Note: James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of Horry Electric, shared his thoughts about the sense of pride we all feel on July 4th and the one he hopes we all feel for our cooperative in his column in the July 2018 edition of South Carolina Living magazine.
It’s all about relationships
No other day of the year inspires quite the sense of patriotism as Independence Day. From the annual F-16 and vintage military aircraft Salute from the Shore along the Grand Strand to the local parades, the family picnics and neighborhood gatherings, all the way through to the grand finale of the fireworks displays, you can’t help but feel a swell of pride.
Even when the fireworks fade, the spark of patriotism lingers in our hearts and minds. I hope you feel that same kind of pride about your cooperative. After all, you are a member and that makes all the difference.
Many businesses use the word “member” to describe their customers. Businesses like Sam’s Club or Costco or even American Express use the word to give customers a sense of belonging. You pay a fee to buy their goods or services, but that is really all you get out of the “membership.” You have no right to vote for representatives on the Board of Trustees or the chance to participate in the business in a meaningful way.
We are connected
Co-ops of all types are founded on seven cooperative principles that give us guidance and strategic direction. If we do it right, a strong relationship is established between the co-op and its members.
We want to get it right. Our relationship with you is as important to us as the quality of electric service we provide. It is fundamental to our core business.
We are connected to our members in a variety of ways. There is a business relationship that serves you (the member) and the co-op. Since we are solely owned by people in the
community, we have a mutual interest to ensure that members, the co-op and our community do well and prosper.
Our professional relationship makes research, education and training critical functions for the employees, trustees and management team at Horry Electric. We are accountable to our members. Falling short in any of these three areas is unacceptable.
Communication is key
In our personal relationship with our members, communication is key. As an owner of the co-op, you have a right to know how it operates and how decisions are made that directly impact you.
One of the best ways to keep up with what is going on is doing exactly what you’re doing now–reading South Carolina Living magazine. We also have a web site members can access, plus a few social media channels to share news and information.
Being open and transparent in our communications and conducting business with integrity and fairness builds trust. We know we have to earn that trust every single day.
Powerful human connection
Most of you know our history. We’ve been rooted in this community for more than 75 years. Our business model is solid, and our success can be attributed to the human factor.
It takes all of us: the employees, the management team, the board of trustees, the members and our community to make sure the principles and values we share do not
fade over time. You get electric service from us, but we get our power from you – our members!