Employee Spotlight: John Lanning, SVP Operations Cloverdale

Starting as an Electrical Apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) as soon as he got out of high school, Johnny Lanning, Senior Vice President of Operations in our Cloverdale office, likes to reflect on how much New River Electrical has grown since then.

“I was just 19 years old when I reported to New River as a First-Step Apprentice,” said Lanning, “and I’ve been here ever since.”

As time went on, Lanning grew with the company, being promoted from apprentice to journeyman to foreman to eventually becoming senior vice president. During that time, he’s worked in many different sectors of New River’s operations and is appreciative of the people that came before him. “I had an all-star cast to follow who set the standard of integrity and hard work,” he said. 

History of Innovation

Over the years, New River has been on the forefront of innovations to help propel our corporate divisions to a higher standard, a tradition that directly benefits our customers. From early on, New River’s management realized that, without a motivated workforce, innovations would just be ideas.

Our Underground Transmission Division is one example of innovation. “Not only are our people extremely capable, but we also have the best equipment to get the job done,” said Lanning. “We have the ability to handle reels over 200,000 pounds and 17-foot tall reels with our equipment, and in the future, cable pulls will be even longer and heavier. Because we’ve already pushed the envelope with cable installation projects, we’re in a better position to handle these record-breaking projects.”

One of Lanning’s most memorable projects was getting the Underground Transmission Division off the ground with his mentor, Buddy Furr. “We installed the 115kV Underground Transmission cable on the Bonner Bridge at Cape Hatteras North Carolina back in 1995,” said Lanning.

It was in those early projects when the Underground Transmission Division developed numerous pieces of specialty equipment that steered the extra hi-voltage cable installation market in this country. “We still use these pieces of equipment on our projects today. In fact, in 2019, our underground team installed the cable on the new bridge that replaced that original project,” said Lanning. “This type of innovation has really set us apart over the years.”

Our People are the Key to Our Success

New River Electrical has excelled in investing in our most important asset: our people. Johnny says that each person in the company can point to another that paved the way ahead of them. “For me, it would be Jim King, Charlie Noell, and of course, my mentor, Buddy Furr,” he said. “However, there were many others that helped build the foundation that is still at the core of our company today.”

“We always say that at NRE is like a family,” said Lanning, “and there’s no better way to describe it. We all care about each other. Without empowering people, New River Electrical wouldn’t be in the place we are now.”

“The investment in our people over the years has put New River in a very strong position and with exceptional talent coming up through the ranks as Project Managers and excellent supervision leading our workforce,” he said.

It’s exciting to see how our teams continue to push the boundaries to build on the tradition of excellence and set the standard at New River Electrical.