CEO’s Message — September 2019

Taking the plunge

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

Everyone reading this has likely taken a leap of faith at some point. Maybe it was making a career change or deciding that a relationship was worth taking a chance on. Regardless of the situation, making any big decision takes courage when we don’t know how it will turn out.

The first members of Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative had that kind of courage. They saw that rural areas were being left behind by the big power companies, so they took the leap to build an electric system themselves in hopes of creating something that would sustain their community for decades to come.

More than 80 years later, I think it’s safe to say their faith was well-founded. SVEC has grown from serving 69 members with its first line to more than 18,000 members spread across about 2,100 square miles in four counties. But we are still driven by the same mission of bringing safe, affordable and reliable electric service to our friends, family and neighbors.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones to have taken a leap of faith and been rewarded. SVEC member Cathy Lesh took a plunge of her own when she and her husband bought the Dive Outpost south of Live Oak. The jump from a steady job to running your own business can be scary, but Cathy’s hard work and warm personality made the Dive Outpost a haven for cave divers from all over.

While I can’t encourage any of our members to go diving into caves without the training and experience required to do so safely, I urge you to read more about Cathy’s story and the Dive Outpost in this month's newsletter. After decades of diving all over the world, she has certainly had some experiences worth sharing.

You can also get to know a little more about Andy Walker, who represents members living in District 6 on our board of trustees. Mr. Walker has faithfully served on the board for almost 15 years.

You can also see some photos from a recent trip a group of SVEC employees made to a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. While there, they helped out by weeding the playground and staining a wooden wheelchair ramp. And be sure to catch up on the details of this year’s 5K Run/Walk 4 Life for the Pregnancy Care Center of Live Oak and the upcoming Touch-A-Truck event to be hosted by SVEC.

I know I’m thankful for the leap of faith our founders took decades ago. Without it, we wouldn’t have the strong electric system we are blessed with today and we at SVEC wouldn’t have the privilege of serving this great community.