CEO’s Message: What Guides Us

May 2021

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

Many of us have certain guiding principles we try to live by, whether they come from our faith, a lasting piece of advice we received at a key moment, or just our own sense of what’s right. Cooperatives are no different. No matter what part of the country it’s in or what service it provides to the community, each cooperative is built around the same seven cooperative principles designed to put the people it serves first.

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) is no exception. At various times I have taken a closer look at each of those seven principles right here in this column. But we also aren’t ones to rest on our laurels. That is why, several years ago, we established a few core principles of our own that specifically guide our mission at SVEC.

We refer to those core principles collectively as SMORE: safety, member experience, outreach to community, reliability, and economic viability. You might notice that member experience is second only to safety, which always comes first, especially since so many SVEC employees work around high voltage lines.

Putting our consumer-members so high wasn’t an accident. It’s a reminder to all of us why we do what we do, whether we’re interacting with those we serve while out in the field or answering questions from the office. We are here because of you, and we are constantly thinking about how we can make your experience with the cooperative better.

That is particularly true for our member services department, which is always looking for new ways to make doing business with the cooperative quick and convenient. Some of you may only think of member services as the friendly representatives who help you when you visit our office or call with a question. But member services encompasses so much more.

In this newsletter, you can learn about the many member services programs SVEC offers to help you better manage your account. You may be familiar with some of them, while others will likely be new to consumer-members who haven’t explored all the tools at their disposal. I encourage all of you to take some time to learn about them. You may even find new ways to save time and money.

You’ll also find some news about SVEC’s participation in the Hamilton County Job Fair and the annual egg drop at Suwannee Pineview Elementary. The egg drop is always a particular highlight of the year, as it gives our young students a chance to use their imagination and problem-solving skills in a fun environment. We are proud to be a part of it.

I also hope you are proud to be part of a cooperative that makes sure to keep its guiding principles front of mind. It isn’t always the easy way to do things, but it is the right way. And I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.