Sumter Electric Membership Corporation held its 82nd annual meeting of members on August 29th on the Campus of South Georgia Technical College in Americus. Members and guests attended the first ever drive-in Annual Meeting of Members and were entertained by southern gospel contemporary group Remedy. Following the recognition of special guests, Mr. Dexter Cutts received a plaque of Distinguished Service in recognition of Mr. Willie Green Cutts’ strong leadership, integrity and his respect for his fellow man. Mr. Cutts was appointed to the Board of Directors of Sumter Electric Membership Corporation in May 1977 and served for 41-plus consecutive years until his death on April 5, 2019. The Directors recognized Mr. Cutts’ tremendous contributions to the success of the Cooperative and dedicated the 2019 Sumter EMC Annual Report in his memory.
President/CEO Rene Smith introduced Mrs. Lisa Davis who filled the at-large Seat left vacant by the sudden death of Mr. Cutts. Mrs. Davis is a welcome addition to the Board and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and appreciation for the members of Lee County. She is the Vice President & Director of Marketing, Membership and Events at the Lee County Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Board of Lee County Family Connection and Friends of the Library, is a member of the Literate Lee’s literacy team and works with Locate South Georgia organization to help provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for South Georgians. The Directors are pleased to have Mrs. Davis serve on the Sumter EMC Board representing the membership at-large.
Smith focused on one of the largest issues South Georgians face today, the need for high-speed internet service in rural areas. He not only recognized the needs of local businesses for reliable access to information, especially during the Pandemic, but also the critical need for young people to access the resources they need from home to continue to succeed in their education. It was made clear that there is no quick fix or easy solution for the lack of member broadband services, but Sumter EMC will continue to be diligent in the search for possible solutions that could help members get the access to the broadband services they so desperately need.
Smith mentioned the solar projects that are providing efficient and diverse sources of electric power for EMC members. Green Power EMC, Sumter EMC and the other Georgia EMCs that participate in Green Power EMC projects have worked together to build solar facilities that have minimal carbon-impact and make solar energy available to members without installing roof-top solar panels.
Smith relayed the benefits of Operation RoundUp® and the members’ ability to help provide financial support for emergency needs, charities, education and health and safety in local communities. Through Operation RoundUp, members choose to round-up their electric bill to the nearest whole dollar and the difference is compiled and dispersed by the Foundation Trustees of Sumter EMC. Since 2003, Operation RoundUp member donors have given $1,062,000 to make a difference in their local communities. Members can call and speak to a customer service representative or sign-up online at .
Smith thanked the hard-working employees of Sumter EMC. He showed gratitude to the dedicated linemen and support personnel who work in extreme weather conditions and long hours to ensure the power stays on. He asked that the members please show their appreciation to the the hard-working team who continues to restore power after outages and who works tirelessly to ensure our families receive electricity.
Smith closed his Executive Report by thanking Congressman Sanford Bishop’s office, U.S. Senator David Purdue’s office and Senator Kelly Loeffler’s office for their support in protecting rural consumers in Washington. He also thanked State Senators - Ed Harbison, Freddie Powell Sims, Carden Summers, and State Representatives - Gerald Greene, Mike Cheokas, and Bill Yearta for their leadership during the most recent legislative session.
Lastly, Mr. Smith expressed his gratitude for critically important work in the voting process conducted by the Nominating Committee and Credentials and Election Committee.
Secretary-Treasurer Michael D. Webb reported that Sumter EMC experienced another successful year in 2019 and that the Cooperative is in sound financial condition. The 2019 financial audit of the Cooperative was conducted by the certified public accounting firm, McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC. During the 2019 year, capital credits totaling $2,154,000 were refunded to members.
Rev. Jack D. Ray, Chairman of the 2020 Nominating Committee, presented four nominees for election: Christi Dockery, Lee County; Eddie Watson, Schley County; Michael D. Webb, Chattahoochee County; and Lawrence Williams, membership at-large. The membership elected the four nominees, as presented, to serve for a three-year term.
Following the annual meeting, a special meeting of the Board of Directors was held to elect officers for the 2020-2021 year. Dr. Cecil Myers was elected Chairman; Mr. Michael D. Webb as Vice-Chairman; Mr. William E. Harris as Secretary-Treasurer and Ms. Christi Dockery as Assistant Secretary.
Mrs. Andrea Walker, Vice President of Marketing and Administration, presented Carol Hollis with the grand prize, a $1,000 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate, Walter Horne with the second prize, a $500 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate, and Mt. Creek Church won the third prize, a $250 Sumter EMC electric service gift certificate. A total of 307 Sumter EMC members were in attendance.
Sumter EMC thanks its members for their continued support of their local electric cooperative and for their attendance at the first ever Sumter EMC drive-in Annual Meeting.