John Smola leads the Partnerships and Ventures team at Alabama Power responsible for the strategy and business development of Smart Cities. Alabama Power is currently engaged in many initiatives across the state to promote safety, reliability, resiliency, connectivity and efficiency to build the “future of energy” in our cities and communities. Alabama Power, in partnership with city, community and university leaders, strives to improve the quality of life for people who live in, work in and visit our state. By providing connectivity infrastructure and incorporating smart technology, smart applications enable the collection and analysis of data to inform decisions that make our neighborhoods more efficient, secure, and sustainable. Our primary focus areas are energy, mobility, public safety, and connectivity. Most recently, the City of Birmingham, in partnership with the Alabama Power, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and other partners was awarded the Smart Cities Readiness Challenge Grant by the Smart Cities Council. The grant focused on a commitment to further developing strategies that will provide more sustainable and inclusive growth in Birmingham with focus areas of energy, mobility and public safety. John is originally from Norman, Oklahoma but now calls Birmingham, AL home. He graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelors of science in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and completed a Master’s of Business Administration with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011. After graduating from Auburn, he started work with Alabama Power in their Professional Development Program. He has held varying roles in marketing, regulatory and external affairs. Recently, he worked in the Regulatory Affairs organization as the manager of Retail Pricing and Rates.