My friends, I have a Bill Johnson story of my own to offer. It’s the story of a lawyer who came to the old Carolina Power & Light Company in 1992, and eventually became the CEO of Progress Energy. He had the honor and privilege of becoming CEO because of the thousands of employees at Progress Energy who conducted their business the right way, every day, and in everything they did. I didn’t get to be CEO because of what I did; I became CEO because of what you did, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity you provided me.
I have been humbled and gratified by the literally hundreds of letters, calls, emails, and posts on this blog of personal support and encouragement over the last several weeks. You have heard and read some critical things about me during those weeks. You have also known me, and worked with and beside me, for the last two decades, and I leave the judgment about the accuracy of these criticisms to you. But I have formed my own judgment about the folks from Progress Energy that I’ve worked with over the last 20 years. Dedicated, honest,smart, caring, nice people — people who gave their best every day to serve customers, to keep themselves and their coworkers safe, and who went that extra mile to make sure what needed done got done. One of the hallmarks of a great organization is the integrity with which its members operate; the Progress Energy people I worked with always demonstrated the highest levels integrity, and enjoyed the trust and confidence of others that comes from such integrity. Another hallmark is the way people within an organization treat each other; the support for diversity, inclusion, and good old-fashioned respect for others was evident in every interaction with employees of Progress.
I could continue my list of positives, but let me just say I have been one of the most fortunate people on this planet because I had the opportunity to work with you and to serve as your CEO. I think of you often, and I wish you the best whether you are a member of the new Duke or chose another route. There are several things worth remembering as you proceed about your business: safety first, every day, every task, every mile; customer service matters, and it matters a lot; respect for and inclusion of others matters, and it matters a lot; and integrity matters, and it matters most of all.
I know you’re with me on that.
You have my respect, my affection, but most of all my thanks for everything you have done.