Interview with John Cartwright, June 18, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Being hired at TVA

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--the following is an oral history interview conducted as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirees Association Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright describes how he was hired at the TVA and provides an overview of his educational background.

Keywords: Architectural Branch; Architectural firms; Family; Internships; Interviews; Job offers; Resumes; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Architects; Atlanta (Ga.); Childhood; City planning; Gatlinburg (Tenn.); Jacksonville (Fla.); North Carolina; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Vacations

00:02:50 - Town Lift Program

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about your first--uh--job assignment at TVA?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright details his first job in the Town Lift Program. Cartwright explains what the purpose of this TVA program was.

Keywords: Assistance; Civic organizations; Downtowns; First jobs; Funding; Interesting people; Planning schools; Rotary Club; Small towns; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift program

Subjects: Athens (Tenn.); Bruce (Miss.); Childhood; City planning; Community development; Dalton (Ga.); Dayton (Tenn.); Economic development; Merchants; Money; North Carolina; Politicians; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

GPS: Dayton (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.5, -85.016667
GPS: Dalton (Ga.)
Map Coordinates: 34.771111, -84.971667
GPS: Bruce (Miss.)
Map Coordinates: 33.991944, -89.342222
GPS: Athens (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.448171, -84.602069
00:04:51 - Towns Lift towns

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any--uh--interesting memories about some of the people or characters you worked with?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright describes some of the conditions he found in the Town Lift program downtowns that he worked in.

Keywords: Appearance; Courthouses; Downtowns; Federal grants; Integrated resource management; John Pope; Main Street program; Parking; Scopes Trial; Similar ideas; Special tax district; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift program; Traffic flow; Vibrant downtown; Work sites

Subjects: Architects; Community development; Construction workers; Dalton (Ga.); Dayton (Tenn.); Drawings; Economic development; Economists; Engineers; History; National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States; Nuclear power plants; Participation; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

GPS: Dayton (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.5, -85.016667
GPS: Dalton (Ga.)
Map Coordinates: 34.771111, -84.971667
00:08:15 - Implementation of Town Lift

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Partial Transcript: Generally, TVA did not help with the implementation.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright articulates the implementation process of Town Lift program ideas.

Keywords: Banks; Businesses; Community activity; Downtown Disney; Evolved; Federal grants; Focal points; Fun; Gazebos; Ideas; Implementation; Landscaping; Local money; Special tax districts; Survived; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Thrive; Town Lift Program; Tree planting programs

Subjects: Bruce (Miss.); Communities; Community development; Dalton (Ga.); Dayton (Tenn.); Economic development; Entertainment; Farmers' markets; Festivals; Meetings; Model; Money; Music; Restaurants; Shopping; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

GPS: Dayton (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.5, -85.016667
GPS: Dalton (Ga.)
Map Coordinates: 34.771111, -84.971667
GPS: Bruce (Miss.)
Map Coordinates: 33.991944, -89.342222
00:11:39 - Town Lift versus other programs

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--what you were doing with Town Lift, the kind of assistance, was that something that was--uh--unique to TVA or was that going on around the country?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright compares Town Lift to other similar, more expensive programs in the private sector.

Keywords: Architectural Branch; Downtowns; Mayors; Navigation and Regional Studies Division; Service to community; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift Program

Subjects: Architects; Architectural firms; City planners; Community development; Comparisons; Cooperation; Cost; Economic development; Economists; Engineering; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

00:14:24 - Career overview

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Partial Transcript: Could you--uh--just go through your entire twenty year career--uh--TVA--uh--work experience very briefly...

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright provides an overview of his career at the TVA.

Keywords: Business Development Project Manager; Community contact; EU Visitor Program; Federal Rural Tourism Council; Service sector; Tellico Project Manager; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift Program

Subjects: Career; European Union; Management; Pakistan; Philippines; Portugal; Regional planning; Sudan; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Thailand; United Nations; United States. Agency for International Development; Work

GPS: Portugal
Map Coordinates: 38.766667, -9.15
GPS: Philippines
Map Coordinates: 14.583333, 120.966667
GPS: Sudan
Map Coordinates: 15, 32
GPS: Pakistan
Map Coordinates: 33.691667, 73.05
00:16:28 - Tellico Dam history

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Partial Transcript: Next was becoming Tellico Project Manager.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright outlines the historical context surrounding the Tellico Dam and the TVA philosophical shift to community development during the final stages of the Tellico project.

