NC Co-ops Represented, Recognized at National Meeting
NC electric cooperative leaders met in Nashville for the 2023 PowerXchange conference
In March, more than 9,000 electric cooperative representatives from around the country met in Nashville for the 2023 PowerXchange conference, the national annual meeting of electric co-ops. Among those were leaders from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, who took the opportunity to both learn from peers and share their own success stories.
“Electric co-ops have the knowledge and the tools to do more for our members than at any point in time since we turned the lights on,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national trade association for electric co-ops. “We want our accomplishments to outlive us. We truly and deeply care about our communities. And cooperatives, like no other businesses, thrive on true and selfless leadership.”
Randolph EMC CEO Dale Lambert and Director of Innovative Energy Solutions Michael Trent joined NRECA Senior Director of Media and Public Relations Stephen Bell during a breakout session, “Telling the Co-op Story: Powerful Insights and Critical Tips.” The group discussed the importance of building trust and fostering credibility with members during a time of industry transition.
“Communications will play a critical role as our industry goes through this transition,” Trent said. “We will need to take advantage of every opportunity to lean in and tell our co-op story.”
During the closing general session, Jones-Onslow EMC Vice President of Communications & Business Strategy Steve Goodson received the Curtis Wynn Diversity Champion Award, presented for the first time this year to recognize co-op employees or directors for “outstanding contributions to lead and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI).
Goodson has been instrumental in building a DEI program at his co-op, treating it as a core business attribute akin to safety and customer service.
Madeline Hiteshue, Youth Leadership Council (YLC) representative and 2022 Youth Tourist sponsored by EnergyUnited, attended PowerXchange and served as a runner during breakout sessions, as well as working at various NRECA- and Touchstone Energy-sponsored exhibit booths. In addition to making connections with fellow students from around the state and the country, Hiteshue noted how the program has created networking opportunities across the co-op family.
“This program has changed my life,” Hiteshue said. “It got me out into the adult world. It’s an experience that most people from my grade don’t have.”
Taking the Stage
At the TechAdvantage Conference, an event focused on co-op innovation and technology held in conjunction with PowerXchange, several representatives from North Carolina's electric cooperatives shared insights in breakout sessions.
Speakers included: Don Bowman, assistant general manager and vice president, Engineering & Operations, at Wake Electric; Marshall Cherry, CEO at Roanoke Electric Cooperative; David Thieman, line technician at Wake Electric; Brett Kinlaw, GIS supervisor at Lumbee River EMC; Josh Locklear, reliability engineer at Lumbee River EMC; Jordan Overbee, manager of Engineering at Brunswick Electric; Dennis Mabe, vice president of Engineering & Operations at Randolph EMC; Jennifer Eberhart, director of Member Engagement for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives; and Dale Lambert, CEO at Randolph EMC.
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