Hundreds of members attended North Central Electric’s 85th annual meeting on June 8. The meeting was held virtually for the second year, as COVID-19 facilitated the switch last year. Three incumbents were re-elected to the cooperative’s Board of Trustees, and members also received an update on co-op projects and current events.
David Green, representing District 1; Steven Seitz, District 2; and Ronald Frisch, District 5, were all re-elected to the Board of Trustees following an uncontested race. As part of the cooperative’s Code of Regulations, trustees are deemed automatically elected if the district election is uncontested, so no trustee voting was required prior to the annual meeting.
This year’s annual meeting had a strong focus on the co-op’s response to COVID-19, as well as rural broadband and its impact on local communities. Board President Duane Frankart acknowledged the community impact that member-funded programs like the North Central Electric People Fund and Co-op Owners for Political Action, a branch of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE), have on the surrounding areas. He also thanked the volunteers who dedicate their time to these programs and encouraged more members to consider participating in the future.
“The pennies rounded up on your bills can truly make a difference in our communities,” he said. “I’m pleased to report that 87 percent of North Central members participate in Operation Round Up and the People Fund, and I thank each of you for your contributions.”
Frankart also announced his plans to not seek re-election for the North Central Electric Board of Trustees in 2022 after serving as the district 7 representative for more than 20 years. He encouraged members of district 7 to seek election to the board in January when petition packets are made available.
General Manager Ed VanHoose focused a significant portion of his member address on the co-op’s continued exploration of broadband for its rural communities. VanHoose informed members of the disappointing results of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction through the Federal Communications Commission. He encouraged members to participate in the ongoing survey and internet speed test that North Central is conducting to provide honest, accurate data to support the need for broadband access. Members can participate by going to https://nce.crowdfiber.com/
VanHoose also gave an update on COVID-19’s impact on the cooperative and the intention to reopen the lobby to members within the next month, encouraged members to call the cooperative with solar or any energy-related questions, and outlined future projects and developments at North Central. He also noted that the cooperative remains active in the political landscape, working hard to ensure rural voices and issues are heard at a local, state, and national level.
“I want to assure you that we never forget what our base business model is,” VanHoose said. “We are a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative. That means that all of you are the most important thing, and the biggest focus, of every employee that works here.”
The meeting concluded with a short question-and-answer session. Members who could not attend, but would like to watch the meeting, can do so on YouTube at https://youtu.be/AhV0AHURrBw
North Central is also currently looking for a Communications Specialist based out of their Attica, Ohio headquarters. For more information about the position and to apply, please visit: https://ncelec.org/employment
North Central Electric Cooperative, founded in 1936, is a local, not-for-profit electric utility serving 9,920 consumers in Crawford, Hancock, Huron, Richland, Seneca, Wood, and Wyandot counties.