Co-op Leaders Meet in Raleigh for 2023 Annual Meeting
Sessions focus on theme of ‘Stronger Together’
In April, more than 400 electric co-op leaders from across the state met in Raleigh for the 2023 Statewide Annual Meeting.
Joe Brannan, executive vice president and CEO for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, opened the meeting by addressing the theme “Lead the Change: Stronger Together.”
“Through our shared Brighter Future vision, we’ve achieved great things,” Brannan said. “A lot of initiatives around the state have showed that cooperatives are not only forward thinking, but innovative.”He discussed recent achievements such as microgrid projects and community development initiatives, as well as external factors influencing how electric co-ops do business, including market forces like cost pressures and supply chain issues.
“All of you have had the foresight to stay ahead of these issues to mitigate some of the impact to members,” he said. “And it’s going to take all of us working together to continue to overcome these obstacles, serving our members to the best of our ability.”
Sessions also included a youth and education panel, as well as a CEO panel discussion about strategic communications, featuring Four County EMC CEO Don Gatton; EnergyUnited CEO Thomas Golden; Brunswick Electric General Manager and CEO Josh Winslow; and moderator Kristie Aldridge, vice president of strategic communications and marketing with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
The second day of the meeting included a Rural Electric Action Program (REAP) Breakfast, where NC House Majority Leader John Bell (District 10) addressed the crowd, as well as statewide organization business meetings and an address from Surry-Yadkin EMC Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Puckett, outgoing NCEMC board president.
Puckett discussed the changing nature of the electric industry, stressing a critical constant through decades of serving members: cooperation.
“We stick together — we’ve always done that as cooperatives,” Puckett said. “And as long as we stick together, we’re on the right path to better serve our members.”
Puckett was joined onstage by Angela Strickland, senior vice president of business and technology strategies for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, who echoed his sentiments.
“We really are stronger together,” she said, “whether it’s within your community, within your statewide co-op network, or nationally.”
WHO'S WHO AT THE ANNUAL MEETING
The following were elected to 2023–2024 board leadership positions:
Youth Leadership Scholarships
The North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives awards three scholarships each year to Youth Tour participants from the past year: Kaesi Blythe, representing Surry-Yadkin EMC, received the Katie Bunch Memorial Scholarship; Karlie Keepfer, representing Blue Ridge Energy, received the Gwyn B. Price Memorial Scholarship; and Madeline Hiteshue, representing EnergyUnited, received the Youth Leadership Council Scholarship.
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