CEO’s Message: Ready for the Future

May 2023

By Michael S. McWaters, Executive V.P./CEO

Planning ahead comes naturally for a cooperative. Going back to our earliest days, SVEC’s founders laid out a roadmap for the cooperative but knew they couldn’t put it into practice until they had signed up enough members to make it work. Today, as a member owned system, we sit down every year and map out what improvements we can make and what construction is needed to accommodate growth.

Once a year, at the annual meeting, we give you an update on how those plans are coming along and what new ideas we have for the future. This year, for the first time since before the pandemic, we were able to gather together in person as a cooperative family. It was a thrill to see so many of your faces again, and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

But our dedication to looking ahead doesn’t end with our power lines. We also want to make sure the community as a whole is as well prepared for the future as our electric system. That’s why we invest in projects like the Smart Garden at the University of Florida North Florida Research & Education Center.

As a rural community, agriculture is a huge part of our local economy. I’d venture to guess the vast majority of our consumer-members have some personal connection to farming — whether they work the land themselves or have friends and family who do.

The hydroponics and artificial lighting research being conducted at the Smart Garden could open up new possibilities for our local farmers to produce certain seasonal crops year-round. You can learn more about the new findings com-ing from the project in this newsletter, as well as an update on how much food has already been donated to the local food bank.

Of course, here in Florida, being pre-pared means being ready for more than the next big thing in the electric or agri-culture industries. We also have to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature might bring during hurricane season.

While we can never know just how hard our area will be hit during any given hurricane season, it is always crucial that we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. With that in mind, keep an eye out for our annual hurricane preparedness issue of this newsletter next month. But you can also get a head start on your planning by taking advantage of this year’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. On the next page, you can find out more about this opportunity to save money when purchasing eligible items.

With smart planning and a strong community, we can weather anything the future might bring our way. Until then, we’ll keep bringing you the safe, affordable and reliable electric service our consumer members rely on each and every day.