SAN DIEGO — Phil Carson, Tri-County Electric Cooperative director, begins his two-year term today as president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Carson took the reins from North Arkansas Electric Cooperative CEO Mel Coleman, who closes out his term as president today. Coleman passed the gavel to Carson during the closing general session of NRECA’s annual meeting.
“It’s been an honor to get to know both Phil and Mel over the last several months,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Steady leadership is essential for electric cooperatives to be able to address a number of the challenges facing rural America in the 21st century. Phil is an extremely effective leader, and I’m looking forward to his term as president.”
“Mel carried out his role as NRECA president with energy, enthusiasm and distinction,” said Matheson. “I’m grateful for his warm welcome into the electric co-op family, and I appreciate his unending service to NRECA and its members.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve as NRECA president,” Carson said. “We’re fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge and experience around the NRECA board table. That team is what sets us apart, and I will continue looking to my fellow directors for their input over the next two years. The electric cooperative future is full of opportunity. I’m excited to see where that future takes us as we continue advocating for the consumers we serve and working to empower our local communities.”
Rounding out the NRECA board officers are Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, who was elected as vice-president and Chris Christensen, a director of NorVal Electric Cooperative, who was elected to serve as secretary-treasurer.
Carson was elected NRECA president by the association’s board of directors. He is the immediate past vice president and served as secretary-treasurer prior to that. He has been an NRECA board director since 2006. Carson has served as director of Tri-County Electric since 1999 and sits on a number of boards, including the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, where he has served since 2002.
Carson holds a B.A. in Agriculture from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Convent Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Carson, a native of Illinois, is a dairy farmer and pastor.
More than 5,500 representatives from electric co-ops across the nation are attending NRECA’s Annual Meeting celebrating its 75th Anniversary. The meeting runs from Feb. 23 through Mar. 1 in San Diego and sets NRECA’s legislative and organizational agenda for 2017. Co-op representatives also hear from NRECA officials, key public figures and business experts about issues affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer members. The Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with TechAdvantage, a technology learning event and expo that features more than 280 exhibitors showcasing their state-of-the-art technologies, equipment and services.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.