Interview with Larry Colaw, October 11, 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: Colaw discusses how he was hired at the TVA.

Keywords: Air Force Reserves; Applications; Graduate officers; Interesting; Job offers; Letters; New hires; Project planning; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Water Resources and Planning; Water control

Subjects: Civil engineering; Columbus (Miss.); Education; Interviews; Mississippi State University; Penn State University; Planning; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

00:02:46 - Career overview

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Partial Transcript: They hired me and I went into Water Control Planning.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw provides an overview of his career at TVA and his job responsibilities in each position.

Keywords: Appraisal; Benefit-cost ratio; Benefits; Benefits of programs; Best; Bosses; Departments; Disorganized; Environmentalist Movement; Important; Increased; Industrial parks; Land use; Navigation Development and Regional Studies Branch; Selected; Situation; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Water Control Planning; Water control

Subjects: Civil engineering; Columbia Dam (Tenn.); Design; Engineering; Historic; Kingsport (Tenn.); Knoxville (Tenn.); Managers; Planning; Power; Promotion; Recreation; Staff; State governments; Study; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tims Ford Lake (Tenn.)

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Tims Ford Lake (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.196944, -86.278611
GPS: Columbia (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.615022, -87.044464
00:08:09 - Work on Timberlake planning

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Partial Transcript: And he started--uh--planning what became--it was called Timber Lake...

Segment Synopsis: Colaw details the work that went behind planning a development that was then called Timber Lake (today it is known as Tellico Village, Tennessee). Colaw discusses the initial involvement of Boeing in developing the town.

Keywords: Aubrey 'Red' Wagner; Companies; Goals; Incorporated; Jim Gober; Master developers; New community; Power lines; Reports; TVA Board; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Timberlake; Unsuccessful; Water lines

Subjects: Boeing Aerospace Company; British; City planning; Little Tennessee River (Ga.-Tenn.); Loudon County (Tenn.); Money; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tellico River (N.C. and Tenn.); Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee River; Tennessee Valley Authority; United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Vonore (Tenn.); Washington

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
00:12:15 - Tellico Dam and Reservoir project

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--then a turning point came.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw describes how the dynamics surrounding the Tellico Dam project changed when S. David Freeman became the TVA Chairman. Colaw also provides an opinion of a local businessman on the impacts of the project on his business.

Keywords: Chattanooga Times (newspaper); Closed; Colleagues; Counties; Creeks; Development; Development agencies; Division; Division Director; Finished; Idle; In charge; Industrial development; John Duncan Jr.; Lakes; Land; Local people; Moving; Open; Opposed; Phone calls; Port; Purchase; Ralph Carnathan; S. David Freeman; Shop; Shoreline development plan; Snail darters; Tellico Reservoir Planning Council; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Vote; Wood Chip Company; Wrong

Subjects: Blount County (Tenn.); Boeing Aerospace Company; Bridges; Buildings; Business; Change; Chattanooga (Tenn.); City planning; Committees; Dams; Discussion; Endangered species; Growth; Hearings; Housing; Knoxville (Tenn.); Lobbying; Loudon County (Tenn.); Monroe County (Tenn.); Newspapers; Non-governmental organizations; Reservoirs; Sierra Club; Staff; State governments; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Washington (D.C.)

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
00:21:00 - Timberlake plan

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Partial Transcript: Before you go on, could you describe what was in the plan for--

Segment Synopsis: Colaw articulates the role of the TVA in developing Timberlake (known today as Tellico Village, Tennessee). Colaw explains why TVA decided to turn over the developing and construction of Tellico Village to a private property developer.

Keywords: Boat companies; Community center; Construction; Cooper Communities Inc; Fire department; Gone; Held; Idle; Industrial land; Original plan; Projections; Protection; Recruited; Refrigerator company; Reservoir; Residential; Restaurant; River development; Same; Separate; Shoreline; Size; Studies; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Timberlake; Timken Company; Tract; Training centers; Undeveloped; Uninvolved

Subjects: Arkansas; Boats; Building; Change; Community development; Golf courses; Housing; Industries; Japan; Job creation; Mountains; Retirement; Singapore; Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Trails; Vonore (Tenn.)

GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
00:28:07 - Development of Tellico Village after Tellico Dam was completed

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Partial Transcript: Well, right after the--uh--reservoir was created...

Segment Synopsis: Colaw reflects upon how Tellico Village developed after the Tellico Dam project was completed. Colaw also explains who took over the development of the village following TVA's departure from the project. Industrial opportunities for the village are listed.

Keywords: Closed; Cooper Communities Inc.; Dick Freeman; Industrial development; Industrial parks; Jack Hammontree; Land transfers; Non-profit private corporation; Particle board; S. David Freeman; Satisfied; State Industrial Director; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Wood Chip Mill

Subjects: Boeing Aerospace Company; Friend; Industries; Job creation; Knoxville (Tenn.); Meeting; Monroe County (Tenn.); Philosophy; Technical assistance; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tractor trailers

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
00:32:43 - Decision to retire from TVA

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Partial Transcript: I was encouraged to--uh--apply for the job.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw briefly explains why he decided to retire from the TVA and move into regional development work.

Keywords: Enjoyed; Industrial development; Projects; Ralph Carnathan; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Unfinished

Subjects: Economic development; Regional planning; Retirement; Staff; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

00:36:12 - Regional Industrial Development Information Management System (RIDIMS)

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--we developed the--what--the Regional Information Management System.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw illustrates his work in creating the Regional Information Management System while working in the industrial development realm of TVA.

Keywords: Connected; Departments; Development districts; Division; Excited; Gone; Industrial development; National network; New; Office of Power; Population trends; Portable; Prospects; Regional Industrial Development Information Management System (RIDIMS); Regional Information Management System; Regional development agencies; State effort; Studies; Survived; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Census; Computers; Data; Economic development; Electricity; Offices; Research; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Typewriters

00:40:28 - Development districts and industrial prospects

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Partial Transcript: Would there have been competition among the development districts?

Segment Synopsis: Colaw highlights some of the most important initiatives the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency implemented while he was director.

Keywords: Banks; Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (BVI); Bridges; Buses; Connections; Cooper Communities Inc.; Dependable; Executive Director; Federal money; Files; Fire stations; Hallways; Highways; Layout; Loans; Local industries; Medical clinics; Messages; Nice; Offices; Overcharging; Presidents; Rail spurs; Separate offices; Shopping centers; State funding; State government; Substations; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Training centers; U.S. Air Force; Utilities; Wastewater treatment plant

Subjects: Classrooms; Cooperation; Economic development; Equipment; Industries; Infrastructure; Innovations; Japan; Loudon County (Va.); Management; Money; Norris (Tenn.); Offices; Rent; Risk; Schools; Singapore; Staff; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Volunteers; Welding; Work

00:43:27 - Tellico Reservoir Development Agency work

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about your work--uh--even though you weren't a TVA employee, with the--uh--the development agency.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw provides an overview of his work as the Executive Director of the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency. Cooperation with the Tennessee State Government on a training center for the community is emphasized. Difficulties with renting and creating multiple offices are also detailed.

Keywords: Bank presidents; Banks; Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (BVI); Bridges; Company; Connections; Dependable; Drafting rooms; Executive Director; Files; Fire stations; Funding; Hallways; Highways; Hired; Loans; Local industries; Loudon County Utilities; Medical clinics; Messages; Nice; Offices; Overcharging; Ports; Rail spurs; Road system; Ron Hammontree; Shopping centers; State government; Substations; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Training centers; U.S. Air Force; Wastewater treatment plant

Subjects: Classrooms; Economic development; Equipment; Industries; Infrastructure; Innovations; Loudon County (Tenn.); Management; Money; Norris (Tenn.); Offices; Rent; Risk; Schools; Singapore; Staff; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; Volunteers; Welding; Work

00:52:02 - Development agency versus municipality

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Partial Transcript: As you are talking, I've just been asking myself, w--it sounds more like you're as much as almost a municipality as a development agency.

