Mark Faulkner, Baptist Health Care President and CEO, presented the PACE award to J.T. Young. Baptist Health Care is the sponsor of the “Community Leader of the Year” award. (Photo from Greater Pensacola Chamber)

J.T. Young, Customer Service general manager, is described by many as passionate, caring, full of integrity, special, but most importantly, a leader.

Young was recently honored as “Community Leader of the Year” at the 2017 Pensacola Area Commitment to Excellence Awards. The PACE awards recognize outstanding leaders and entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to the Greater Pensacola’s overall economic progress.

Surrounded by his family, friends and Gulf Power teammates, Young said he had no idea he would be receiving recognition. In a video played at the event, his family, who were in on the surprise, knew exactly why he deserved the award.

“I think of my husband and how much he loves the community,” said Diedre, Young’s wife of almost 32 years. “Whatever Jarl does, he gives his heart to it. What he does in the community is a reflection of who he is all the time.”

Young has been with Gulf Power and Southern Company for 28 years, making the choice early on in his career to leave a utility company in Central Florida and come back to Pensacola, his home.

“I honestly just wanted to raise my family here,” said Young. “We wanted to build roots and I loved the community.”

Surrounded by his family, friends and Gulf Power teammates, Young said he had no idea he would be receiving recognition. From left to right: Joseph Young, Diedre Young, J.T. Young, Mabel Young, Thomas Young and Avis Bembry.

Young’s two sons, Thomas and Joseph, have grown up seeing their father’s passion for the community.

“My dad’s passionate about helping people and doing the right thing,” said Thomas. “Integrity is very important to him and he’s always tried to instill that in me and my brother as well.”

Integrity is one of the many words Young used to describe what it takes to be a good leader.

“A leader needs to have integrity, vision, competence, compassion and commitment,” said Young. “All of those things are important, but the one main quality of a great leader is to be a servant. I’ve always thought of the leaders that I admire, most are the ones who connect well with people and see their role as serving the needs of those people.”

Though Young was honored with a PACE award for leadership, he humbly attributed the recognition to his teammates and the values instilled at Gulf Power.

“I really stand on the shoulders of a lot of people within our company,” said Young. “I think about some of the linemen who work hard in all kinds of adverse conditions, risking their lives and doing something to make sure quality of life is good for our communities. I think about our Customer Service Representatives who are also on the front lines with our customers and how they work so hard to help our citizens enjoy a better quality of life every day.

There’s just so many people within this company who love this community and set a high bar for me.”
Young said he looks forward to coming to Gulf Power every day because of the quality of people who work here.

“When you’re out in the community and you’re talking to people and you find out someone works at Gulf Power, the general reputation that the person has is very positive in the community,” he said. “People admire Gulf Power and therefore, they admire our employees. We are an extension of the company. The company is bigger than I am. The company is bigger than any one of us and I always know that. I always know that when I’m out in the community, when I’m out on my personal time, that I’m an ambassador for the company.”

Young is a leader, not only through Gulf Power, but also through his commitment as a volunteer in the community. He currently serves on the Baptist Healthcare Board of Directors, Covenant Hospice Executive Committee and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, just to name a few.

“Every time I go out and do something for the community,” said Young, “it’s because Gulf Power affords me that opportunity and I know the community expects it. I’m just blessed to be able to do it.”