Thomas A. Fanning is the current head of Southern Company, which is one of the biggest U.S. providers of utilities when counted based on the number of customers. As a result, it is no exaggeration to say that Fanning's decisions have a huge impact on the country as a whole, which in turn, means a fair amount of impact on the world as a whole as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Thomas A. Fanning:
1. His Personal Name Means Twin
It is interesting to note that Thomas is the Greek version of an Aramaic name that meant "twin." Thomas started seeing use throughout the Christian world because of Doubting Thomas, who was said to have proselytized as far as the Indian subcontinent. However, said name didn't become very popular in England until the Normans came in under William the Conqueror.
2. His Family Name Is Topographic In Nature
As for Fanning, well, suffice to say that it comes from the old English "foenn," which is just a version of "fenn" and thus "fen." In other words, Fanning is a topographic name in the sense that either a bog, a marsh, or something similar would've been very relevant to the first people to use it.
3. Born in Morristown, NJ
Regardless, Fanning was born in Morristown, which is the county seat of Morris County in the state of New Jersey. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Morristown is indeed a town. However, it tends to be best-known because of the nickname "military capital of the American Revolution." Something that can be traced to its strategic importance during said conflict.
4. Grew Up in Metro Atalanta
With that said, Fanning actually grew up in Metro Atlanta. In fact, said metropolitan area is where he went to school, which extended to him receiving his Master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Naturally, said school can be found in Atlanta, which would be the center of Metro Atlanta.
5. Fanning Rose Through the Ranks
Some executives are chosen to lead based on the expertise and experience that they have built up at other companies. In contrast, other executives prove themselves by rising through the ranks. Fanning is an excellent example of the latter, seeing as how he started out at Southern Company in 1980 before climbing up step by step.
6. Seems to Be Interested in a Diverse Portfolio of Energy Sources
As a leader, Fanning seems to be interested in creating a diverse portfolio of energy sources, which includes everything from coal and natural gas to nuclear and renewables. Having more than one energy source is not particularly uncommon for companies in the same sector as Southern Company, but Fanning takes it further than most.
7. One of the Few Interested in Nuclear Energy
In particular, Fanning is unusual in that he seems to be a proponent of nuclear energy, which is expected to become less and less important in the United States as a whole. To be fair, there are reasons for people to be interested in nuclear energy, with examples ranging from its reliable nature to its potential role in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that nuclear energy has a very poor reputation with a significant percentage of the population, which explains much about its expected fall in the future. Based on this, it should come as no surprise to learn that some people think that Fanning might have been too optimistic about this as well as other matters.
8. Declined to Speak Out Following Charlottesville
Fanning was a notable exception to the CEOs who spoke out to condemn President Donald Trump's rather disappointing response following Charlottesville, in which he seemed to put the white supremacists with the counter-protestors on the same level. Something that was particularly eyebrow-raising consider that a counter-protestor named Heather Haye was killed when a white supremacist rammed a car into her and other counter-protestors. Some people speculated that Fanning might have refrained from speaking out because Southern Company was seeking a bailout from the Trump administration for one of its failing power plants.
9. Doesn't Seem to Believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change
Speaking of which, while Fanning believes in climate change, he doesn't seem to believe in anthropogenic climate change. Said position has been becoming more and more popular in certain quarters in recent times as the evidence for climate change become more and more undeniable.
10. Supports Some Charitable Causes
Fanning has been known to support some charitable causes. One example is United Way, while another example is Mercy Care, which exists for the purpose of providing healthcare to both the poor and the marginalized in Atlanta.
Written by Garrett Parker
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