Two and a half years ago, former Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning chose not to run for reelection to the seat on the Board of Commissioners that he’d held for eight years.

However, Henning is now back in the public eye after taking a high-profile job as the new Duke Energy district manager for the Greensboro District.

That job will include a wide range of duties, such as acting as a liaison between Duke Energy and the elected officials and customers in the district – as well as working with the power company’s philanthropic efforts in the community.

Henning said this week that he’s delighted with the new position and he also said he feels as though his past experiences – in both the private sector and his local government work – prepared him well for this new position that will call on many of those same skills.

“It’s not that different from what I have been doing on an individual basis,” Henning said, “though it will be on a larger scale.”

Henning has worked in heating and air sales and he had a lot of customer-facing duties in those jobs.

An Iraqi war veteran, Henning should also have some practice when it comes to helping out in high-pressure situations, like interacting with members of the public who are cold and miserable and want to know when their power will be back on after a major storm.

Also, anyone who’s been a county commissioner for two terms knows a whole lot about taking complaints and handling them.

According to information provided by Duke Energy, district managers are “the liaison between Duke Energy and their district.”  As part of the job, Henning and other district managers “partner with local leaders to implement initiatives that power the lives of our customers and the vitality of our communities. This includes everything from managing Duke Energy’s philanthropic efforts in their area, to helping secure local economic development opportunities, to keeping the community engaged and informed on the latest developments from Duke Energy.”

Many people don’t realize what a key role in economic development Duke Energy plays in North Carolina. For major projects, like the ones announced in Guilford County recently, power concerns have to be addressed – and that means Duke Energy is usually in on the talks.

Duke Energy also works actively to bring new businesses to the area because that helps the local economy and it increases the number of companies and people who need power.

Henning is extremely familiar with economic development needs and practices. In 2015, Henning was the chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners when the county and other local governments – along with local economic development groups – formed the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance to work together to recruit businesses.

At that time, Henning, as chairman of Guilford County’s board, was largely responsible for getting everyone on the same page – a job that many at the time compared to “herding cats.”

Jimmy Flythe, the director of Government & Community Relations for Western North Carolina for Duke Energy, said the company is “thrilled” to have Henning as the district manager for the Greensboro area.

“I’m looking forward to working with Hank for many years to come,” he said.

“He has proven leadership experience in the region, including serving eight years as a Guilford County Commissioner, which included chairing the board in 2015,”  Flythe stated, adding that Henning also has experience working in the energy sector,

According to Flythe, all that experience “will be critical in his role working with the community on the initiatives that will shape the energy future in the region.”