SECO Energy welcomed a record-breaking crowd to its 80th Annual Meeting of the Membership on Saturday, March 24. Attendance reached into the thousands as members, employees and VIP guests were treated to breakfast, live entertainment, gifts and more. Members voted overwhelmingly in favor of SECO’s Board-recommended Bylaws revision.
Over 6,700 registered members, guests, vendors, first responders, employees and VIPs attended, an increase of almost 1,000 guests from last year. Parking nearly reached capacity at just under 3,000 vehicles. A new exit plan and the addition of overflow parking with motor coach service to/from SECO’s headquarters parking area allowed SECO members and guests to exit the event in just 48 minutes.
Daryl Lanker, president of Dixie Lime & Stone and Bedrock Resources, which are two of SECO’s large-load accounts, arrived via helicopter after flying over the Annual Meeting space and graciously taking aerial photos of the crowd. Attendees were served an abundance of food and drinks including 8,250 breakfast biscuits served by Mojo Grill & Catering out of Ocala. Members and guests snacked on 22,000 oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies and 15,600 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. During the chilly morning, attendees sipped down 5,300 cups of coffee. As temps warmed, 4,344 cans of soda and 6,294 bottles of water were consumed.
All registered members received a copy of SECO’s 2017 Annual Report, a thermal zip-up picnic blanket and an LED provided by SECO’s wholesale power provider Seminole Electric Cooperative. Three grand prizes included $1,500 in cash, a 2009 Chevy Colorado and a 2015 Club Car Precedent electric golf cart provided by Ocala Golf Cart at a significant discount. Additional door prizes included iPads, Nest thermostats, gift cards, Apple TV devices, various upscale electronics, two $500 cash prizes and a $1,000 cash prize.
Grand prize winner Darrell Clark of Leesburg won the 2009 Chevy Colorado; The Villages’ Laura Pfafman won the electric golf cart and Richard McHie took home the $1,500 cash prize. Bushnell’s Marcia Sanborn won the $1,000 cash prize. Marlene Garner from Leesburg and Ramindarjit Walia from The Villages both won $500. Steven Underwood from Ocala won the drawing for the $300 bill credit for posting a photo on SECO’s Facebook page during the Annual Meeting. Umatilla’s Barbara Nichols won the $300 bill credit drawing for her online RSVP and attendance. Cindy DesVoignes from Webster was the winner of the patriotic picnic set drawing from hundreds who pledged support of COPA (Co-op Owners for Political Action).
President & District 5 Trustee Ray Vick called the business meeting to order before delivering his annual President’s Report. Vick detailed 2017’s Board-approved Capital Credits retirement of $5.4 million and asked members to consider rounding-up their bills to donate the extra change to SECO’s Pennies from Heaven program. Vick stated, “Imagine how much good we could do for our members in need if each and every one of our 201,000 members joined Pennies from Heaven.” The average round up is about $6 annually, but collectively the pennies donated make a difference in the lives of many SECO members.
CEO Jim Duncan took the stage to provide a Cooperative update. Duncan shared SECO’s 2017 successes including a third J.D. Power award for highest in customer satisfaction among cooperatives, an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score of 88, a “Best of the Best” award from the Ocala Star Banner’s Readers’ Choice Awards, a Marion County United Way Outstanding Partner and the 2017 Large Business of the Year in Sumter County.
Duncan addressed the crowd stating, “We are proud of these awards and aren’t shy showing them off because the rankings come from you – our members. Since 1938, SECO’s roots have been firmly planted in Central Florida. Those roots, along with our employees’ dedication to member satisfaction and hard work, are the cooperative difference.”
Before inviting corporate attorney Lewis Stone to the podium to facilitate the Bylaws revision vote, Duncan summarized the revision reasons. Stone lead the vote and answered members’ questions. Members passed the Bylaws revision with little to no opposition.
Members unable to attend Saturday’s Annual Meeting can view video from the event on SECOEnergy.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube next week. Members who want to join the Pennies from Heaven program can enroll online.