Registration cards and ballots for the board of trustees election have been mailed to all Cullman Electric Cooperative members in advance of the 79th Annual Meeting, set for Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The event is at Northbrook Church from 8 a.m. until noon, with registration closing at 11 a.m.
Included with the Annual Meeting packet are a registration card, ballot, postage-paid return envelope and voting instructions with profiles on each of the board candidates as well as information on all of the events and activities at this year’s annual meeting.
Members can register and vote by mail or on the day of the annual meeting. Members who register and vote by mail must return their card and ballot by Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.
Members who register and vote are entered into a drawing for one of 20 $100 bill credits. Members who register and attend the annual meeting receive a $15 bill credit and can enter to win the grand prize drawing for a 2007 Chevy Colorado truck.
Activities at this year’s annual meeting include a concert by the Dixie Melody Boys (9-11 a.m.), inflatable games for children, bucket truck rides, a free health clinic by Cullman Regional Medical Center as well as free hot dogs, popcorn and drinks for members and their guests. The business meeting (11 a.m. to noon) will feature comments and a video presented by President & CEO Grady Smith, election results and prize drawings. Members do not have to be present for the drawings in order to win.
Board of trustee positions for District 1, District 3 and District 5 are on this year’s ballot. Robert Tidwell, Jr. (District 3) and Dr. Lisa Weeks (District 5) are running unopposed. Four candidates are running for the District 1 position — Phillip Garrison, Austin R. Godwin, incumbent Neil E. Rainwater and Josh Shaddix.
BOARD CANDIDATE BIOS
TRUSTEE DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATE
Phillip Garrison — Phillip Garrison has worked at J & R Feed Service for 29 years. He started as a warehouse manager and has worked up to assistant plant manager where he oversees daily production and customer service. He has also helped manage a poultry farm for 36 years, operates a bee and honey business (Goldvine Farms) and has worked with beef cattle for more than 40 years. Phillip is a graduate of Wallace State Community College and the Mississippi State University Tristate Management Course. He is a member of Faith Baptist, Lions Club and Farm-City Committee. He is past president of the Alabama Beekeeper Association, president of the Cullman County Beekeeper Association and past president of the Cullman County Farmers Federation. “I have worked in business for 40 years,” he said. “I’ve done everything from serving the customer, helping manage a business, owning and operating a business, helping plan budgets and serving on several boards. I feel this gives me the experience to serve well on the Cullman EC board of trustees.”
Austin R. Godwin — Austin Godwin is the chief financial officer for Deep South Freight and Commercial Hauling Company in Birmingham. He originally moved to Cullman to work as the controller at Alabama Farm Credit. Prior to that he worked four years in public accounting for Jackson Thornton, specializing in financial institution audits and tax. Godwin graduated from Auburn University with a degree in business administration (accounting) and is a Certified Professional Accountant in the State of Alabama. He has been an active member of the Kiwanis Club in Cullman, and is a member of Cullman First Baptist Church along with his wife, Natalie, and their two children, Andrew (5) and William (20 months). Godwin believes his professional experience as a business executive, working for a cooperative and his CPA skills make him an excellent candidate. “I grew up in a co-op family,” Godwin said. “My dad worked 35 years at Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Selma. Growing up, the co-op supplied us with financial stability and the means for an education. The co-op has given so much to me and my family, and I would love this opportunity to give a little back.”
Neil E. Rainwater — Neil Rainwater is a life long resident of Cullman County. He graduated from St. Bernard College with a degree in accounting. His father, W.E. Rainwater, was one of the original trustees that organized Cullman Electric Cooperative. Neil is a member of the Cullman Masonic Lodge. He is also a Scottish Rite 32nd degree Mason. He is a member of the Shriners, Cullman Lions Club, Cullman County Fair Association, Cullman Cattlemen’s Association and attends Hamby’s Chapel United Methodist Church. He retired with more than 32 years in financial management from Monsanto Company. Presently he assists his two sons in operating a cattle farm at Gold Ridge. Neil has completed the curriculum of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to become a Certified Cooperative Director as well as being certified in the Board Leadership Program. During his time as your trustee at Cullman EC, the board has implemented voting by mail for annual meetings, expanded billing service for garbage, water and fire dues for one monthly billing for utilities, continues to enhance the technology to locate and repair power outages faster and greatly improved the fleet of service vehicles. “My goal is to continue to help direct your co-op to maintain quality electric power at the lowest possible cost, and keep the co-op as one of the best in Alabama.”
Josh Shaddix — Josh Shaddix has worked for the Boeing Company in Huntsville for six years, first in the missile defense program and currently as a structural engineer. He primarily works on commercial aircraft fuselage and engine components, and each of the past two years has received Boeing’s Stars in Alabama Award given the employees for extraordinary achievement. His first business experience came growing up in Cullman at Earl’s Body Shop, which was started by his grandfather and is owned today by his father. Josh graduated in 2009 from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and completed his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Mississippi State University in 2013. He earned his Professional Engineering license from the Alabama Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors in 2014. Josh and his wife, Elizabeth, along with their son, Andrew (1) raise cattle on their farm and attend Cullman First Baptist Church. “It is essential that we make smart decisions now that look ahead the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to help members understand how to lower their energy costs by keeping them informed of the latest technology in energy efficiency.”
TRUSTEE DISTRICT 3 CANDIDATE
Robert Tidwell, Jr. — Robert Tidwell is a graduate of Cullman High School and Auburn University. He holds a B.S. degree in business administration & accounting. He serves as finance manager for General Dynamics Global Imaging Technologies with responsibilities for the Cullman, Rochester Hills, Mich., Nashua, N.H., San Diego and Grass Valley, Calif., facilities. In his career, he has worked with national, state and local governments to bring jobs and enhancements to the Cullman Electric Cooperative service area. Tidwell is a member of Northbrook Baptist Church where he serves as a member of the choir and music praise team. He is married to the former Glenda Smith and they have three children Trey (Erin), Will and Emmalee, and one granddaughter, Emma Grace Tidwell. “It is an honor to serve the members of Cullman Electric Cooperative,” he said. “During my time on the board of trustees, we’ve been able to utilize the co-op’s resources responsibly to enhance service and reliability, making Cullman Electric one of the best co-op’s in the country.” Tidwell has successfully completed the curriculum for both the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Credentialed Cooperative Director and Leadership Certification.
TRUSTEE DISTRICT 5 CANDIDATE
Dr. Lisa Weeks — Dr. Lisa Weeks is the owner of Weeks Chiropractic Clinic in Cullman and has been a chiropractic physician for 28 years. She earned her Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. She is a graduate of Athens State University, Wallace State Community College and Holly Pond High School. Weeks currently serves on the Park and Recreation Foundation Board, and is a member of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and the Wallace State Alumni Association. She served on the Cullman City Parks and Recreation Board for 10 years. “Being a life-long resident of the Cullman area, I have a personal interest in working for the betterment of the community in which I live and work. I will continue to take my fiduciary responsibility very seriously and will continue a relationship of trust and confidence between Cullman Electric Cooperative and its’ members.” Weeks has successfully completed the curriculum for both the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Credentialed Cooperative Director and Leadership Certification.