RP&L's new assistant GM is a familiar face around city government


RICHMOND, Ind. — After more than 16 years of working for city government, Tony Foster left in 2015, ready for a new challenge and a lifestyle change that would let him spend more time with his family.

Now, Foster has made another career move, one that brings him back to a community leadership role and to a close working relationship with city officials.

Foster is the new assistant general manager for Richmond Power & Light, a job he began on July 9.

"It’s a very unique opportunity. One that does not present itself very often in our community," he said.

Foster previously served as grants administrator and later as director of the Department of Metropolitan Development for the city of Richmond under then-Mayor Sally Hutton.

As Hutton's administration came to an end in 2015, Foster announced he would be leaving to become the executive director of the Area 9 In-Home & Community Services Agency at Indiana University East.

That organization ceased operations last year, but Foster remained at the college as its director of compliance and special projects.

"I loved working at IU East, but I also kind of missed the day-to-day challenges that a public sector job has. I didn’t realize how much I missed that," he said.

"I was told about this opportunity and thought, 'You know, it doesn’t hurt to apply,' and here I am."

Foster concedes he has a lot to learn about his new job, but he believes it's a good fit with the experience he gained while working for the city years ago. As a publicly owned utility, the elected members of Richmond Common Council also make up the board of directors for RP&L.

"It just sounded like something that fit more in line with my interests and skill set," he said. "I missed working on projects and long-term planning and being more directly engaged in daily operations.

"This still has a relationship with city government, and I find that intriguing."

It was Foster's background of working for the city that, at least in part, helped him land the job, RP&L General Manager Randy Baker said.

"He was a local guy and was familiar with a lot of things. His previous background with the city gave him a familiarity with a lot of things we face down here as well," Baker said.

The position of assistant GM isn't a new one, but it's been a while (the mid-'90s) since the utility has had someone in the role, according to Baker.

"That position is going to be overlooking some of the departments. He and I will be sharing some of that, kind of a redundancy for my position," Baker said.

Foster has been spending his first couple of weeks at RP&L getting to know the employees and the functions of each of the departments, a process that he expects will take a bit of time to finish before he can settle in.

"Everybody that works here says you learn something new every day. I see that lasting a long while," he joked.

Source: Richmond Palladium-Item