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Co-op Celebrates Milestones & More at Annual Meeting

CCEC celebrates milestones and more at 2017 annual meeting

Celebration ruled the night at the Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op (CCEC) Annual Meeting of the Membership Thursday at Glad Tidings Church in Morehead City.

“We had a lot to celebrate and share with our members, particularly how they have been the catalyst for all the co-op has accomplished over the years,” said Communications Director Lisa Galizia.

First on the list was celebration of the past year’s finances that allowed the co-op to return more than $4.25 million in margins to members, and another $3.3 million as a result of wholesale power cost credit.

Members can expect an even greater return of margins this coming September, said CEO & General Manager Craig Conrad.

Rep. Norman Sanderson (R-Carteret) attended the meeting, and he, too, spoke of the dedication of the co-op and its members from the time the organization was formed through today. CCEC and other electric cooperatives were across the national were established when citizens who did not have power at their homes, farms and business, came together to bring light to the more rural areas.

“You got it done!” Sanderson said to the audience of some 1,000 people.

The next celebration was for the co-op’s Operation RoundUP program, which has given back to the community more than $3 million to empower and improve the lives of individuals. Through RoundUP, participating co-op members round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar, and that change is deposited with the Carteret-Craven Electric Foundation.

Foundation President Polly Johns said 84 percent of the co-op’s members participate in the program, which has allowed previous and current boards to spread grant funding across local organizations that improve the lives of many. To highlight the $3 million milestone, three recipients of foundation grants spoke briefly about what the money has meant to them through the years.

Glenda Riggs, executive director of the Carteret County Domestic Violence Program, described what foundation funding has meant to the clients assisted by the organization.

Each day women, children and men are forced to leave their homes to find safety,” Riggs said. “Our community is no exception. “It is our mission to provide temporary, emergency shelter and supportive services designed to promote safety and increase the capacity of victims of domestic violence to become self-sufficient as they strive to break the cycle of abuse for future generations, and we could not do any of this without the support of our community partners and supporters.”

Lt. Cmdr. David Shirk, Navy chaplain aboard MCAS Cherry Point and president of the Havelock-Cherry Point Ministerial Association, described a woman struggling to take care of her husband, daughter and son-in-law, and was grateful for electric bill assistance the association was able to provide.

“The money wasn’t just about paying the electric bill, it allowed her to take care of her family,” Lt. Cmdr. Shirk said. “That’s just one of many stories of how Operation RoundUP helps in the community.”

Danielle Abraham, founder of Backpack Friends, said some 150 students in Carteret County have backpacks filled with food for the weekend and holidays, thanks to financial help from the co-op’s foundation and other supporters. The backpacks mean more than just nutrition, Abraham said. Recipients also find comfort in knowing that someone cares.

In other business, the co-op announced the results of the director election. Director Anthony Nelson retained his seat, winning over challenger Clifford Rice. Board President Doug Fulcher and Director Alvin West ran unopposed.

Also at the meeting, Conrad, who has worked at the co-op for 36 years and as CEO for the past 17 of those years, announced his retirement in January 2018 and introduced his successor, current Vice-president of Engineering and Operation Jake Joplin. Joplin, who was approved by the board recently, holds an engineering degree from N.C. State University and has his Professional Engineering certification, has worked at CCEC for 17 years.

“Jake will begin leading the competent and dedicated employees of the organization in 2018,” Conrad said of his successor. “I have every confidence that the level of service you receive will only get better in the future.”

“I am truly honored to be part of this cooperative family, working to improve the communities in which we serve and we live,” Joplin said. “We have a great family of employees working day-in and day-out, bringing safe, reliable, and economical power to your homes and businesses.

“And as we go forward future, please know that we will continue to respect the traditions of the cooperative and its founding principles, principles such as being accountable to you, our member-owners, and continuing to be committed to our communities,” Joplin continued. 

Other highlights of the evening included outstanding performances by East Carteret High School’s chorus and Havelock High School’s jazz band; food prepared the co-op’s award-winning Relay for Life team; an electrical safety demonstration and booths featuring Children’s Miracle Network and Ronald McDonald House from Greenville, and the co-op’s foundation.

Two CCEC members were selected in the grand prize drawings awarded at the close of the meeting. Thomas Sewell of Morehead City, won up to $1,000 in free electricity; and James Muse Jr. of Havelock drove away with Ford Ranger pickup truck retired from the co-op’s fleet. Others won cash prizes in the drawings.

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