The VMD co-op family was saddened at the death of legendary lineman and former Powell Valley Electric Cooperative CEO Randell Meyers, who passed away on Dec. 26 at the age of 80.
Meyers served at Powell Valley Electric Cooperative for 57 years, from 1964 until his retirement on Feb. 28, 2021.
He epitomized the work ethic of his generation. He started on ground level at PVEC as an apprentice lineman and moved up to serve in just about every operation and supervisory capacity imaginable, eventually becoming the co-op’s general manager and CEO.
As part of a lifetime’s worth of achievements, under Meyers’ watch PVEC constructed 35 miles of 161-kilovolt transmission line from Tazewell to Kyles Ford and leased it to the Tennessee Valley Authority for 17 years. PVEC later sold the line to TVA, but the co-op continues to enjoy the benefit of that line as a backup supply source of power.
In an interview for Cooperative Living in May 2021, Meyers estimated that throughout his life he had climbed utility poles somewhere between 55,000 and 60,000 times and had spent about one-third of his life up in the air.
In addition to running PVEC, Meyers also served on the Tazewell, Tenn., City Council, where in that capacity he once went to the Supreme Court of the United States. There, he fought for the right for Tazewell to purchase electricity from TVA and not from Kentucky-based utilities.
Meyers was also know also known for his unwavering desire to improve people’s lives; always looking for ways for PVEC to achieve that objective. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, he foresaw the tremendous impact that high-speed internet could have on the lives of people in rural areas like East Tennessee and Northwest Virginia.
Meyers also enjoyed farming his 400 acres of land and wrangling his 200 head of beef cattle on his Tazewell ranch.
Additional information can be found in the obituary. Memorial donations can be made to the donations to Tennessee Lineworker Lifeline Fund.
—Report by Gregg MacDonald, Senior Writer-Editor, Cooperative Living