Keywords: Burial grounds; Case study; Community contact; Consideration; Counties; Damming a river; Decentralized; Development; Emphasis; Expensive; Factory; Farms; Future; Industrial sites; Integrated resource development; New town development; Pre-Civil War; Project Manager; Reorganization; Snail darters; TVA land; Tellico Project; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift Program; Turbines; Utopian vision

Subjects: Blount County (Tenn.); British; Change; Cherokee Indians; City planning; Columbia (Md.); Community development; Dams; Economic development; Electricity; Endangered species; Fort Loudoun (Tenn. : Fort); Historic preservation; History; Housing; Knoxville (Tenn.); Lakes; Loudon County (Tenn.); Money; Monroe County (Tenn.); Offices; Opportunity; Perspective; Pressure; Public lands; Recreation; Reservoirs; Reston (Va.); Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tellico Lake (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee River; Tennessee Valley Authority; Value; Vision

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:23:10 - Tri-county area affected by Tellico Dam

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Partial Transcript: --Um--in those three counties, I--I thought at the time had sort of three different perspectives.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright describes the conditions found in the tri-county area surrounding the Tellico Dam just before the project was completed.

Keywords: Counties; Dam construction; Excited; Industrial development; Industrial jobs; Interstate; No economic growth; No pressure; Preservation; Reports; Road networks; Streams; Tellico Project; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Urban

Subjects: Blount County (Tenn.); Economic development; Experience; Job creation; Loudon County (Tenn.); Monroe County (Tenn.); Recreation; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Value

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:26:07 - Farmland property affected by Tellico impoundment

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Partial Transcript: That's right. And if you had--um--farmland that you loved...

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright discusses the process by which the TVA bought farmland surrounding the Tellico Dam site. Challenges of buying farmland from the owners are detailed. The reactions of Chinese government visitors at TVA to this relocation process are recalled.

Keywords: Agreement; Attention; Boats; Challenged; Compensation; Difficult; Early; Easy; Farmland; Hard; Insistent; Interesting; Land grants; Late; Less land; Moving; Nice; Offers; Postman; Process; Protests; Purchased land; Relative; Relocation; Reporters; Selling; Settled; Stayed; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Underwater; Visitors

Subjects: Appraisal; China; Communism; Courts; Families; Farmers; Farms; Money; People; Problem solving; Revolutionary War; Rivers; Squatters; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Time; United States. Marshals Service; Villages

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:33:39 - Politics around Tellico Dam

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--and what was your positi--what did you do as Tellico Project Manager, yourself?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright highlights the political context behind the decision to complete the Tellico project.

Keywords: 1980 U.S. Presidential Election; Agreement; Aware; Bills; Built; Community contact; Completed; Disappointed; Environmentalist movement; Finished; Howard Baker; Indecision; Interference; Jimmy Carter; John Duncan; Need; Options; Politics; Questions; Road network; Snail darters; Supportive; Sympathetic; Tennessee Delegation; Tennessee Department of Transportation; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Turmoil; Unfinished

Subjects: Bridges; Courts; Endangered species; Habitat; Limbo; Pressure; Recreation; Roads; Solar energy; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:38:07 - Issues with leasing farmland back to former owners

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Partial Transcript: To--um--get people ready to move out.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright recalls the issues that arose when the TVA leased the farmlands that they purchased back to the original owners. When the Tellico project was to be completed, the TVA faced challenges from former landowners when the land had to be returned to its rightful owner, the TVA.

Keywords: Best crops; Crop loss; Farmland; Flooded; Harvest projection; Leased farmland; Liability; Moving; Original owners; Paid; Refused; Rivers; Samples; Soybeans; Square yard; Statements; TVA Board; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Underwater; Unpredictable

Subjects: Agriculture; Crop yields; Crops; Eviction; Farmers; Farms; Floods; Harvest; Money; Muscle Shoals (Ala.); Nutrients; Public lands; Snow; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Time; United States. Marshals Service; Weather; Winter

00:43:23 - Transition to USAID work

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Partial Transcript: You indicated you became Project Manager for USAID and the Service Sector Development Program.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright talks about changing jobs at TVA and his work with USAID.

