The Alabama Rural Electric Association has awarded its 2019 Pathfinder Award for extraordinary service on behalf of the electric cooperatives of Alabama to Peggy Vanover Barnes of Baldwin EMC. Mrs. Barnes received the award April 11 at the AREA Annual Meeting in Montgomery.
The Pathfinder Award is given to a person whose life has had a profound and lasting effect on the foundations of the rural electrification program in Alabama or the nation, and who has had a documented history of serving the program in a developmental capacity.
Mrs. Barnes has been a member of the Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees since 1988. She has served as secretary/treasurer and vice president and is currently serving her 10th year as chairman of the board.
Fifteen years ago, while attending a co-op conference, she (along with a fellow board member) brought back to Baldwin EMC the idea of implementing Operation Round Up. That program alone has resulted in more than $4 million being awarded to many great causes.
During her years on the Board, Baldwin EMC has maintained a strong financial position which was recently recognized by Standard & Poor’s with a rating of “A stable.” The cooperative has also maintained stable, competitive rates, placing Baldwin EMC among the lowest-cost providers of electricity in the region. When she first joined Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees, Baldwin EMC served around 26,000 meters. Today, Baldwin EMC serves approximately 75,000. Throughout her 30 years on Baldwin EMC’s board, she has always been focused on serving the members of Baldwin EMC. She has had visionary ideas of how to serve the membership better whether it be through technology or people.
Mrs. Barnes is a native of Baldwin County and a graduate of Robertsdale High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Faulkner University in Montgomery. She is married to Kenneth Barnes and they have six children.