For more than 80 years, Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation has served the members of Clarke and Washington counties, as well as parts of Wilcox and Monroe counties in southwest Alabama.

As the general manager, I have served nearly two years in this role and previously served for 24 years in communications, member services and operations.

In all my time working for Clarke-Washington EMC, I have never seen anything like it in the past eight months since COVID-19 affected our operations.

Our staff had to make immediate changes and updates to normal operations to ensure the co-op could provide safe and reliable power to all our members. In many cases, I had to ask employees to serve above and beyond their normal duties—often working virtually from home— to ensure we all effectively adapted to the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic.

In addition, we rotated crews between Beauregard Electric Cooperative in Louisiana and Baldwin EMC in Alabama to assist with restoration efforts following Hurricanes Laura and Sally.

The workload may have increased, but so has our continued dedication to the members of this co-op. 

The cooperative business model is built on a foundation of commitment and collaboration—and our cooperative here at Clarke-Washington EMC is no different.

Together with the 44 employees along with the board of directors, I commit myself to working with them daily to serve you, the members, in both calm and challenging times.

Our Board of Directors, composed of nine elected representatives from your communities, has also worked diligently to maintain governance and strategic direction, while monitoring the operations of the cooperative, also in many instances, from a virtual environment.

In short, all of us here at Clarke-Washington EMC serve you, the members, no matter what.

Many of you witnessed cooperative resilience on full display this past week. I was shocked, but frankly not surprised, by the turnout at our first ever drive-thru annual meeting. I was so excited to see how many of our members came together to be a part of the cooperative spirit. Not to mention the fact we were able to accommodate such an immense crowd.

It opened my eyes to a new way of serving the members. By trying something different, we were able to offer a unique experience that turned out to be one of our greatest ever at Clarke-Washington EMC.

Every day I see the impact of the dedication and hard work of our board and staff. At the annual meeting, I witnessed the same dedication from our members who lined up hours early for the chance to vote.

Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting and for participating in the democratic process.

I always look forward to visiting with our members at the annual meeting, but unfortunately, I was unable to visit with everyone and greet you face-to-face due to the pandemic restrictions and large crowds.

However, I still want to hear from you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any of your questions, comments or concerns.

You have my commitment and I thank you for allowing us to serve you.

Steve Sheffield

General Manager

(800) 323-9081