John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Chase City, Va., and EMPOWER Broadband, Inc., in Bracey, Va., has been re-elected by his peers to represent Virginia’s electric cooperatives on the board of directors of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Lee was elected by representatives from each electric cooperative in the Commonwealth to serve as the Virginia Director on the NRECA Board at the July meeting of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. He’ll begin serving his second two-year term in 2022.
NRECA is the Arlington, Va. - based trade association that represents the interests of more than 900 cooperatives and 42 million members across the country, as well as public power districts, and public utility districts. The board is composed of one representative from each of the 48 states served by electric cooperatives.
“I am honored that my colleagues here in the Commonwealth continue to allow me to represent their best interests on the NRECA Board, and to champion matters that bring value to our distribution cooperatives and/or ODEC, our power supplier, and take a strong stand on issues that don’t,” Lee said, adding “I will work diligently to justify their support by ensuring that our national organization does the right thing by those we serve, and dutifully represents our membership during these very tumultuous and evolving times in the electricity industry and in technology arenas.
“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with cooperative leaders from across the country to advance the cooperative business model, position cooperatives to continue their successful efforts to provide reliable, affordable, and environmentally sensitive electric service to tens of millions of cooperative members, and continue to bring life-changing services like broadband, to the communities we serve. At NRECA, I’ll be joining a group of decision-makers who share my passion for the cooperative mission of powering communities and our tradition of stepping up to provide critical services that are otherwise unavailable to our consumer members,” he added.
NRECA Directors serve in a critical role in the cooperative network and are responsible for setting the strategic course for the association, which is considered one of the most influential organizations in the federal policy arena because of its not-for-profit status and its success in supporting initiatives that are in the best interests of cooperative members, regardless of partisanship.
The board reviews and approves the association’s annual $250 million budget, provides oversight on legislative and regulatory activities, ensures the good financial standing of the cooperative network’s benefit and retirement systems, supports the international outreach program, and advocates for the cooperative business model.
Lee will also serve on the NRECA Business and Technology Strategy Committee and bring the perspective of a distribution cooperative CEO who is involved in providing high-speed internet to Southside Virginia communities through EMPOWER Broadband, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.
A graduate of Mississippi State University, Lee began his cooperative career as Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s (ODEC) Community Relations Specialist for the Clover Power Station in 1992. At ODEC, he also was director of economic development, manager of administration, and vice president of member and external relations before joining MEC as President and CEO in 2008.