Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) and EMPOWER Broadband President and CEO John C. Lee Jr. has been appointed by the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative

John C. Lee

Board of Directors to serve as the organization’s Interim President and CEO. Lee began his new duties in early September after its most recent CEO, Marcus Harris, resigned the position to return to his native South Carolina to pursue new opportunities.

Lee brings extensive cooperative experience to the role, having begun his 31-year cooperative career in 1992 as ODEC’s Community Relations Specialist during the construction of the Clover Power Station in Halifax County. During his 16-year stint at ODEC, he served as Director of Economic Development, Manager of Administration, and lastly, Vice President of Member and External Relations. He also currently serves on the ODEC board and just recently finished a three-year term as its chairman, as well as chairing numerous board committees.

Upon agreeing to step in as Interim CEO, Lee stated, “ODEC is a strong and proud organization with a long-standing tradition of bringing benefit to its members through solid and well-conceived power supply decisions. The organization has a highly capable and dedicated staff, and a unified and competent board, who have positioned it as one of the nation’s premier generation and transmission cooperatives and none of that will change during this transition.

“That said, we are facing a number of potential industry-changing issues that must be addressed now, and accordingly, we’ll move aggressively forward in positioning ODEC to meet those challenges and continue to do its outstanding work in providing its member owners with affordable, reliable, and responsible energy for those at the end of the line.”

Until that time, Lee will divide his time between MEC, EMPOWER, and ODEC.

“I want to assure our Mecklenburg membership and EMPOWER customers that we’ll continue meeting their needs with the same superior service they are accustomed to receiving,” said Lee, adding “MEC and EMPOWER are blessed with exceptional employees and a capable and dedicated leadership team that takes pride in serving our members and customers and I am fully confident we’ll continue to take great care of those we serve and keep our very aggressive fiber buildout moving forward.”

ODEC is a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) and serves as the all-power-requirements provider to 11 distribution cooperatives (including MEC) in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Those 11 cooperatives own ODEC and its $2 billion-plus in assets. ODEC owns considerable power supply resources that include a number of power generation facilities, and a portfolio with extensive renewable assets. The G&T is headquartered in Glen Allen, Va. and has 146 employees.

Lee will be serving in the position with the blessing of the MEC and EMPOWER boards of directors. “Not only do we own a portion of ODEC, they are critical to meeting the needs of our members and it’s a very important organization to MEC and our ability to serve our membership,” stated David Jones, chairman of the MEC and EMPOWER boards and also a director on the ODEC board. “During this transition, the electrons must keep flowing to our members, and ODEC has to continue to be proactive in addressing the array of challenges we are facing in our industry. We believe our CEO John Lee is best qualified to see ODEC through this transition and can certainly be trusted to do so,” Jones added.

“We are so pleased that John Lee is willing to serve in this temporary position as ODEC’s interim president and CEO while the executive search is underway. With over 30 years in the cooperative industry, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the position, and having just completed a three-year term as chairman of ODEC’s board, he is up to date on all ODEC’s daily business initiatives and long-term projects,” said Steve A. Harmon, chairman of the ODEC board of directors.

The ODEC Board has formed a Search Committee and commenced a nationwide search for the organization’s next CEO.