AULANDER — After more than 24 years as the chief executive officer at Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Curtis Wynn is stepping down to assume to role of CEO at SECO Energy, an electric co-op serving over 200,000 member-owners in Central Florida.
According to a press release, Wynn’s last day at Roanoke Electric will be Dec. 13. The board of directors has appointed the co-op’s chief operating officer, Marshall Cherry, to serve as interim CEO.
A Florida native, Wynn, 58, began his career washing trucks for his rural hometown electric co-op in Graceville, Florida. He said the decision to make a career transition at this time stems, in part, from his desire to be closer to his family and home, where he plans to eventually retire.
“It’s been a pleasure serving Roanoke Electric’s member-owners for the past 24 years,” Wynn said. “This has been the highlight of my 42-year career in the electric co-op industry … I am not saying goodbye. A part of me will always be a part of this region and connected to this co-op.”
An innovative trailblazer, Wynn has spearheaded a variety of cutting-edge, high-impact initiatives in the co-op’s long-standing battle against energy poverty in the region.
During his tenure, Wynn developed the co-op’s highly successful Upgrade to $ave energy efficiency program. It provides member-owners “on bill” financing to make much-needed, cost-saving upgrades in their home.
In partnership with the U.S, Department of Agriculture, the co-op also established its sustainable forestry program. It has helped hundreds of local landowners by providing information and resources to help them better manage and retain their land for the purpose of building generational wealth.
Most notably, under Wynn’s leadership, the co-op embarked on what many consider its most ambitious undertaking in its 86-year history, according to the press release. Called Roanoke Connect, the initiative set out to bridge the digital divide by bringing broadband connectivity to the region for the first time. After years of laying the groundwork, connections to high-speed internet service are now underway.
“I would say my proudest accomplishment is the growth I have seen in our team, and how they have stepped up to address the many challenges the industry has thrown our way over the years,” Wynn said. “They did so by embracing our core values beyond anyone’s expectations, really wanting to make a difference in the community we serve. Leaving that behind makes me feel good about what lies ahead for Roanoke Electric.”
In addition to his leadership role at the co-op, Wynn has served on various boards including immediate past president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; past president, vice president and secretary-treasurer of North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperative; board member of the North Carolina’s Association of Electric Cooperatives; board member of Meridian Cooperative (formerly Southeastern Data Cooperative, SEDC); and past nominating committee member for CoBank. Earlier this year, he was appointed to serve as a board member for National Cooperative Bank, a leading financial services company.
In January, Wynn will take the reins at SECO Energy, the third largest nonprofit electric co-op in Florida and the seventh largest in the nation. He succeeds longtime SECO Energy CEO, Jim Duncan, who plans to retire.