What a difference a year makes – June CEO column

James P. "Pat" Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

James P. “Pat” Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

After having held the Annual Meeting in the same place for more than 40 years, we made the move to The HTC Center at Coastal Carolina University last year for the 2013 Annual Meeting of Members. If you were among the 7,571 members who attended, you know it was an experience. We were surprised to see a few members beginning to gather at the entrance to the HTC Center as early as 10 a.m. on the day of the event. In the past, members didn’t start lining up until about 11 a.m., and there were never many of them.That wasn’t the case last year. We had an unprecedented response. The line of early birds quickly grew and, when the doors opened—on schedule—at noon, the line for Registration was already stretched out along University Boulevard.

Our planning team began working on the 2014 event in June of last year. We expanded the location of the Annual Meeting to include the entire campus of Coastal Carolina University, and we took advantage of a few large parking lots to set up five different Registration and Voting sites, including the HTC Center. We communicated our plans to members and reminded them the hours for Registration run from noon until 7 p.m. We discouraged early birds. We cannot begin Registration before noon, so there’s really no advantage to arriving early. Since the Registration Gift is an electric bill credit, there is no danger of us running out of them.

Beyond expectations
In my 42 years of professional experience  with Annual Meetings, I have never seen  one run as smoothly and as efficiently as our 2014 event. As I went from various  Registration and Voting sites throughout  the day, I did not see any long lines; did not speak to any frustrated members or  witness employees working under extreme  pressure. There were smiles on the faces of members and employees. It was truly  a successful Annual Meeting. Several  members stopped me to let me know how much they appreciated the changes. I told  them I appreciated them giving us another  chance after their experience last year.

The full report
Horry Electric Cooperative’s bylaws  require a quorum—equal to 5 percent of  the membership—in order to conduct an official business meeting. The number of  registered members required for quorum  at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Members was 2,839. Registration and voting began  on time—at noon—and ended at 7 p.m. We  met our quorum requirement at 3:33 p.m.

At the time registration and voting closed,  we had a total of 4,661 members registered  to take part in their Annual Meeting.

The meeting agenda included the  election of three candidates, who are also  members of the cooperative, to serve on the board of trustees for a three-year term.  Eugene Harriott, trustee for District 8,  and Freddy Thompkins, trustee from District 9, both ran unopposed. They  were reelected by acclamation of the  membership during the business meeting.  Johnny Shelley, incumbent in the  election for the trustee position for District 3,  defeated Jimmy McLain, a nominee.

Hope to see you next year
The date for the 2015 event has been set.  If you didn’t make it this year, mark your  calendar for May 12, 2015, and make a plan to come celebrate the power of your co-op membership.


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