Drive Thru Meeting Continues To Break Records
Wharton County Electric Cooperative members continue to break voting records at the 2022 Annual Meeting of Members. The meeting, held as a drive-thru meeting for the third year, took place at the El Campo Middle School on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
“This year, we had a total of 850 members come out to vote for their representatives on the board,” WCEC GM/CEO Gary Raybon reports. “This is 66 more than last year. The numbers speak for themselves. Our members have responded well to this new meeting format.”
As a member-owned electric cooperative, WCEC is governed by a Board of Directors representing and elected by the membership. Each year, the Annual Meeting of Members is held to present business reports to the membership and elect members to the board. Traditionally, a sit-down meal is served, and the business meeting and election are conducted in person. However, in 2020, the meeting format changed to the drive-thru method due to COVID-19 precautions.
“As we move into the future, we realize that our members expect us to meet them where they are. Most families do not have time to attend the traditional-style meeting during the workweek,” Raybon says. “For next year’s meeting, the Board will continue to weigh our members’ desire for convenience against the value of fellowship and community of a traditional meeting setting.”
At the heart of all Annual Meetings, is the board election. Two new board members will join the WCEC Board of Directors this year. In District 1, Paul Phillips Jr. was not eligible for re-election after serving three terms. Tracy Floyd defeated Roy Williams in that race. In District 4, Matt Lutringer defeated incumbent Rick Graff. Rejoining the board, representing District 7, is incumbent John Roach who was re-elected over Matthew Sohrt.
Also on the ballot, the Minutes of the 2021 WCEC Annual Meeting, the 2021 Financial Report, and the President’s & Manager’s Reports were approved by those submitting ballots.
Although an official presentation was not held, WCEC recognized the following Employee Service Milestones in the Annual Report: Richard Arnett for 35 years of service, Keith Beal for 25 years, Lee Roddy for 15 years, and Selena Delapena, Lance Kolafa, Troy Korenek and Shelly Schulz for five years of service. The annual report also honored two retirees from the previous year. Electrical Systems Manager Wesley Lange retired after 52 years of service to the cooperative, and Service Lineman Clarence Kunz retired after 49 years.
Continuing to take precautions with COVID-19, the Board opted not to participate in the 2022 Government-in-Action Youth Tour. Instead, $3,050 scholarships were awarded to two graduating high school seniors from the WCEC membership. The scholarship winners were Braden Amestoy and Kendall Beal, both of El Campo High School. Beal was also awarded a scholarship from the Shirly Stubbs Feinstein Endowment Fund. The fund was initiated by past WCEC GM/CEO Frank N. Stubbs in memory of his daughter. Scholarships from the fund are only available to the children of WCEC employees.
As is tradition, all voting members were included in a drawing for prizes which was held on Facebook Live the morning after the meeting. Twenty gift cards were given away along with four grand prizes of free electricity credits. Benny Tupa received a $100 credit, Martha Bartos a $150 credit, Lloyd Klatt a $200 credit, and Craig Wright received a $300 credit. In addition to being entered in the drawing, each voting member received an attendance gift and a $20 credit on their electricity bill.
“We want to thank everyone who came out, and we are especially grateful to the El Campo Middle School for allowing us to use the campus,” Raybon says. “Keep an eye on your Texas Co-op Power magazine and our website for updates as we make plans for next year.”
2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The WCEC 2022 Board of Directors are: (front row, l-r) President John Roach, Judy Peter; (middle row) Calvin Pfeil Jr., Asst. Secretary/Treasurer Patrick Kubala, Matt Lutringer, WCEC GM/CEO Gary Raybon; (back row) Secretary/Treasurer Gus Wessels Jr., Vice President Jim W. Harton, Samuel Craig Hardin, and Tracy Floyd.