AMP Seven Hats Winner Dedicated to Hometown Public Power7 min read
By Zachary Hoffman, Manager of Communications and Publications
When Kyle Francis, assistant village administrator for the Village of Versailles, began his career with a civil engineering firm in 2006, he did so in the private sector. For the next several years, Francis developed his skills in surveying, civil design, construction administration, project management and more. Though he enjoyed the work and the challenges it provided, he felt something was missing.
In 2015, Francis applied for the position of utilities superintendent with the Village of Versailles. As a lifelong resident of Versailles, he wanted to give back to the community that had played a role in shaping who he was.
Francis’ background in civil engineering and construction quickly proved valuable to the village, and he eventually was promoted to assistant village administrator while maintaining his duties as utilities superintendent. After seven short years, Francis’ hard work on behalf of the village was recognized when, with the support of his colleagues, Mayor Jeff Subler nominated Francis for recognition through the American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) Awards Program. AMP honored Francis by naming him the recipient of the 2022 AMP Seven Hats Award. The prestigious award was presented to him during the 2022 AMP Annual Conference.
“I always enjoyed seeing people presented with this award and thought of it as something to aspire to, I just never expected it would be presented to me, especially so soon in my career,” Francis said. “As soon as I saw the first picture of myself during the announcement, I had to look down and hold together my composure. I was in complete disbelief.”
There is no denying the great impact of his work on behalf of the Village of Versailles.
Early in his tenure, Francis prioritized a project to update the village’s electric infrastructure. The project included a system-wide conversion from 4 kilovolt (kV) to 12 kV and replacement of aging transformers, poles and system components.
Upon the completion of the project, the benefits were recognized immediately. The project has helped the village to lower system losses by 1 to 2 percent, improve reliability and reduce system maintenance costs.
While Francis finds the work itself to be rewarding, it is the meaning behind the work that truly motivates him.
“This has been a really rewarding project for our lineworkers and myself, as we did all of that distribution work in-house,” Francis said. “When I worked in the private sector, we did all types of improvement projects, but you never got to see the improvement beyond the project completion. In working for my hometown, I get the honor and privilege of seeing and benefiting from those improvements every day. I am so proud to have been a part of it all.”
Those in public power understand that we are stronger together. Versailles is a great example of the benefit of a strong relationship between a community and its electric system. Public power is part of the community, working to improve the lives of all those that are a part of it.
Francis and a number of his employees represent this ideal to the fullest. As dedicated members and partners of the Village of Versailles, their jobs take on a great deal more personal meaning. Their work on behalf of the community is in fact work on behalf of family, friends and neighbors.
Francis’ dedication and commitment to the village has been widely recognized throughout the community, as well as by other members of the village’s leadership. That is one of the reasons that Versailles Mayor Jeff Subler was so proud to nominate him for the AMP Seven Hats Award.
“Kyle is an amazing asset to the Versailles community,” Versailles Mayor Jeff Subler said. “When I think of the Seven Hats award, the first person I think of is Kyle. His work ethic is a great example of a person and employee very deserving of this award.”
In his nomination, Subler stated that Francis is well liked and well respected by village employees, who note that he always leads by example and continuously looks out for the best interests of the village and its employees.
Additionally, Subler stated that Francis is well known in the community. He performs a great deal of outreach with local schools, helping to introduce students to the idea of a career in public power or public service. He also frequently writes articles published in the local newspaper, and the village’s newsletter and social media to keep the public informed about current village projects and planned system upgrades.
Residents have grown to appreciate his frequent updates and often approach him with additional questions or simply wish to thank him for his efforts.
“Public power, including Versailles, isn’t just here to provide a utility service to the community, but to improve the community overall,” Francis said. “We live in this community; we care about the community, and we are here for the community.”
The impact of Francis on Versailles and public power is plain to see and is the reason that he is a deserving recipient of the 2022 AMP Seven Hats Award.
The Village of Versailles is a small community located in western Ohio, near the Indiana border. The village has a population of about 2,700 and serves 1,941 electric customers.
The Village of Versailles takes advantage of several of AMP’s member-exclusive services, including: the AMP Annual Conference, Technical Services Conference, Efficiency Smart, lineworker, OSHA and safety trainings and participation in the circuit rider and mutual aid programs. Additionally, the village is involved in many of AMP’s power generation projects, including the AMP Fremont Energy Center, Solar Phase II, Belleville, Greenup, Meldahl and Phase 1 Hydro projects, OMEGA JV2, OMEGA JV5, AMPGS and Prairie State Generating Company.