Smartt Takes Helm at Ben Lomand Connect

Posted: March 23, 2021

Lisa Cope retires, leaving 26-year legacy at McMinnville cooperative

Ben Lomand Connect Chief Executive Officer Lisa Cope announced her retirement and will step away from a 26-year career at the cooperative.

She will be replaced by Greg Smartt, who has been with Ben Lomand Connect since 1984.

Tennessee Broadband Association Executive Director Levoy Knowles, who led Ben Lomand Connect from 1981 to 2011, has worked with both Cope and Smartt and wishes them both well in their new endeavors.

“I have known Lisa since she first came to work at Ben Lomand Connect, and she always did a great job in whatever role she held,” he said. “I wish her the very best in this next chapter of her life.”

Cope, who submitted her plans for retirement in November 2020, joined Ben Lomand Connect in 1996 as a customer service representative. She quickly rose through the ranks and was named chief executive officer in 2016.

Knowles is pleased that the cooperative hired someone already with the company.

“Greg will do a great job in that role,” Knowles said. “He is already familiar with their network.”

Smartt becomes the seventh GM/CEO in the company’s 67-year history. He is a lifelong resident of Warren County and has unique insight into Ben Lomand Connect’s broadband network. His most recent position was broadband operations manager. Smartt began his career at Ben Lomand Connect as a lineman and later became outside plant manager.

“Fiber deployment is making a big change in the industry and a huge difference in the communities we serve,” Smartt said. “I’ve taken the long road to this position, which gives me a lot of experience, and I am excited about this opportunity.”