CEO Message — September 2020

Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am

Building for the Future

Les MorelandMore than 80 years ago, our forefathers —people just like me and you — joined forces to do something that benefited the common good. They formed Wiregrass Electric Cooperative and began to provide electricity to areas where larger corporations would not go.

Eight decades later, we still remember a great lesson they taught us: Cooperation accomplishes more than we can dream, especially if those efforts benefit everyone.

That is why we at WEC were ecstatic to break ground on a new speculative building in the Geneva County Industrial Park in August. In today’s economy, manufacturing equals valuable jobs. For an area to attract new manufacturers, it usually must have some available building space that companies can quickly mold to their needs.

A supply of available buildings is something many areas in the Wiregrass lack, however. Collaborative economic development meetings, which we were a part of, helped identify this issue.

Through our partnership with PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, WEC could provide assistance in the form of a four-year, no-interest loan from PowerSouth to construct a spec building. But to obtain the loan, WEC and other community groups such as governmental entities must also help fund the project.

We, like the economic development officials, believe it will only be a matter of time before a company calls this new building home. Then, as more people obtain those valuable manufacturing jobs, the local housing and retail markets will surely benefit.

While constructing the building presents WEC with some upfront costs, we believe the return will be worthwhile. When our members and their communities succeed, we succeed. We fully believe our forefathers would make the same investment.

Our commitment to serving members also extends beyond investing money in such large efforts. That commitment appears in our everyday approach to responding to our members’ needs and answering their calls — as evidenced by the results of a recent member satisfaction survey.

We received 334 responses in the survey earlier this year, and we once again received a 9 out of 10 rating in the three main categories: trustworthiness, well-managed, and care level for our members. This is a credit to all of our employees, who embrace the “Just Enough Isn’t Enough” motto each and every day.

The format of this year’s annual meeting further reflects our members-first approach. Although we will not have a large celebration this year due to coronavirus concerns, we encourage you to be active participants. You can register and vote by mail, allowing us to better protect you, our board of trustees, and our employees. You will receive the annual meeting packet this month, which includes instructions on how to participate.

With these actions, WEC hopes to communicate that we’re mindful of the past, dedicated to the present, and focused on the future. Through your guidance and trust, we aim to build a better Wiregrass ever single day.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative