Live Oak, Florida–October 4, 2016 – Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) was named Large Business of the Year at the Suwannee County Chamber’s annual awards dinner, held last night at the National Guard Armory in Live Oak.
“We are truly grateful to the Chamber for this award,” said SVEC Executive Vice President & CEO, Michael McWaters. “It belongs to all of our employees, who are our biggest asset, and whose dedication to our members and the community is demonstrated every day.”
The Large Business of the Year Award recognizes SVEC’s investments in the following areas:
Investment in Community Service
One of SVEC’s five core values is Outreach to Community. Over the past year, SVEC sponsored community events and made financial contributions to a wide variety of non-profit organizations that serve the citizens of Suwannee County.
SVEC employees repeatedly demonstrate their generosity through giving activities that benefit people in need. This spring, employees raised $5,630 for United Way of Suwannee Valley, which earned a matching grant of $5,000 from CoBank.
In the past year, SVEC hosted six LifeSouth blood drives, provided generators for community events, hung Christmas decorations for the City of Live Oak, and conducted safety demonstrations at elementary schools.
SVEC encourages its employees to be personally involved in community service and volunteer activities. SVEC’s CEO sets an example by serving on the boards of United Way of Suwannee Valley and Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center. Another member of the senior management team serves on the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches HR/Finance committee. Employees from throughout the organization are actively involved in Altrusa, the Live Oak Rotary Club, the United Way Reading Pals program and many more community organizations and churches.
Investment in Youth
SVEC annually awards 10 college/technical school scholarships to high school seniors, sponsors eight juniors to participate in a tour of Florida’s state capital, and two juniors from area high schools to participate in the Rural Electric Youth Tour of the U.S. capital. During the tours, students meet with senators and representatives from SVEC’s service territory and gain an understanding of the legislative process and their roles as a member of a democratic society.
Investment in Economic Growth
SVEC works with state and local governments and organizations such as the Suwanee County Chamber of Commerce, the Suwannee County Economic Development Office and the North Florida Economic Development Partnership to support the expansion of existing businesses and attract new prospects to the area.
This year, SVEC applied for and was awarded a $300,000 Rural Economic Development Loan Grant to help construct a library in Dowling Park.