At its 83rd annual meeting, SECO Energy celebrated “Just Business.” The not-for-profit energy cooperative’s March 25 virtual gathering, called the Annual Meeting of the Membership, was available to members via Facebook live, YouTube and live streaming.
Board president and District 4 trustee Richard Dennison called the meeting to order and closed the voting platform at 4:30 p.m. SECO’s vice president of corporate communications and energy services Kathryn Gloria led the invocation and asked the virtual audience to join her in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Gloria introduced the trustees and welcomed District 9 trustee-elect Morgan Hatfield, who began her duties at the trustees’ meeting on March 29. Gloria also introduced CEO Jim Duncan, cooperative attorney Scott Gerken and executive administrator to the CEO and Board Nora Brown, who served as recording secretary during the meeting. Board secretary/treasurer and District 3 trustee Gerald Anderson certified the Official Annual Meeting Notice that was mailed to all cooperative members per the terms of the Bylaws.
Dennison began his President’s Report by welcoming the virtual audience. He thanked the members who voted electronically, in person, by phone or by mail.
“Florida cooperatives are required by statute to hold an Annual Meeting and must achieve a quorum to conduct official business. I am happy to announce that member voting participation has indeed helped us achieve a quorum this year,” Dennison stated.
Following the President’s Report, CEO Jim Duncan delivered the CEO Report. Duncan performed the traditional military salute and first responders’ recognition. He acknowledged the Board of Trustees’ service and employees’ hard work and dedication to members.
Duncan also formally announced his plan to retire as CEO.
“Today is bittersweet for me,” he said. “Earlier this year, I conveyed to the Board my plan to retire from SECO Energy in January 2022. That making the 83rd Annual Meeting my last as CEO. The decision to retire was a difficult and emotional one. My wife Connie and I have been married for 53 years, and we are looking forward to more vacations, scuba diving and family time with our sons and grandchildren.”
Duncan’s state of the company address included an overview of his 42-year SECO career, the cooperative’s financial health, significant meter growth and reliability improvements during his tenure as CEO.
“Much has changed during my three decades as CEO,” he said. “If you’ve been a member for decades, you may remember the days when our unflattering but true moniker ‘Sometimes Sumter’ was coined. Not only was our reliability marginal, but our rates were also some of the highest in the state. During my tenure as CEO, we dramatically improved service reliability through increased investments in our electric infrastructure and a strengthened vegetation management program.”
Cooperative attorney Scott Gerken certified the 2021 Annual Meeting voting results. In total, 4,576 members voted on 2021 Annual Meeting business. As to the 2021 Bylaws Revision: 4,263 members voted “Yes,” 93 members voted “No,” and 220 members abstained. As to the 2020 Annual Meeting Minutes approval: 4,368 members voted “Yes,” 7 members voted “No,” and 201 members abstained.
SECO Energy established a special phone number, email address and social media presence for the Virtual Annual Meeting. A panel of SECO employees interacted with members who posed questions and comments that were read and answered during the meeting by Duncan.
The meeting ended with the announcement of prize winners. All members who voted were entered into a random drawing for 100 prizes. Russell Rager from Tavares won the 2011 GMC Canyon 4X4 Extended Cab. A commercial member under The Stardust Collection account from Lake Panasoffkee won the golf cart that was provided at cost by The Villages Golf Cars. The four $1,000 winners are James Wilson from The Villages, Christine Hankla from The Villages, Kenneth A. Merritt from Center Hill and Leonard J. George from The Villages. Other prizes, including Apple TVs and Amazon Fire tablets, will be shipped directly to winners. SECO will arrange for delivery of grand prizes. A complete list of winners is posted at SECOEnergy.com.