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NewsMakers ’22: Honoring Chuck Session for a remarkable career and special ‘service leadership’

This is the fourth of a five-part series about the NKyTribune’s ’22 NewsMakers. Tomorrow: Lytle Thomas.

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

He has been called “Chuck” from the time he was a boy, to distinguish himself from his dad Charles. And, honestly, the nickname suits him — it has a downhome wholesomeness to it, just like the man it belongs to. He may have left his small hometown behind, but he has never abandoned his roots or the lessons he learned at home.

Chuck Session grew up in the small town of Clinton in Indiana, one of four kids to hard-working parents who were very connected to the community. He had the very “best mentors in his own household.” Find your passion, his parents would say. Be the best you can be. His three sisters, too, were “inspiring” — hard-working and gifted and intelligent. He wasn’t about to let them down.

What’s not to admire about a guy who always has a ready smile, always sees the best in people, is always even-tempered, starts his day with a positive attitude — and keeps it all day long — and oozes genuineness with every breath he takes. These are the things his legion of friends and colleagues say about him. If he asks you how you’re doing, he really wants to know.

Chuck started working in utilities as a high school student with summer jobs at a Duke Energy substation group and worked his way up to customer service. He began his full-time career with Duke Energy in 1980. On his way to vice president of State Government Affairs for Duke in Ohio and Kentucky, he held a lot of different positions: District Manager of Field Operations; North Area Manager Field Customer Services; Manager Mid-West Premise Services; Director Electric Meter Labs, Rubber Goods Testing and Small Tool Repair; Vice-President Government & Community Relations for Duke Energy Kentucky, and Economic Development for Ohio & Kentucky.

Along the way, he earned degrees in Business Administration from MacMurray College in Illinois and Brevard College in North Carolina.

And for every day of his long career with Duke, he thought himself the luckiest guy alive to be working for such a good company and having “the best possible job” — and ultimately having the “opportunity to serve” its 1.3 million customers in Ohio and Kentucky. He has also mentored employees and helped them achieve their own personal goals.

“My hope is that I will leave the world a better place,” he said, “and be a torchbearer for others.”

Tri-ED’s Lee Crume, a former NewsMaker, presented Chuck Session with his award at a reception in his honor.

During his career, Chuck lead functions in multifaceted business units to improve operational and organizational efficiencies, sustain effective business relationships for the company, foster innovation within the Operations divisions, deliver superior results to ensure his co-workers went home safely to their families, and provide strategic leadership at an executive level.

He has been recognized with numerous community awards — and more are coming, even as he moves to “retirement.”

He is a graduate of Leadership Kentucky (2016), and was chosen by his peers to receive the Lisa Murrell Award in recognition of the courage, compassion, dedication, and selflessness he demonstrated over the course of the program. Chuck continues to volunteer his time to the program, sharing his experience and life lessons.

“Chuck Session exemplifies that to which we all aspire,” said Rhonda Whitaker, one of Chuck’s colleagues at Duke Energy, and also a former NewsMaker. “He is one of the most passionate and selfless leaders with whom I have ever worked in my almost 30-year career at Duke Energy. He is one who often quietly assists where needed in the community, as soon as he hears of a need that he believes Duke Energy can support. He’s the first to volunteer to cart items to a community agency, round up volunteers to support a local food pantry, or to serve a mission for the homeless. He has participated with such events in our region that are too numerous to mention.”

Chuck has also offered his talents to numerous boards in the region, including Gateway Community and Technical College, the Horizon Community Fund, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, CVG, Southbank, Greater Cincinnati United Way, Tri-ED, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Peace Baptist Church — and more.

Chuck and Maida Session with Lee Crume, Judy Clabes, Rhonda Whitaker, and the Chamber’s Brent Cooper, also a former NewsMaker

In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, and volunteering at his church and in the community. He and his wife, Maida, have one daughter, Stefani, who works in the neonatal ward of the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

“Maida keeps me grounded,” he says. “She is my rock.”

He has positive things to say about the Northern Kentucky community as well, about how welcoming the community was when he first came, how easily he was able to assimilate, and how “outstanding” people were.

“For all he has contributed to the Northern Kentucky community and for his distinguished career accomplishments, the NKyTribune is proud to count Chuck Session in the rarified company of NewsMakers,” said Editor/Publisher Judy Clabes. “He honors us and a grateful community with his acceptance.”

If you happen upon him in his “retirement,” just call him “Chuck.” Everybody does.

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