Kelly to retire after 42 years with Cookeville Water

Pictured l. to r.: Barry Turner and Ronnie Kelly.

COOKEVILLE – City Manager James Mills announced today, Water Quality Control Director Ronnie Kelly plans to retire. Kelly has chosen June 24, 2022, as his retirement date.  

Kelly has been employed with the city of Cookeville for over 42 years, beginning with the position of Engineer in 1979, advancing to Environmental Engineer in 1983 before being named Director in 1989.   Kelly has enjoyed being involved in the growth of the city and the Water Quality Control Department, implementing numerous million dollar plus projects over his career as well as overseeing and enjoying the many accolades and awards the department has earned along the way.  

Mills said, “Ronnie has been an integral part of the City’s extensive growth. He’s accomplished a great deal over the years and has been dedicated to the safety and efficiency of providing high quality drinking water and wastewater services to our residents.  

“This has certainly been a year of change to date,” Mills added. “Many of our directors have reached this milestone in their careers and have chosen retirement. It’s never an easy decision to fill that vacancy due to the loss of the institutional knowledge of the department and the city in general. I appreciate Ronnie Kelly’s service and wish him all the best at his retirement.” 

Kelly and his wife, Nancy, have 3 children, Lane, Will and Beth.  He looks forward to spending more time exploring the outdoors, trips with his family and playing golf. 

Mills also made the announcement that Barry Turner, environmental engineer, will be the next director of the WQC Department and will serve as designee until Mr. Kelly’s retirement. 

“I am pleased to be able to have very capable internal candidates for promotion. This helps tremendously with the transition at Mr. Kelly’s retirement,” said Mills. “Barry has worked alongside Ronnie for over 30 years and is keenly aware of the department’s operation and the responsibilities of the director.”

Turner is a Jackson County native and has a Civil Engineering Degree from TTU. He and his wife, Gail, have lived in Cookeville for 33 years. They have one daughter, Rebecca, who is also an engineer.  

“I am honored to take the helm and look forward to working with the WQC staff in continuing to provide excellent service to the citizens of Cookeville and to the region we serve,” said Turner.   

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.