, serving on a number of community organizations, including commissioner for the Sabine-Neches Navigation District, past president of the Beaumont Rotary, president of the Texas Energy Museum and a board member of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.

“Vernon’s is an inspirational story of employee success,” said Rainer. “From co-op student to vice president of customer service, he has worked his way through three Entergy companies and a number of customer-facing positions, all the while keeping safety and customer service excellence at the forefront of his hard work. We wish him and his family much happiness in the future.”

Pierce’s career with Entergy started in 1979 in Mississippi as a residential salesman. He was promoted to various positions in the sales area and ultimately became the Central Division market manager.

In 1993, Pierce moved to Arkansas as the Major Accounts manager before becoming area line manager and ultimately network manager. In 1998, Pierce relocated to Beaumont as the resource manager for Entergy Gulf States – Texas. In 2003, he was named director of customer service for EGSI-TX, and in 2014, became vice president of customer service.

He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Mississippi State University. During his college years, Pierce was a co-op student for Mississippi Power & Light for five years before being hired full-time upon graduation.

Entergy held a retirement party for Pierce on Jan. 23.

Stuart Barrett has been appointed interim VP while Entergy searches for Pierce’s replacement.

— Sharon Brooks

 

Photo by Tim Sudela

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