Blue Ridge Energy: Shields Retires, Smith Announced as New Vice President

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 3:24 pm

Lenoir, North Carolina (November 13, 2023) — Blue Ridge Energy announces the retirement of Brad Shields, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, and the promotion of Jason Smith to now serve in these roles.

Shields is retiring after 26 years with Blue Ridge Energy. Shields has also served as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for RidgeLink, LLC, the cooperative’s dark fiber telecommunications subsidiary, since its inception in 2009. Shields oversaw many areas of technological change during his tenure, including development of Rid­geLink. Shields will be serving in a consultant capacity for the cooperative until 2024. Shields and his wife, Kim, live in Boone.

Jason Smith, previously Director of Commu­nications, has been promoted and will now serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of the cooperative and Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for RidgeLink, LLC.

Smith joined Blue Ridge Energy in 2015 as Senior Communications Analyst and was promoted in 2018 to his current role. Smith has also served honorably in the US Military. He and his wife, Julie, and daughter, Molly, live in Lenoir.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Avery, and Wilkes counties. The Cooperative’s telecommunications subsidiary, RidgeLink, provides broadband and telecommunications services to businesses providing end-use internet access services. The Cooperative’s subsidiary, Blue Ridge Energy Propane and Fuels, provides residential and commercial services in the Cooperative’s service area and beyond, with showrooms in each of the Cooperative’s district offices. Learn more at

Brad Shields

Jason Smith

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