NC Co-ops Take the Stage at National Annual Meeting - Carolina Country

NC Co-ops Take the Stage at National Annual Meeting

Electric co-ops praised for innovation, communication, reliability and member support

NC Co-ops Take the Stage at National Annual Meeting

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson (right) presented Curtis Wynn, former CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative and former NRECA board president, with the Clyde T. Ellis Award. The award, named for NRECA’s first CEO, honors those who have made exemplary contributions that promote the progress of rural electrification and the development and use of natural resources.

In March, leaders from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives joined more than 5,000 peers from around the country in Nashville for the 2022 PowerXchange, the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the trade association of America’s electric cooperatives.

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson greeted attendees with a message lauding electric cooperatives’ reputation and accomplishments, as well as their aspiration to move their communities forward.

“That’s what I respect most about the work you do,” Matheson told co-op leaders at the March 7 general session. “And it’s my motivation to keep improving  — to keep searching for ways we can be better.”

Matheson noted that electric co-ops are viewed as a trusted source by Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill about where their communities stand.


Wake Electric’s Don Bowman (left) presented as part of a TechAdvantage panel discussion.

He outlined four co-op values he highlights when meeting with policymakers:

  • Co-ops strengthen communities through innovation and member support.
  • Co-ops provide essential services where no one else will.
  • Co-ops provide reliable service from a resilient system.
  • Co-ops accelerate the advancement of technology in rural America.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives were represented on the agenda for the 2022 Next Generation Leaders Experience and TechAdvantage, both held in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Michael Trent, director of Innovative Energy Solutions for Randolph EMC, served on a panel discussing emerging industry trends as part of the program for the Next Generation Leaders Experience. The program is designed to help emerging co-op leaders attending PowerXchange build their knowledge of the cooperative network.

Don Bowman, vice president of Engineering and Operations for Wake Electric, served on a TechAdvantage panel on reevaluating electric meter lifespans — a seemingly simple question that can have wide-ranging implications for future strategic planning.

John Lemire, director of Grid Management for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, also presented at TechAdvantage on microgrid architecture, design considerations, project implementation and real-world results with lessons learned.

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