The Lakeland City Commission on Monday approved two new apartment complexes – one at the Polk Parkway and Harden Boulevard and the other off Yates Road, just south of Pipkin Road – and City Manager Shawn Sherrouse announced that Mike Beckham is permanent general manager of Lakeland Electric.
The commission voted 6-1 to approve an apartment complex along the parkway, east of the Lockheed Martin office building and west of an established neighborhood. In addition, the complex was increased from 152 units to 288 units. Commissioner Bill “Tiger” Read noted there are not enough parking spaces and voted against it.
However, Read and the other commissioners voted unanimously to approve a 252-unit apartment complex on nearly 30 acres off Yates Road, at the entrance to Town Parke Boulevard. At least one resident expressed concern that the English Creek developer had decreased the number of parking spaces in favor of bicycle racks and questioned who was going to be riding their bike along busy Yates and Pipkin roads. GEICO and Publix both have office buildings close by.
Finally, Sherrouse announced Beckham’s promotion to Lakeland Electric general manager, which took effect Oct. 16. Beckham had been serving as interim general manager since April, when the previous GM, Joel Ivy, accepted a position with Lubbock Power & Light.
“Over the last six months, serving in the interim role, he has performed magnificently and that certainly includes our response to the hurricane that he led us through just a few weeks ago,” Sherrouse said.
Sherrouse noted that Beckham holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and is a registered professional engineer. He worked at Georgia Power Company, the Myrant Company, Alabama Power Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority – the nation’s largest public power company – and First Energy out of Akron, Ohio. He has served as assistant general manager at Lakeland Electric since 2015.
“Over the past six months, our team has been presented with several challenges, from high fuel costs to a hurricane. I knew we had a great group, but I have come to understand and value their capabilities even more over that time,” Beckham said. “I appreciate the confidence that city management has shown in me by selecting me for the permanent position, and I am very excited to lead the Lakeland Electric team in the rapidly evolving electric utility world.”
As general manager, Beckham will report directly to the city manager, and he will receive an annual salary of $245,000. Lakeland Electric is Florida’s third-largest municipal electric utility and the 24th largest in the country. Lakeland Electric serves 137,000 customers, generating power fueled by natural gas, oil and solar.
Kimberly C. Moore is an award-winning reporter and a Lakeland native. She can be reached at email@example.com or 863-272-9250.
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