Pioneer focused on energy efficiency, home upgrades at annual meeting

PIQUA – Pioneer’s 82nd annual meeting of members was held March 24 at Edison Community College. Pioneer Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit distribution utility focused on service to its member-owners in its territory of Champaign, Miami, and Shelby Counties, as well as portions of the eight surrounding counties.

The event began with breakfast, a formal business meeting, and a management update from Pioneer President and CEO Ron Salyer and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Susan Knore.

The formal business meeting was led by Board of Trustees Chair, Ron Clark, who presented an overview of the cooperative’s community solar program, OurSolar, that was provided to the cooperative by Buckeye Power in 2017. He also addressed Pioneer’s commitment to cooperati on among cooperatives, highlighting mutual aid trips to Georgia and New Hampshire. Clark further spoke about strategic goals and initi atives set in place for the coming years.

“The [strategic] goals span each aspect of our business and address such concerns as pursuing growth on our system and del ivering on our promise of service reliability, while remaining financially strong and keeping rate increases as low as practical,” said Clark.

Clark encouraged participation in Pioneer’s political action committee, ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action, and addressed the importance of being heard on key issues by representatives in local, state, and federal government.

Following the business meeting, Salyer and Knore updated the crowd on the safety and security of the cooperative. The crowd was informed that Pioneer tested its network and physical security, which resulted in no concerns, and that there were no injuries related to electrical safety in 2017. Sal yer also recounted various storms that caused outages throughout the service territory and thanked neighboring cooperatives for their assistance during those storms.

“Great employees lead to great service,” said Salyer. “The hard work and dedication of our employees and help from neighboring cooperatives reall y made a difference in 2017.”

The presentation also included a summary of updated technology f or quality service and reliability , an overview of the cost saving initiatives that are in place to help ensure Pioneer’s financial stability in the coming years; and Pioneer’s community focused activities.

The election results for the Pioneer Board of Trustees and each of the county boards were announced during the business meeting, as well. As a democratically controlled organization, those running for their respective board s are Pioneer members and are elected by their fellow members. Voting was conducted by mail and online. Elected t o three -year terms on the Pioneer Board of Trustees were: Ted Black of Champaign County, Duane Engel of Miami County, and Terrence Householder of Shelby County. Positions filled on the county boards of the Champaign, Miami and Shelby districts are as follows. Those elected to the Champaign County board are: Mark Atterholt, Urbana; Joan S. Zerkle, Urbana; Philip Hisnay, Cable; and Chad Wallace, Cable. Elected to the Miami County board are: Wayne Mullenix, Piqua; William Platfoot, Tipp City; Wade Wilhelm, New Carlisle; and Robert Billings, Tipp City. Those to serve on the Shelby County board are: Roger Wehrman, Fort Loramie; John Geise, Sidney; David Slagle, Anna; and Kimberly Strunk, Sidney.

During their re-organizational meeting, the Pioneer Board elected the following officers for the year: Ron Clark, chair; Mark Bailey, first vice chair; Colleen Eidemiller, second vice chair; Terrence Householder, secretary; and Ron Bair, treasurer.

The event concluded with a home show which included displays from various home improvement and home service vendors. Thirteen local vendors offered information and display s relating to home building and maintenance. Nearly 500 attendees had the opportunity to meet and talk with the line crew, energy advisor, vegetation manager and staking technicians about the services they provide, watch a safety demonstration, ride the energy bike, and enjoy games and activiti es.