Electric Co-op holds 86th annual meeting; no changes to board of trustees

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(Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Electric Cooperative members participated in its 86th annual meeting on Saturday at Northbrook Baptist Church, enjoying free entertainment by the Cotton Pickin’ Kids and the Avenue G Band, hot dogs served by the Fairview High School Band Boosters, inflatables, a health fair, presentations, and, most importantly, voting for the only contested position on the board of trustees. 

While three positions on the board were on the ballot, two were uncontested. Sheila Sizemore, representing District 2, and James Fields Jr., representing District 3, ran unopposed. All terms are for three years. 

Sizemore retired last year from Peoples Bank after a 30-year career in banking and has been an active member of the Kiwanis Club for 30 years. Earning degrees from Wallace State Community College, Athens State University and Louisiana State University, she has also completed credentials for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director, Leadership Certification and Gold Leadership Certification. 

Fields’ career with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations saw him serve as the assistant administrator and North Alabama Fraud Unit supervisor. Completing his education at Jacksonville State University, Fields completed coursework for the NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director and earned the NRECA Director Gold Credential. 

Jeff Byars ran against incumbent Daryl Calvert for the District 6 board position. After the vote, Calvert retained his position. 

Calvert owns and operates a lawncare company after retiring from Wal-Mart Fleet Maintenance after more than 20 years. Calvert spent those years as a diesel mechanic and farmed for a decade. He, also, completed the curriculum to be a Credentialed Cooperative Director through the NRECA. 

Byars, a patient advocate with more than 20 years of experience in accounting, graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with an accounting degree. A licensed EMT, Byars is the president of the Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department and treasurer for the Alabama EMS Association. He has served his community with volunteer fire departments for more than 30 years. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual meeting’s in-person celebration was put on hold for 2020 and 2021, making this year’s event especially meaningful. 

Co-op Chairman of the Board Robert Tidwell said, “The annual meeting is a celebration of the unique role members play in a cooperative business.” 

Eight presentations were provided on topics ranging from economic development, education, electric vehicles, leadership and more. The “Spark Talks” provided a platform for “leaders in our community to come talk about issues that are relevant and important to the co-op and our members,” shared Brian Lacy, Cullman Electric Cooperative’s communications director. 

Members of the cooperative who attended the meeting received a $15 credit on their bills in addition to eligibility to win various door prizes including a 70-inch television. 

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