Keywords: Land-use planning; Project Manager; Sections; Service sector; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Town Lift Program; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Variety

Subjects: Careers; Economic development; Nuclear power plants; Planning; Regional planning; Staff; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; United States. Agency for International Development

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:45:00 - Tellico land-use plan / Energy conservation work

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Partial Transcript: One of the main things that I worked on was--uh--a new land-use plan for Tellico.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright details his work on creating a land-use planning measure for the Tellico Dam. Cartwright also discusses energy conservation measures the TVA undertook independently. TVA's collaboration with USAID on developing a project called Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities is examined.

Keywords: Approval; Assessment; Bosses; Community relations; Concerned; Contracts; Counties; Dependency on oil; Energy management plan; Foreign oil; Hard; Highly-educated; International; Land-use planning; Local government; Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities; Resource management; Secondary Cities Development; Small towns; Tellico Area Planning Council; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); U.S. Department of State; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Wood stoves

Subjects: Blount County (Tenn.); Dams; Electricity; Energy conservation; Engineers; Federal government; Heating; Interest; Loudon County (Tenn.); Middle East; Monroe County (Tenn.); Norris (Tenn.); Regional planning; Saudi Arabia; South America; Technology; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; United States. Agency for International Development

GPS: Norris (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 36.199444, -84.069167
GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
00:50:04 - Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities program in Philippines

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Partial Transcript: Overseas, we had--um--the--the first site was in the Philippines.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright reflects upon the TVA and USAID joint program Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities in the Philippines.

Keywords: Adjust; Complicated; Consultants; Energy calibration; Energy meters; Energy/resource conservation; Experts; Free reign; Grants; Houses; Industrial sites; Issues; Kilowatt hours; Managers; Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities (MEREC); Meter calibration; Model homes; Private sector; Savings; Tacloban (Philippines); Talented; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Unsuccessful

Subjects: Bristol (Tenn.); Budget; Chickens; Community development; Cooperation; Cost; Economic development; Engineers; Federal government; Gardens; Materials; Money; Philippines; Schools; Staff; Successful; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Travel; United States. Agency for International Development; Vaccines; Water conservation

GPS: Tacloban (Philippines)
Map Coordinates: 11.24, 125
00:57:05 - USAID programs in Thailand and Portugal

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--Jim Gober worked a lot with the Thai project, which was in Phuket.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright articulates his involvement in TVA and USAID projects in Portugal and Thailand.

Keywords: Authors; Books; Central government; Cheap; Development; Dumping; Efficiency; Effluent; Environment; Examples; Funds; Mayors; Mining; Recognition; Recycling; Seven Cities Program; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tours; Tsunamis; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Valuable; Wood stoves

Subjects: Climate; Communities; Economic development; Economics; European Union; Heating; Lisbon (Portugal); Mines and mining; Mountains; Perspective; Phuket (Thailand); Pictures; Portugal; Rivers; Rural; Schools; Study; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Thailand; Time; Tourism; Travel; United States. Agency for International Development

GPS: Phuket (Thailand)
Map Coordinates: 7.89, 98.398333
GPS: Portugal
Map Coordinates: 38.766667, -9.15
01:00:48 - Program requirements / Political context of program

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Partial Transcript: But you prim--primarily went to Philippines, and the--uh--Thailand, and Portugal?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright lists the requirements for countries to participate in the joint USAID and TVA programs. Cartwright provides his opinion on how the political context of the 1970s and 1980s caused the U.S. government to increase its presence in less-developed nations in response to the perceived threat of Communism.

