Baldwin EMC held its 2018 Annual Meeting on Friday, November 2. The meeting included voting in elections for trustees and bylaw revisions.
Joseph Coleman of Robertsdale was re-elected to another term representing District 2, Tommie Werneth of Orange Beach was re-elected to serve District 4, and Peggy Vanover Barnes of Foley was re-elected to serve as the representative for District 6 on Baldwin EMC’s board. Bylaw changes were also approved by the membership. More than 17,000 members voted either in person or by mail in this year’s election. The Annual Meeting also included special addresses from Board President Peggy Vanover Barnes and Chief Executive Officer Karen Moore.
Joseph (Joe) Coleman has served as the trustee for District 2 since July 2007 and is a Credentialed Cooperative Director through the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA). He is also NRECA Board leadership certified. Coleman is a lifelong resident of Baldwin County and a veteran of the United States Army. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of West Florida. Coleman was a long-term employee of Solutia, formerly Monsanto Chemical Company, where he worked in various supervisory and management positions as well as electrical maintenance before retiring in 2001 after more than 30 years of service. In addition to serving on Baldwin EMC’s Board, he serves on the Board of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and the Baldwin County Library Cooperative. Coleman and his wife Rebecca live in Loxley on property originally purchased by his grandparents in the 1940’s. The Colemans have three children and one grandson.
Tommie Werneth has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1996 and currently serves as its Vice President. Previously she served as Secretary/Treasurer for nine years. Werneth is a Credentialed Cooperative Director through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). She has successfully completed the necessary coursework and testing required for Board Leadership Accreditation, a national program designed to provide continuing education and knowledge of the electric utility industry and its ever-changing challenges for cooperative leaders. Recently, she received the Director Gold credential from NRECA, which acknowledges the highest level of achievement.
Werneth represents Baldwin EMC on the Board for the cooperative’s statewide association, the Alabama Rural Electric Association. She has served on the Executive Committee and has been elected to serve as its secretary. Other assignments include the Governance and Public Relations Committees. In addition to her work with Baldwin EMC, she has for the past nine years served on the Board of “The Friends of the Arts,” a nonprofit organization founded to provide financial and physical support for the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach. She served three years as chairman. Through her membership on this board she worked as “Chairman of the Food Arts” in connection with the city’s Festival of Arts held annually in March. The American Heart Association (AHA) is another favorite organization with which Werneth is involved. She has been on the Board of “Art for Heart,” the annual fund-raising activity for the AHA. For three years she served as co-chairman during which nearly $600,000 was raised to fund heart disease research, development and local projects. Werneth and her husband Ed built their first home in Orange Beach on Cotton Bayou in 1978. They have resided in Orange Beach for more than 31 years. They have one daughter and son-in-law and three grandchildren. They are both active members of St. Thomas by the Sea Catholic Church.
Peggy Vanover Barnes is the incumbent trustee for District 6, and currently the president of Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees. Vanover Barnes has served on the Board since 1988. Before being elected President in December 2008, she also served terms as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice President. She is a Credentialed Cooperative Director through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and is Board leadership certified. Vanover Barnes is currently serving as Chairman of the Alabama Rural Electric Association Chairmen’s Council. During Vanover Barnes’ 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. An active businesswoman in addition to her service on Baldwin EMC’s Board, Vanover Barnes owned an investment firm for more than three decades. She is credited with pioneering the investment industry in Baldwin County and is a former Vice President and Manager of A.G. Edwards & Sons. She is also president and chairman of the Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Board which serves Baldwin, Clark and Washington counties. Vanover Barnes is a member of First Baptist Church of Robertsdale. Vanover 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. Vanover Barnes is married to Kenneth Barnes and they have six children.
Immediately following the Annual Meeting, Baldwin EMC’s board of trustees held a re-organizational meeting to select board officers for the upcoming year. Peggy Vanover Barnes was re-elected to serve as president, Tommie Werneth was once again chosen to serve as vice president and Jimmy LaFoy was re-elected to serve as secretary/treasurer.