MEC President and CEO John Lee and line technician Mitch DeJarnette talk with Del. Reid before the aerial viewing.

On Monday, Oct. 17, Del. Clinton Jenkins (D-76) and Del. David Reid (D-32) toured Empower Broadband’s Bracey, Va., office to learn about rural broadband and the cooperative business model.  Their visit included a roundtable meeting with Empower Broadband and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative CEO John Lee and his senior leadership team. Jenkins and Reid took part in a hands-on fiber-splicing demonstration, toured an economic development site, and met with residents and businesses that have benefitted firsthand from Empower’s new fiber build-out.  The visit concluded with Mecklenburg line technician Mitch DeJarnette gave both delegates an aerial overview of a fiber build-out in a 55-ft bucket truck. 

MEC line technician Mitch DeJarnette takes each delegate up in a bucket truck for an aerial view of the right-of-way.

On Tuesday, Del. Reid toured NOVEC’s Halifax County Biomass Plant. Reid received a presentation from NOVEC VP of Energy & Business Development Mike Dailey and Fuel Procurement Manager Mike Davis. The presentation noted the differences in types of biomass generation and how NOVEC’s plant is a carbon-negative landfill diversion plant. The plant only runs off wood waste left behind from logging and forestry operations as well as storm debris received from VDOT. This enables NOVEC to reduce emissions by capturing energy from waste wood that would otherwise be open-field burned or diverted to a landfill.   

–Report by VMD Association