Tickle College of Engineering alumnus Gabriel “Gabe” Bolas II will be the new president and CEO of the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), taking over in October 2018 from retiring CEO Mintha Roach.
Bolas earned two degrees at UT—his BS in electrical engineering in 1994 and his MS in engineering and industrial management in 2001. His engineering education formed a foundation for his success at KUB.
“As an undergraduate, I took every power-systems course I could—I enjoyed what I learned from professors like Lawler and Symonds, and I used it all as a utility engineer,” said Bolas. “In my graduate work, I learned about project management and engineering economics, which is invaluable to me as we implement our infrastructure replacement program, Century II. Our capital program is $228 million for this fiscal year. That is a lot of work, and I am grateful that my UT experience prepared me well to ensure we’re spending those funds efficiently and effectively.”
Bolas joined KUB in 1995 as an engineer and has held his current position of senior vice president and chief engineer since 2017. He has served as manager of engineering systems, environmental programs, and overhead construction, and assistant to the chief operating officer. He is a member and past president and state director of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, receiving the Young Engineer of the Year award in 2001 and the Engineer of the Year award in 2013.
Bolas is a member of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2018 and currently serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and the Sertoma Center. He is a founding member of the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 1922 Society. He has worked closely with various environmental and development groups to create relationships between KUB and the environmental community, as well as attracting new industrial employers to the area. He served on the team that was instrumental in securing a $15 million grant for weatherization of Knoxville’s low-income homes.
Bolas and his wife, Tarah, are parents of three sons, Gabriel III, Zander, and Avery.
“I’m also grateful to UT because it’s where I met my wife,” said Bolas. “She’s also a UT engineering grad, and we met when we were in classes together. So I have lots of reasons to be thankful for my experiences in the engineering school.”
KUB is a municipal utility serving Knox County and parts of seven adjacent counties and provides electric, gas, water, and wastewater services to more than 457,000 customers.
“Everyone at KUB is committed to customer service, and that won’t change,” said Bolas. “Our industry, like many others, faces challenges ahead—such as distributed energy resources and other technologies—and we’re working now to be sure we’re prepared for the future.”