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SEC holds annual membership meeting

Southside Electric Cooperative held a business-only Annual Membership Meeting in Crewe Saturday morning, Sept. 25, with updates for the members and the announcement of results of the Board of Directors’ election.

Representing District I members in Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte and Pittsylvania counties will be Paul S. Bennett, a beef cattle producer in Campbell County. He ran unopposed and collected 100% of the vote.

Clive C. Pettis Sr.

Representing District II members in Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties will be Clive C. Pettis Sr., an information systems analyst senior at Lockheed Martin and a Nottoway County resident. Pettis received 70% of the vote to 30% for opponent Greg Warner.

Representing District III members in Amelia, Brunswick, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Powhatan, Prince George and Sussex counties will be Kristie Martin-Wallace, a senior vice president: compliance & risk management at Citizens Bancorp of Virginia and an Amelia County resident. Martin-Wallace received 77% of the vote to 23% for opponent Burl I. Newton.

Each will serve a three-year term on the nine-member Board of Directors.

Cooperative members voted for their board members using the proxy ballots included with the September Cooperative Living magazine. Balloting ended Tuesday, Sept. 21.

“I appreciate all of the candidates running for a board seat,” President and CEO Jeff Edwards said. “Their interest in serving our members across the 18 counties is one of the things that makes SEC strong and successful.”

Kristie Martin-Wallace

Twenty-two members, all wearing masks and socially distanced, attended the meeting, which was held at the Hooper Park pavilion. They heard reports from Dr. Frank Bacon, chair of the Board of Directors, and Edwards. The meeting was limited to only business matters due to continuing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were hopeful that we could return to a normal annual meeting this year. However, COVID has persisted, cases are on the increase and, as a result, this meeting is somewhat bittersweet for me, the other board members and the SEC employees,” Bacon said, noting the festive annual meetings in the past have had a health fair, exhibitions, door prizes, children’s activities and the popular chicken lunch.

Bacon said SEC hopes to return to the traditional annual meeting in 2022.

He and Edwards touched on the February ice storm that impacted 80% of SEC’s membership. Bacon said the Cooperative pre-staged materials and crews, called in additional workers and had adequate inventory levels.

Bacon thanked employees and the mutual-aid crews for their efforts, adding, “I also want to thank our members for their patience and understanding during and after the ice storm. We know it was difficult during this time.”

Bacon touted SEC’s safety culture and how the Cooperative supports the communities it serves, particularly citing support of the Power Line Worker Training School and the Southside Opportunity Fund scholarship program.

Paul S. Bennett

Edwards mentioned the growth SEC is seeing. He said the Cooperative makes about 700 new connections every year, adding that Amelia, Powhatan and Bedford counties are the largest growth areas.

“Despite the storm, SEC is in good financial shape,” Edwards said. He noted that the Board of Directors recently approved a $2.5 million capital credit retirement. SEC members will receive either bill credits or checks in December.

Southside Electric Cooperative, a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution company, has more than 57,600 services across 18 counties in central and southern Virginia. Headquartered in Crewe, SEC has district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.