The Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce a new president and CEO for the member-owned electric cooperative. Scott Spence, a native of the greater Chattanooga area, was offered the position and accepted on Wednesday.
“Scott brings much expertise in the electric industry as well as proven leadership skills and strategic-thinking experience,” commented DREMC Board Chairman Barry Cooper. “He is energetic, talented, and approachable, and the board unanimously agreed on this choice for our new leader.”
Prior to joining DREMC, Spence was general manager and CEO for Arab Electric Cooperative, of Arab, Alabama, serving approximately 15,500 members and managing more than 1,200 miles of distribution power lines.
Spence became CEO of Arab Electric in January 2018. While part of the Arab community, he was honored with the “Heart of the City” award by the Arab Chamber of Commerce, was selected to join the Marshall County Economic Development Council Board and was invited to serve the Committee for Member Services of the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives.
Under Spence’s leadership, Arab Electric corrected oversights by past management resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings to its members. As a result of his efforts to strengthen internal controls and improve operating procedures, TVA commended Spence’s commitment to protecting Arab Electric members by awarding the cooperative its 2019 TVA Partnership Award. The cooperative received a clean financial audit from Jackson Thornton Certified Public Accountants in January 2019.
Cooper added that there were many excellent candidates – a total of 74, in fact.
“No current employees of DREMC applied for the position,” Cooper said. “All 74 candidates came to us through a nationwide search with the help of our national electric cooperative organization, NRECA. Scott represents a new era for DREMC, and we are very pleased with how this search turned out. We believe Scott will be an asset not only to our cooperative but with his heart for getting engaged in the community, good for our greater area as well.”
Spence also brings more than 10 years of experience at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) where he served as a senior risk and fuel supply analyst as well as a senior manager of forecasting.
“My time at TVA was exciting, for sure, and helped me gain valuable skills and experience in the industry,” Spence remarked. “I appreciate the public power model and all I learned about wholesale power at TVA, including rates, transmission strategies and building relationships with key stakeholders. I have many mentors from my time at TVA whom I continue to call on.
“However, I realized, through working closely with local power companies, that I wanted to work for an electric cooperative.”
The cooperative business model, according to Spence, with its focus on consumer-members, commitment to community and not-for-profit status, suits better his philosophy on life.
“I like being able to come home and talk to my kids about the real difference we make in ourcommunity, the people we help, the way we unify. Since our beginnings in the 1930s, electric cooperatives have been working together, side by side, to reach our goals of making our rural area a better place to live. I believe in that; I’m proud of that,” said Spence.
Spence also worked for the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) where he served for over a year as a senior strategic manager and was involved in their fiber to the home launch.
“I look forward to joining DREMC’s team that is actively building fiber today and partnering to find broadband solutions for our service area. These are indeed exciting times,” said Spence.
Spence, along with Christa, his wife, and their two teenagers, Brady and Breanna, hope to make their home in the greater Shelbyville area so Spence will be convenient to the headquarters building where his office will be located.
“You can expect to see my family and me quickly getting connected to the local community,” said Spence. “Community engagement and relationships are very important to us, so we hope we won’t be considered outsiders for long.”
Cooper added that Spence will make his first appearance to the membership on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at the DREMC annual meeting that will take place at Franklin County High School, Winchester, at 9:30 AM. Spence plans to be on the job full-time at DREMC in late August.
Spence expressed his gratitude to the board of directors and his excitement about joining the DREMC team and moving forward together.
“A lot of people want this job,” Spence told the board. “I want this work.”