Powers Expects to Be Busy As Technical Innovation Adviser

Published: March 10, 2016

Don’t use the word “retirement” when you’re talking to Kevin Powers about his future starting April 1. He doesn’t see what he’s doing as retiring as much as re-prioritizing.

Powers, 63, will shift from TI president into an advisory role for Technical Innovation and its new owner, Diversified, at the end of this month in a move he says he’s been talking about with CEO Mike Landrum and the company’s investment partners “for years.”

“It’s playing out pretty much the way we’d envisioned it,” says Powers of his decision to leave day-to-day operations of the company he rescued from bankruptcy in 2004 with Landrum. He says the sale to Diversified and his stepping away are coincidental in their timing, although “the timing of the transaction dictated my moving away from day-to-day involvement of the company.”

One of the first things Powers says he’ll focus on with more time to himself is riding his bike across the country. He knows that’ll involve a whole lot of training, he says, but it’s something he’s thought about for a long time.

He also plans to spend a lot more time with his wife Cindy, who retired last year, and their four children.

“Retirement doesn’t describe where I’m headed in my life,” says Powers. “I’ll probably be more active than I’ve ever been. This industry has been very good to me and I feel extremely fortunate to have the resources to step away from a regular income.”

Powers’ father died about six months after he retired, he says, meaning he didn’t get to enjoy life much after working late into his life.

“I don’t want to die at my desk,” says Powers with a laugh. “You reach a point in life where you want to give back.”

In addition to the cross-country bike trek, Powers expects to find a philanthropic effort to pursue, such as business mentoring through his church. At this point, though, he’s open to almost anything and doesn’t have a firm plan in place.

“There are things I know I want to do but I don’t have a detailed, planned-out agenda,” he says. “It’s similar to how I was after I graduated from college. I knew what I wanted to do but I didn’t have it planned out.”

Powers, who was born and raised in Erie, Pa., says he’ll stay in the Atlanta area since the couple’s children are all nearby. He expects to attend quarterly meetings and possibly be in the office a bit more often than that, but hasn’t sorted out his schedule (or official title) with the new owners yet.

He’s comfortable with the timing of his departure.

“I feel good about our story, of being the caretaker of this company after we brought it back to life,” he says. “I’m very deeply emotionally invested in this organization but this is such an exciting opportunity for our people.”

Powers visited each of Technical Innovation’s offices so he could personally deliver the news that he’d be stepping away from his role. He called that tour, which coincided with Town Hall meetings about the company sale, “emotional.”

“You build bonds with people and go through challenges with them,” says Powers.

He expected the combined business to find great success.

“There’s so much for people at both companies to do,” he says. “Nobody’s sitting around trying to find something to do. They’re all extremely busy.”

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