Baldwin EMC held its 2021 Annual Meeting at its Summerdale headquarters on Friday, November 5. The meeting included voting in elections for trustees and bylaw revisions.
Joseph Coleman was re-elected to another term representing District 2, Tommie Werneth was re-elected to serve District 4, and Peggy Vanover Barnes was re-elected to serve as the representative for District 6 on Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees. More than 17,200 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 on Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees since 2007 and is a Credentialed Cooperative Director through the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA). He is also NRECA Board leadership certified. He 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, and 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. In addition to serving on Baldwin EMC’s Board, Coleman serves on the Board of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. He 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), and she has successfully completed the necessary coursework and testing required for Board Leadership Accreditation. Recently, she received the Director Gold credential from NRECA, which acknowledges the highest level of achievement. Werneth represents Baldwin EMC on the statewide association, the Alabama Rural Electric Association, where she has served as the Secretary, Vice-Chairman and is now the Chairman. Other assignments include the Governance and Public Relations Committees.
In addition to her work with Baldwin EMC, Werneth 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 has been the Chairman of the “Culinary Arts” for the Festival of Arts held annually in March. Werneth has also been involved with the American Heart Association (AHA) where she has served as Chairman of the “Art for Heart” fund-raising event. In her tenure as Chairman over $600,000 has been raised for heart disease research and 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 35 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 was honored with the 2019 Pathfinder Award by the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) for her extraordinary service on behalf of electric cooperatives and is currently serving as Chairman of the AREA Chairmen’s Council.
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. For 20 years she was also president and chairman of the Cindy Haber Center Board (formerly MRDD Board) which serves 12 counties. Vanover Barnes is a native of Baldwin County, a graduate of Robertsdale High School, and a member of First Baptist Church of Robertsdale. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Faulkner University in Montgomery. Vanover Barnes is married to Kenneth Barnes and they have six children, five of whom reside in beautiful Baldwin County.
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.