Southside Electric Cooperative held a successful business-only annual membership meeting Sept. 25 in Crewe, with updates for the members and the announcement of results of the board of directors election.

Representing District I members in Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte and Pittsylvania counties will be Paul S. Bennett, a beef cattle producer in Campbell County. He ran unopposed and collected 100% of the vote.

Representing District II members in Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties will be Clive C. Pettis Sr., an information systems analyst senior at Lockheed Martin and a Nottoway County resident. Pettis received 70% of the vote (1,600 votes) to 30% (707 votes) for Greg Warner.

Representing District III members in Amelia, Brunswick, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Powhatan, Prince George and Sussex counties will be Kristie Martin-Wallace, a senior vice president: compliance and risk management at Citizens Bancorp of Virginia, and an Amelia County resident. Martin-Wallace received 77% of the vote (1,788 votes) to 23% (522 votes) for Burl I. Newton.

Each will serve a three-year term on the nine-member board.

Cooperative members voted for their board members using the proxy ballots included with the September Cooperative Living magazine. Balloting ended Sept. 21.

“I appreciate all of the candidates running for a board seat,” President and CEO Jeff Edwards said. “Their interest in serving our members across the 18 counties is one of the things that makes SEC strong and successful.”

Twenty-two members, all wearing masks and socially distanced, attended the meeting, which was held at the Hooper Park pavilion. They heard reports from Dr. Frank Bacon, chair of the board, and Edwards. The meeting was limited to business matters due to continuing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were hopeful that we could return to a normal annual meeting this year. However, COVID has persisted, cases are on the increase and, as a result, this meeting is somewhat bittersweet for me, the other board members and the SEC employees,” said Bacon, noting the festive annual meetings in the past have had a health fair, exhibitions, door prizes, children’s activities and the popular chicken lunch.

Bacon said SEC hopes to return to the traditional annual meeting in 2022.

He and Edwards touched on the February ice storm that affected 80% of SEC’s membership. Bacon said the cooperative pre-staged materials and crews, called in additional workers and had adequate inventory levels.

Bacon thanked employees and the mutual-aid crews for their efforts, and, “I also want to thank our members for their patience and understanding during and after the ice storm. We know it was difficult during this time.”

Bacon touted SEC’s safety culture and how the cooperative supports the communities it serves, particularly citing support of the Power Line Worker Training School and the Southside Opportunity Fund scholarship program.

Edwards mentioned the growth SEC is seeing. He said the cooperative makes about 700 new connections every year, adding that Amelia, Powhatan and Bedford counties are the largest growth areas.

“Despite the storm, SEC is in good financial shape,” Edwards said. He noted that the Board of Directors recently approved a $2.5 million capital credit retirement. SEC members will receive either bill credits or checks in December.

—Report by Mark Thomas, Senior Community Relations Coordinator, Southside Electric Cooperative