SECO Energy’s Board Member, William “Bill” James was presented with Pearl River Community College’s (PRCC) Lifetime Achievement Award. James, who lives in Leesburg, has been a SECO member since 2002 and has served in SECO’s District 8 on SECO’s Board of Trustees for seven years.
James graduated from PRCC, located in Poplarville, Mississippi, before earning his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University in 1958. James began his career in the electric utility industry, spending eighteen years at Florida Power & Light (FPL). For ten years, James worked as an evening adjunct professor at Manatee Junior College. After FPL relocated James to Miami, he joined the University of Miami as an evening adjunct professor.
After leaving FPL in 1976, James moved to Kentucky and worked as a Vice General Manager at a generating and transmission not-for-profit electric cooperative there. While working in Kentucky, James was an evening adjunct professor at University of Kentucky and University of Evansville. In 1979, James was awarded the prestigious Kentucky Colonel honor.
James returned to Florida in 1980, and as Seminole Electric Cooperative’s first Vice President of Operations, he played a major role in building and staffing Seminole’s first coal-fired power plant in Palatka. James’ next career step took him to Indiana in 1983 to ultimately become President and CEO of the largest, fastest growing electric cooperative in northern Indiana, until his first retirement in 1998.
James’ first retirement didn’t last long. In 1999, James became the initial President and CEO of the first energy cooperative in Massachusetts. Retirement once again called, but didn’t stick when James worked as a consultant to the CEO and Board of a large Texas electric cooperative. James retired for the third and final time in 2002 and moved back to Florida.
Board service called to James and SECO members agreed, voting him to represent their interests on SECO’s Board of Trustees in 2010. James also serves on the Board at Seminole Electric Cooperative, lending his experience and unique perspective to his former employer.
James was honored as an outstanding Pearl River Community College alumni and was inducted into the PRCC Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame. James’ successful career and memorable achievements show him as a positive role model for future PRCC students.
James is proud to receive the PRCC Lifetime Achievement Award, stating “I was very humbled to receive an award like this. Pearl River set a pattern. I’ve been a big supporter of the community college for years and credit them as the foundation of my education.”
James also encourages students to never stop learning. “People graduating from college today have to be thirsty learners…because the world is changing at a tremendous pace.”