Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 16
NEWS FROM GEORGIA'S ELECTRIC CO-OPS COMPILED BY AMY SCHNEIDER
EMCs work to build communities
MARK THOMPSON / NEWTOWN MACON
ost people are aware of what
electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) do to energize
homes, but less-well-known is what
co-ops do to "energize" communities through economic-development
efforts. These efforts are getting noticed in many parts of Georgia, as
two recent examples illustrate.
This year, Stephen Adams, economic development director with
the Macon-Bibb County Industrial
Authority, reached out to Tuckerbased Georgia EMC, the organization
that represents the state's 41 electric
cooperatives and has an active economic-development team. (For more
about Georgia EMC's long-standing
role in economic development, see
"Community-building at its best" on
page 26 of the January 2017 issue,
Adams expressed an interest in
becoming more familiar with EMC
service areas, points of contact and
Georgia EMC services. On June 26,
he met in Macon with representatives from the five EMCs surrounding
the Macon-Bibb County area-Brandon Stooksbury of Central Georgia
EMC ( Jackson), Jay Flesher of Flint
Energies (Reynolds), Jennifer Bryant
of Oconee EMC (Dudley), Erin Cook
of Southern Rivers Energy (Barnesville) and Kim Broun of Tri-County
EMC (Gray)-along with the Georgia
EMC community and economic development team.
The meeting featured lunch,
updates on the Macon-Bibb County community and an overview of
Georgia EMC. In addition, Georgia
EMC's Ricky McGee created a map
for the authority, indicating the five
surrounding EMC service areas, each
EMC's contact information and industrial park locations.
The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority shared the experience
in a recent member newsletter, saying, "Strong relationships with utility
service providers support our ability
to attract new businesses and to en-
EMC representatives traveled to Macon on June 26 to meet with the Macon-Bibb County
Industrial Authority. From left are Araina Reaves, Georgia EMC; Jay Flesher, Flint Energies; Stephen Adams, Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority; Ricky McGee, Georgia
EMC; Jenny Robbins, Georgia EMC; Lauren Price, Georgia EMC; Erin Cook, Southern Rivers
Energy; Brandon Stooksbury, Central Georgia EMC; Carrie Barnes, Georgia EMC; Shaun
Dodson, Georgia EMC; Pat Merritt, Georgia EMC; Jennifer Bryant, Oconee EMC; and Kim
Broun, Tri-County EMC.
'Strong relationships with utility service providers support our ability to
attract new businesses and to encourage business expansions, which lead
to new job creation and job retention.'
-Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority
courage business expansions, which
lead to new job creation and job retention."
project in which Georgia EMC has
participated earned third place in the
three-year America's Best Communities competition in April. Statesboro's
Blue Mile project, an effort to develop
a 1-mile corridor connecting Georgia
Southern University with downtown
Statesboro, was awarded $1 million
to continue revitalization efforts.
The Blue Mile project stemmed
from partnerships formed at the annual Statesboro-Bulloch County Community Leadership Conference (CLC),
an event facilitated by Pat Merritt of
Georgia EMC and organized by the
Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce.
The CLC and other strategicplanning sessions facilitated by GeorMore online at www.georgiamagazine.org
gia EMC on behalf of the local EMC,
Excelsior EMC in Metter, have brought
together leaders in government, business, education, health care and
nonprofits in the Statesboro-Bulloch
County area since 1992.
Merritt, the vice president for
community and economic development at Georgia EMC, was sole facilitator of the CLC from 1992 to 2014
and led the group through a process
to address challenges and opportunities facing the community.
"It has been my honor to guide
and watch this group of dynamic
leaders achieve so much individually
and collectively over the years," Merritt says. "It's a wonderful reminder
of the subtle yet powerful way Georgia's EMCs can support their communities and maximize the value of
their membership in Georgia EMC."
-Lauren Price and Jenny Robbins