Jo Anne joined Jim Johnson as a partner in Blount Street Advisors in 2007, after three decades of progressively responsible work in state government. She brings to the firm a wealth of nationally recognized experience in regulated industries, with a specific focus on the communications, energy and water industries. Sanford also practices law in Sanford Law Office, PLLC.
Appointed first by Governor Hunt and then reappointed by Governor Easley, Jo Anne served on the North Carolina Utilities Commission for over 11 years. The first woman to lead the Commission, she served as Chair for 10 years, receiving sequential Chair appointments from both Governors. During her tenure, the Commission addressed electric restructuring, volatile gas prices, Clean Smokestacks legislation, and massive technological and market changes in the communications industries.
Prior to appointment to the Utilities Commission, Jo Anne served for 20 years in the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. She represented the state’s interest in environmental, energy, and insurance matters. Specific state government agency clients included the: Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, Energy Division of Department of Commerce, Department and Commissioner of Insurance, State Health Plan, Secretary of State, and Auditor.
Jo Anne is an alumnus of North Carolina State University where she received a B.A. in Political Science and of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law where she received a J.D. She completed the Program for State and Local Government Executives through the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Michigan State University Utilities School. She also served as an advisor to African regulators in a program conducted at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
A member of the North Carolina State Bar, Jo Anne is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in North Carolina, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
She is currently a member of the board of the State Employees Credit Union, Burning Coal Theatre and MicroCell Corporation. She chairs the Trustees at Trinity United Methodist Church, is a member of N.C. State’s Board of Visitors and Graduate School Board of Advisors, and is newly appointed by Governor Purdue to the N.C. Energy Policy Council.
Jo Anne has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the Outstanding Government and Public Sector Attorney designation from the Bar Association Government and Public Sector Section, and the Distinguished Women of North Carolina Award for Government Service. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women.