Jeff Clark, Jones Onslow EMC Chief Executive Officer Retires - Carolina Country

Jones-Onslow EMC’s Jeff Clark Retires

Jones-Onslow EMC’s Jeff Clark Retires

After a career in the electric utility industry spanning 50 years, Jones-Onslow EMC CEO Jeffery Clark has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31, 2024. The Jacksonville-based electric cooperative serves 82,000 members in Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow and Pender counties — Clark joined the co-op in 2000 and served as CEO since 2016.

During his time as CEO, Clark focused on deploying new technology, including an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system to streamline processes and improve members’ experience with the co-op. He also encouraged employees to find new ways to work together to overcome challenges.

“Always focus on the solution, not the problem”

“Always focus on the solution, not the problem,” Clark said. “It’s amazing how far we’ve come through that mindset.”

Jones-Onslow EMC serves coastal counties, and Clark, who grew up north of Tampa, Florida, is no stranger to powerful storms. He cites Hurricane Florence, which made landfall south of Wrightsville Beach in September 2018, as the worst he’s been through.

“We had 36 hours of rain. Our headquarters building got flooded. It took us a couple of weeks to restore power to all members, but it was a year before our building was back in service,” Clark said. He also noted the COVID-19 pandemic as another challenging time for the co-op. “If we can make it through those events, we can make it through anything.”

Other priorities for Clark and his team have been nurturing employee development, improving internal and external communications, and supporting the local communities the co-op serves, with more than $1.5 million in Bright Ideas Education Grants as one point of pride.

“We’ve brought a lot of value to the community over 80-plus years, and we’ll continue to in the future,” he said.

In retirement, Clark plans to continue serving the community through various roles on local boards of directors, including the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce and its Military Affairs Committee. He will also serve the co-op in an advisory capacity during the CEO transition, as Gary Ray, former CEO of Albemarle EMC, steps into the role.

Clark’s Rules to Live By

In reflecting on his career, Clark offers these basic tenets he’s lived life by:

  1. Treat everybody with respect. You don’t know where a person is coming from.
  2. Always try to do the right thing, no matter who sees you or who doesn’t see you.
  3. Be humble and grateful.
  4. Really listen and hear what people are saying.
  5. Try to see the best in people, unless they prove it to you otherwise.
  6. Try to be a little kinder than necessary.
  7. Learn from mistakes, and never stop learning.
  8. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Just try to be better today than you were yesterday.
  9. Give back to the community.
  10. Leave a place a little bit better for having been there, whether that’s a company, a civic organization or a team.

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