Segment Synopsis: Colaw explains the main differences between his work in a development agency versus the responsibilities of a municipal or local government.

Keywords: Banks; Boat ramps; Construction; Development district; Economic Development Administration (EDA); Ending; Expansions; Facility; Federal grant; Grant writing; Incentives; Industrial areas; Input; Instructions; Land purchase; Land transfers; Municipalities; Opposed; Owners; Parkways; Port; Repairs; Repaving; Replacement; Reserve funds; Right-away; S. David Freeman; Selling land; Split; State government; State highways; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tellico Service Area; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Transfers; Water company; Water plants

Subjects: Building; Economic development; Knoxville (Tenn.); Loudon County (Tenn.); Money; Roads; Technical assistance; Tellico Dam (Tenn.); Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

GPS: Tellico Dam (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
00:57:14 - Tellico Village services / Industrial park

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Partial Transcript: Now--uh--revenues that are generated through like, say, property tax--

Segment Synopsis: Colaw discusses how he receives services (such as police and fire department) as a resident of Tellico Village. Colaw also illustrates the help he got through his connections as a former TVA employee to complete an industrial park for the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency.

Keywords: Back-up; Bill Willis; Construction; Convincing; Counties; County sheriffs; County taxes; Fees; Finances; Future; Grocery stores; Guns; Highway lanes; Industrial parks; Kind; Matsushita Refrigeration Company of America (MARCA); Ownership; Paperwork; Personnel; Poles; Problems; Project planning; Property taxes; Recruiting; Reservoirs; Residential; Right-of-ways; State highways; TVA General Manager; TVA Power; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Volunteer Fire Department; Volunteer police; Wife

Subjects: Competition; Cost; Home; Knoxville (Tenn.); Loudon County (Tenn.); Money; Monroe County (Tenn.); People; Planning; Power; Singapore; Tax assessment; Tellico Village (Tenn.); Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Timken Company

GPS: Tellico Village (Tenn.)
Map Coordinates: 35.7, -84.26
01:02:45 - Retirement issues

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Partial Transcript: Bill Willis is one of the people that has been interviewed--

Segment Synopsis: Colaw reveals a problem he encountered in receiving his pension when attempting to retire from the TVA.

Keywords: Bill Willis; Copies; Eligibility; Friends; Honest; Ineligible; Larry Calvert; Paperwork; Pensions; Phone calls; Retiree; Retirement board; TVA General Manager; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Subjects: Meeting; Retirement; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority

01:05:29 - TVA changes

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Partial Transcript: You know, three or four guys in it...

Segment Synopsis: Colaw highlights some of the most important changes to TVA that occurred throughout his career.

Keywords: Brilliant; Completed; Construction; Cumberland Plateau; Designed; Desks; Effort; Forests; Gone; Last project; Opposed; Projects; Resource development; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Water resources; Workforce

Subjects: Career; Change; Dams; Employees; Nashville (Tenn.); Obed River (Tenn.); People; Planning; Power; Reservoirs; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Towers; Work

01:08:19 - Memories/TVA staff

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Partial Transcript: --Um--looking back over your TVA career--um--what was your most memorable experience?

Segment Synopsis: Colaw shares a memory of when he first arrived to Knoxville and his initial assignment at the TVA. Colaw reflects upon the changes that he witnessed to staff numbers at the TVA. Colaw then talks of some of the most influential staff members upon his career.

Keywords: Assistant Manager; Cars; Cuts; Departments; Groups; Heart attacks; Lowest employment; Maximum employment; Motels; Nice; Plants; Project planning; Respected; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tourist homes; Training programs; U.S. Air Force; Union building; Uptown; Well-educated; Wife

Subjects: Coal; Crossville (Tenn.); Death; Design; Flood control; Growth; Knoxville (Tenn.); Memories; Newspapers; Oldsmobile automobile; People; Power; Respect; Retirement; Roads; Rooms; Staff; Sunday; Surprise; Tennessee; Tennessee Valley Authority; Training; University of Tennessee; Work