Keywords: Active presence; African colonies; Beneficial; Cape Verde; Communist Party; Concerned; Confusion; Coordination; Decisions; Environment; Government type; Instability; Interesting; Local; Local control; Managing Energy and Resource Efficient Cities; Overseas; Partners; Peace Corps; Population increase; Seven Cities Program; Sophisticated; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Unprepared; Urban; Urban villages; Visits; Worry

Subjects: Africa; Communism; Cost; Developing countries; Economic development; Federal government; Indonesia; Java (Indonesia); Money; Money management; Monitoring; Philippines; Population; Population density; Portugal; Rural; Sao Tome and Principe; Staff; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Thailand; Unemployment; United States. Agency for International Development; Vietnam War

GPS: Portugal
Map Coordinates: 38.766667, -9.15
GPS: Philippines
Map Coordinates: 14.583333, 120.966667
01:06:05 - United Nations and TVA work

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Partial Transcript: Interesting. Let's--uh--jump ahead then. --Uh--you--uh--in--around 1989 then--uh--indicated you managed Business Development Programs for UN-funded projects?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright illustrates how the UN and the TVA decided to collaborate following the end of the contract between TVA and USAID.

Keywords: Contacts; Contracts; Desert climates; Dislike; Experts; Faculty; Finished; Land; Like; Perception; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tension; UNDP Development program; United Nations (UN); United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Subjects: Administration; Chaos; Clay; Consultants; Diversity; Engineers; Iraq War; Irrigation; Management; Pakistan; Sudan; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; United Nations; United States; United States. Agency for International Development; University of Washington; Waterlogging (Soils)

GPS: Sudan
Map Coordinates: 15, 32
GPS: Pakistan
Map Coordinates: 33.691667, 73.05
01:09:20 - Unsuccessful bid for Maryville College UN program

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Partial Transcript: We had a--a--a project that never took root that I always thought was kind of a fascinating one.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright outlines an unsuccessful program by the UN and the TVA at Maryville College for a training center in the summer.

Keywords: Inexpensive; Overseas; Projects; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Training centers; United Nations (UN); Unsuccessful

Subjects: Administration; Change; Cost; Last of the Mohicans (Motion picture : 1992); Maryville College; Movie; North Carolina; Summer; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tourism; Training; United Nations

01:11:17 - Business Development Program outreach / Dynamics in Tennessee Valley

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Partial Transcript: We worked on the Business Development Program.

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright explains his role in the Business Development Program, including in the Tennessee Valley through Business Development Week, and abroad. Cartwright characterizes the dynamics in the Tennessee Valley that made the TVA successful in its economic development programs throughout the years.

Keywords: Assets; Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc. (BVI); Business Development Program; Business Development Week; Business incubators; Business types; Census data; Congress; Counties; Demonstration farmers; Federal Rural Tourism Council; Federal agencies; Help; Ideas; Industrial development; Information; Interesting; Interviews; Mature economy; National Park Service; Paperwork; Problem; Programs; Projects; Promote tourism; Recruitment; Service sector; Small Business Administration (United States); Special Visitor Program; Study tours; Supportive; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tourism Caucus; Trucks; United Nations (UN)

Subjects: Chattanooga (Tenn.); Communities; Comparisons; Demonstrations; Economic analysis; Economic development; Europe; Exports; Job creation; Leaders; Learning; Loans; Management; Mechanization; Model; Money; Nashville (Tenn.); Recreation; Technical assistance; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tourism; United Nations; United States. Department of Agriculture; Washington (D.C.); Word-of-mouth-advertising

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
01:17:53 - Accomplishments / Impact of TVA

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Partial Transcript: So what else, Phil?

Segment Synopsis: Cartwright evaluates what his greatest accomplishments as a TVA employee were. Cartwright considers the impact of the TVA upon the Tennessee Valley.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Advice; Big; Commonality; Control; Efficiency; Electric co-ops; Empowering locals; Energy prices; Federal agencies; Gazebos; Goals; Indirect; Integrated resource development; Issues; Local anger; Meter calibration; Non-urban; Opportunities; Overseas work; Positive change; Problems; Secondary cities; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tense meeting; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Visible; Visitor program

Subjects: Bees; Chaos; City planning; Cooperation; Demonstrations; Destiny; Education; Energy; Environmental issues; European Union; Farmers; Honey; Hope; Housing; Knowledge; Money; Oil; Philippines; Pictures; Roads; Rural; Successful; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; United Nations; United States. Agency for International Development; Wood; Word-of-mouth-advertising

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Philippines
Map Coordinates: 14.583333, 120.966667