As Sumter EMC President/CEO, Ted McMillan, announces his plans to retire in 2020, the Sumter EMC Board of Directors has named Rene Smith, Senior Vice President of Operations, the incoming President/CEO effective January 6, 2020. McMillan feels confident this will be a smooth transition for the cooperative as he will work alongside Smith during the coming months, providing support and feedback from insights gained through his 35-year tenure as President/CEO. McMillan’s business skills make him a planner by nature which is displayed by his desire to plan for the future of Sumter EMC even into the days of his retirement.
McMillan says, “I know firsthand from working with Rene for over 31 years that Sumter EMC’s members will be served well with his leadership skills and knowledge guiding the cooperative. The Board of Directors feels confident Rene has the talent and knowledge needed for the position as he has already exhibited this in his previous roles at Sumter EMC.”
Smith grew up on a family farm in Dooly County and obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology (with Power Generation and Distribution Option) from the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology in 1988. He subsequently earned a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University and is licensed in the state of Georgia as a Registered Professional Engineer.
As a dedicated employee of Sumter EMC for over 31 years, Smith has served the cooperative in many capacities. Some of his experience includes the designing and construction of the utility distribution system, reviewing and analyzing the distribution line design standards to maximize reliability and minimize costs, and serving on statewide committees representing Georgia’s electric cooperatives in matters related to the joint use of EMC poles. Smith's most recent position has found him in a more administrative role providing oversight, guidance, and support across the cooperative.
Smith is no stranger to leadership, beginning with key roles in campus organizations during his undergraduate years. Throughout his life and career, personal integrity has driven his decision-making and has been paramount to his leadership style. This, along with his extensive experience in the electric power industry and a proven track record of dedication, guidance, and reliability validate his selection by the Board of Directors for the new role of President/CEO.
Along with his commitment to the cooperative, Smith also serves as President of the Americus Rotary Club, board member of One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, board member of Ignite College and Career Academy, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Smith and his wife Angela have five adult children and seven grandchildren and are members of Cornerstone Church in Americus.