jlJohn C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Chase City, and EMPOWER Broadband Inc. in Bracey, has been chosen by his peers to represent Virginia on the board of directors of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Lee was elected by representatives from each electric cooperative in the commonwealth to serve as the Virginia Director on the NRECA board at the July meeting of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. He replaces Greg White, who recently retired from the NRECA Board and as president and CEO of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative in Warsaw.

NRECA is the Arlington-based trade association that represents the interests of more than 900 cooperatives and 42 million members across the country, as well as public power districts, and public utility districts. The board is composed of one representative from each of the 48 states served by electric cooperatives.

“I am honored that my colleagues here in the commonwealth trust in me to represent their best interests on the NRECA Board, and to champion matters that bring value to the distribution cooperatives and/or ODEC, and take a strong stand on issues that don’t,” Lee said. “I will do my utmost to validate their support by ensuring that our national organization does the right thing by those we serve, and dutifully represents our membership during these very challenging times in the electricity and technology arenas.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with cooperative leaders from across the country to advance the cooperative business model, position cooperatives to continue their successful efforts to provide reliable, affordable, and environmentally sensitive electric service to tens of millions of cooperative members and continue to bring life-changing services like broadband, to the communities we serve. At NRECA, I’ll be joining a group of decision makers who share my passion for the cooperative mission of powering communities and our tradition of stepping up to provide critical services that are otherwise unavailable to our consumer-members,” he added.

NRECA directors serve in a critical role in the cooperative network and are responsible for setting the strategic course for the association, which is considered one of the most influential organizations in the federal policy arena because of its not-for-profit status and its determination to do what is best for cooperative members, regardless of partisanship.

The board reviews and approves the association’s annual $250 million budget, provides oversight on legislative and regulatory activities, ensures the good financial standing of the cooperative network’s benefit and retirement systems, supports the international outreach program and advocates the cooperative business model.

Lee will also serve on NRECA committees and bring the perspective of a distribution cooperative CEO who is involved in providing high-speed internet to Southside Virginia communities through EMPOWER Broadband, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Lee began his cooperative career as Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s Community Relations Specialist for the Clover Power Station in 1992. At ODEC, he also was director of economic development, manager of administration, and vice president of member and external relations before joining MEC as President and CEO in 2008.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative powers more than 31,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex in Virginia and portions of Granville, Northampton, Person, Vance, and Warren counties in North Carolina. It is headquartered in Chase City and has district offices in Chase City, Emporia, Gretna, and Bracey.

For more information, visit www.meckelec.org.

MEC’s subsidiary, EMPOWER Broadband, Inc., provides middle-mile capacity, retail high-speed internet service, as well as voice over IP telephony, high-speed data services and advanced cloud-based solutions, to more than 4,000 accounts in the cooperative’s service territory in Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. For more information, visit www.empowermec.net