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Morse to retire from G.E.

Paul Morse will retire as G.E. plant manager on Oct. 1. Paul Morse will retire as G.E. plant manager on Oct. 1.

Paul Morse, who helped expand General Electric's outdoor lighting business with innovation, greater efficiency and faster delivery, is retiring from the company after 36 years of service on Oct. 1.


Reached during "a farewell tour" at a plant in Nashville, Morse said he looks forward to "decompressing" for a few weeks before launching a career in volunteer work in the community.
"I've been wired to my cell phone and wired to the computer 24 hours a day," he said. "I've got a lot of things I've got to catch up on. You have to make tradeoffs (and give up family or community time) and I'm looking forward to not having to make tradeoffs anymore."
With Morse's retirement, Senior Plant Manager Dave Martin will assume site leader responsibilities at the East Flat Rock plant, the company said.
A New England native with a bachelor's degree in industrial management and an MBA, Morse spent seven years in the company's meter business in supply chain roles before moving to the G.E. Lighting plant here in 1986. He worked for seven years at the East Flat Rock facility until the company gave him management roles in its Global Lighting division in Indonesia and then Mexico.
He returned to Hendersonville in 2000 as the G.E. Lighting Systems sales leader and became president and CEO in 2004.
In 2010, he became general manager and sales leader for the newly formed G.E. Lighting Solutions business and most recently has served as general manager of the newly created Roadway Vertical in Professional Lighting.
Morse led a resurgence of the local plant's performance after layoffs in 2010, increasing sales of its new Evolve LED streetlights, ramping up production and reducing delivery time on orders. He kept a newspaper headline tacked up in his office until the turnaround enabled him to hire back the laid-off personnel.
"There hasn't been this much energy in the plant since the '70s (when highway construction created a boom in roadway lighting)," Morse said in an interview with the Hendersonville Lightning in 2012. "People are really excited. When we get our senior leadership here, we're proud of the progress we've made. We ask for help where we need it to continue to make progress. It's a very positive experience for the whole team when they come to visit. We're winning. Winning's fun."
In Hendersonville, Morse, 58, has served as G.E.'s representative to the community and has been active in the United Way and other organizations.
"I'm going to do some nonprofit work, a little more church and I'm thinking about teaching at the community college," he said. "G.E.'s been good to me. Not many people get to work for one company for 36 years and retire."
G.E. says the new LED technology has reached only 10 percent of the potential market in streetlights and other outdoor area lighting across the U.S.
"There's a lot of great years ahead of us," he said. "The business has never been stronger. As you know, business goes in cycles and this is a good cycle."
As for his own future, he said he approaches retirement with a sense of excitement.
"It's time to give some more back," he said.