In the Spotlight
Charles H. Shelton: "Keeping neighborhoods strong"
Title: General manager.
Co-op: Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association (EPA), Yazoo City, Miss.
Co-op description: Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association is an electric distribution cooperative formed in 1937. In 1940, membership numbered 878. Today, 55 employees and 11 board members serve 9,159 active accounts in Yazoo, Warren, Holmes, Humphreys, Sharkey, and Issaquena Counties. Accounts include large power, small commercial and residential, with residential making up the majority of consumers.
"Yazoo Valley EPA is committed to being the provider of choice for energy and value-added products by being strong on service and remaining competitively priced," Shelton says. "Our goals continue to be founded in the belief that we can make a difference and improve the quality of life for our member consumers."
Yazoo Valley EPA is helping keep its neighborhoods strong through economic development. It's working closely with state and local agencies, schools, community-based organizations and its membership. The co-op provides leadership and cost-effective related services to the community.
Background: Shelton is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He began s career as a staff member of the Mississippi Senate. Four years later, he joined the staff of Four County Electric Power Association in Columbus, Miss., where he served for 10 years. In 1990, he became general manager of Yazoo Valley EPA.
Career achievement: "I would have to say my greatest satisfaction is watching employees grow and develop into professionals able to serve our cooperative membership," says Shelton.
Work philosophy: "Every employee should share the same responsibility to our members for service and satisfaction," he says. "This should be taken very seriously."
Industry involvement: Shelton is on the board of the Mississippi Electric Power Association and South Mississippi Electric Power Association. He also is on the board of the National Cooperative Services Corporation. Shelton served on the Joint Member Task Force of the National Rural Electric Corporation on rural water and wastewater infrastructure.
What makes a co-op successful: "A cooperative is only successful if the membership it serves is successful," he says. "Our members must know and feel that their relationship with Yazoo Valley is an addition in their life or business. And that we are partners in our membership's success."
Biggest co-op concern: "If electric deregulation is not handled properly, the rural areas of this country could easily be taken back 60 years," Shelton says. "I am very concerned about pricing and reliability in a deregulated electric industry environment."
Future plans: 1)A continued effort to provide competitively priced electric power and other value-added products and services to provide a better quality of life for our members; 2) Th partner more closely with our existing business members to make them more globally competitive; 3) To ensure our work force is fully prepared for the next century.
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