After serving three years on the board of directors of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Chase City, will not seek reelection.
Lee, who represented Virginia’s electric cooperatives on the board from 2020 until 2023, was recognized last week by NRECA with appreciation for his faithful and dedicated service while serving.
“It has been my great honor and privilege to represent Virginia’s electric cooperatives on the NRECA Board of Directors and I appreciate being elected by them to do so,” said Lee. “Considering the tremendous challenges and opportunities facing the electric cooperative across our nation and given the substantial changes that are taking place in how we serve our members, our national trade organization has never been more important. The critical nature of NRECA’s role in our future success and in meeting the mission of providing reliable and affordable electricity cannot be understated.
“That said,” he continued, “NRECA must position itself wisely when addressing our legislators and regulators, be cognizant of costs, and always put the members at the end of the line first. Those are the goals that drove my service on the NRECA Board of Directors.”
During Lee’s tenure as an NRECA Director, he served on the Business and Technology Strategies and the Education, Communications, and Marketing Committee, as well as the Glenn English Foundation Board of Directors. He also chaired both the region 1 nominating and resolutions committees.
Lee holds strong convictions about putting the members at the end of the line first and has long been a champion of all matters that bring value to the distribution cooperatives and/or Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. By the same token, he has never been afraid to take a firm stand on issues that don’t bring value.
As a leader and advocate for electric cooperatives, as well as for MEC members, its employees and the communities served by the cooperative, Lee has capably served in many capacities since he began his cooperative career over 31 years ago.
He currently sits on the ODEC Board of Directors where he is Board chairman.
He is also a member of the board of directors for the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives where he serves on the executive, finance, safety and training services and Human Resources committees. He chairs the Association’s CEO Advisory Committee and is vice chairman of the board of directors for Regional Headquarters Inc., which has oversight of jointly owned cooperative real estate holdings.
Lee is a co-founder of the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training School at Fort Pickett and continues to serve on the school’s advisory board.
Additionally, he is a former director and president of the board of directors of the National Cooperative Services Corporation, a member-owned, multi-billion-dollar finance cooperative based in Northern Virginia that provides electric cooperatives with specialized financial services.
Lee began his cooperative career in 1992 as ODEC’s community relations specialist for 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.
Lee came to MEC as president and CEO in January 2008 and was the leading force in the formation of EMPOWER Broadband in 2018. EMPOWER, for which Lee also serves as president and CEO, is a wholly owned broadband subsidiary of MEC, born to meet the broadband needs of its rural communities, just like MEC did with electricity in the 1930s.
–Report by Dolores Cabaniss, Public Relations Specialist, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.