86th annual Cullman Electric Cooperative meeting set for Sept. 17

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Left to right are James Fields, Sheila Sizemore, Daryl Calvert and Jeff Byars. (Cullman Electric Cooperative)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The 86th annual meeting of Cullman Electric Cooperative (EC) is scheduled for Sept. 17, 2022, at Northbrook Baptist Church. For the first time since 2019, the annual meeting will be held with all of its usual activities, starting at 8 a.m. and concluding when the business meeting begins at 11 a.m.

“We are excited to host our annual meeting with food, games, music and other activities for the first time since 2019,” said Cullman EC Board Chairman Robert Tidwell. “The annual meeting is a celebration of the unique role members play in a cooperative business, and we look forward to hosting our members once again.”

Registration packets were mailed to all Cullman EC members starting the week of Aug. 8. Members can sign the registration card, fill out the ballot and submit both using the return-mail envelope included with the packet. The signed registration card and completed ballot must be received no later than Sept. 15, 2022. Members who register and vote by mail or in person are eligible to win one of 10 bill credits between $100 and $500.

Members who do not register or vote by mail can do both in person at the meeting, starting at 8 a.m. at Northbrook Baptist Church. All members who attend the meeting in person will receive a $15 power bill credit and register for the door prize drawings. This year’s prizes include a 70-inch Samsung 4K TV, a Blackstone grill, a Blink wireless home security camera set and a RTIC cooler.

“I encourage all co-op members to participate in the annual meeting,” Tidwell said. “The mail-in voting and registration process is simple and convenient, and has allowed the co-op to establish a quorum at every annual meeting over the past 25 years.”

A new feature at this year’s meeting is Spark Talks. Eight speakers will give short presentations on topics including leadership, education, economic development, electric vehicles, the future of Cullman County, social media and technology. Cullman EC Communications Manager Brian Lacy said he hopes everyone who comes to the annual meeting will walk away from at least one presentation having learned something new.

Spark Talks will begin at 9 a.m. inside the sanctuary at Northbrook Baptist Church, with a new presentation set to begin every 15 minutes.

“We’ve invited leaders in our community to come talk about issues that are relevant and important to the co-op and our members,” Lacy said. “People can find a seat and listen to all of the speakers, or they can come and go throughout the morning to learn more about topics they are interested in.”

Other aspects of this year’s annual meeting include:

  • Free hot dogs, popcorn and drinks; the hot dogs will be served by the Fairview High School Band Boosters
  • Live music from two local groups will take place outside. Bluegrass band Cotton Pickin’ Kids will perform starting at 8:30 a.m., while Avenue G Band will take the stage playing classic rock and modern hits starting around 9:30 a.m.
  • Inflatable games and rides for children
  • Free health fair hosted by Cullman Regional
  • Cullman EC bucket truck photo booth

Three positions on the Cullman Electric board of trustees are on this year’s ballot. Incumbent board members Sheila Sizemore (District 2) and James Fields Jr. (District 3) are running unopposed. In District 6, incumbent Daryl Calvert is running against Jeff Byars.

Daryl Calvert retired from Wal-Mart Fleet Maintenance as shop supervisor after more than 20 years of service. Today, he is owner and operator of a small lawncare business, DC Lawn. Graduating from Cold Springs High School in 1974, Calvert worked as a diesel mechanic for 27 years and farmed for 10. He feels these experiences allowed him to develop good people skills and a strong work ethic. Calvert enjoys lawn work, hunting, fishing and woodworking. In addition, he likes to spend time with his children and grandchildren. Calvert has successfully completed the curriculum of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to become a credentialed cooperative director.

Jeff Byars has more than 20 years of experience as an accountant, and has worked since 2020 as the owner of a patient advocacy and health care consulting service. He is a licensed EMT and has worked with volunteer fire services in Cullman County for more than 30 years. Byars is a graduate of Good Hope High School and has an accounting degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently president of Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department and treasurer for the Alabama EMS Association. Byars enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Heather, and their two children, Claire and Chase.

Sheila Sizemore worked in the banking industry for over 30 years and retired from Peoples Bank of Alabama in 2021. Sizemore graduated from Vinemont High School, earned her associate degree from Wallace State and her bachelor’s degree from Athens State. She also earned a graduate degree from the Louisiana State University School of Banking. Sizemore has been in the Kiwanis Club for over 20 years, is an active member at Seventh Street Baptist Church and is a member of the Cullman ladies singing group Cullman Women Sing.  She has successfully completed curriculums for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Credentialed Cooperative Director, Leadership Certification and Gold Leadership Certification.

James Fields is a graduate of Hanceville High School. He continued his education at Jacksonville State University where he earned a B.S. degree in law enforcement and sociology. During his career with the Department of Industrial Relations, Fields worked as the assistant administrator and north Alabama supervisor in the department’s Fraud Unit. Fields has successfully completed the curriculum of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to become a credentialed cooperative director, and has gone further, earning his NRECA Director Gold Credential as well.

For more information about this year’s event, visit www.cullmanec.com.