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Powered by Service: Highlights from WFEC's Annual Meeting
Photo caption: Neighboring co-op, Gulf Coast EC employees, Brennis Smith, Director of Operations and Scheduling (front right) and Tucker Barfield, Apprentice Lineman (back left) brought their live line electrical safety demonstration and conducted demonstrations for the crowd throughout the day.
West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) held its Annual Meeting/Member Appreciation Day on Saturday, April 29. Attendees were greeted by a large American Flag suspended between two bucket trucks when they entered the grounds of the Graceville Civic Center. Booths ranging from health screenings to a live line electrical safety demonstration provided by Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, pole climbing by WFEC linemen, and touch-a-truck displays were some of the main attractions for members. The co-op also provided valuable information about surge protection, EVs and more. Entertainment was provided by Ricky Atkinson and Compassion of Sylvester, Georgia.
The meeting started with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem sung by
LaBreeska Atkinson with Ricky Atkinson and Compassion, and the colors were presented by the Chipley High School JROTC students. This was followed by an address to the members by Derek Chadwell, Interim Executive Vice President & CEO of WFEC. Chadwell spoke about the importance of members’ participation in the governance of the co-op by electing members to the Board of Trustees.
“They are leaders who embody the phrase, ‘leadership is measured in actions, not words’ and they understand the needs of members and employees,” said Chadwell of the Board of Trustees.
He also said the co-op’s employees are mindful of the trust placed in them by members and that the work ethic has never been stronger among them, striving to provide the extra value and personal service that sets co-ops apart.
“We have approximately 5,000 miles of powerlines across four counties. Our trucks travel hundreds of thousands of miles every year.
Up hills, through snake infested swamps, mud bogs and sandy terrain. We provide a product and service that you all depend on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are here on the stormy spring nights, hot August mid-days, beautiful fall evenings and cold winter mornings. Maintaining our electrical grid is not for the faint of heart. However, I assure you that making sure you have reliable electricity is our top priority,” Chadwell said.
During the business meeting, a quorum of 287 members (1.36% of the co-op’s membership) was established. The results of this year’s District 6 election were announced to the members present at the meeting. Those results were:
George Clayton Owens – 1,495
Daniel “Danny” Exum – 698
Brice Phillips – 760
JaLisa Brannon was the winner of the 2004 Chevrolet Impala given away to one lucky member at the meeting. Delores McDougald of Blountstown and Bobby Haddock of Chipley were the winners of the $250 bill credit drawing awarded to members for voting in the trustee elections.
As a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative, WFEC is a democratic organization controlled by its members, who actively participate in setting policy and making decisions. The elected representatives are elected by the members and accountable to them. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote). The elections were overseen and conducted by Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors.