Grady Smith, CEO, announces plans to retire in 2018

Grady Smith, CEO, announces plans to retire in 2018

Change is coming... And that’s not bad if you’re prepared for it.

Each fall, Cullman Electric Cooperative closes its offices for one day and hosts a training event for all co-op employees. We probably should do this more often because it’s important for our staff to know each other, have a better understanding of the different roles we all play and develop a sense of common purpose.

I always take a few minutes to share my thoughts, and this year I talked about change. Cullman EC has been going through a strategic organizational review and restructuring. The idea was to stop and look at what and how we’ve been doing things for the past 80 years, and compare that to what Cullman EC would look like if the company was being created today.

In just this past year, we’ve seen significant changes with our member information systems, maps, outage management system, staking programs, truck map technology, our IVR system (phones), workforce management program, job assignment technology, outage reporting, communications, and probably several other areas I’ve overlooked.

We embarked on this process knowing that we would likely find some jobs that we don’t need anymore. In some cases we may find job responsibilities that might need to be broadened. In some situations existing jobs, or responsibilities, might be merged with other jobs.

One thing we know for certain is in the future, jobs in our business will require expanded and advanced skills different than we’ve ever know before.

The electric utility industry is changing at a pretty rapid pace. Over 50 percent of the employees in the electric co-op business across this country either are, or will be, eligible for retirement within the next five years. It’s not just the jobs, the people will be changing as well.

For the future of Cullman EC to be the very best it can be, I believe this organizational review and restructuring is essential. Along with the review of each job to determine what skills will be required going forward, and the subsequent changes in personnel, this process is necessary for this co-op to be the best it can be in years to come.

That is all I want, and all I’ve ever wanted.

With that said, I believe it so strongly that I have notified the Board of Trustees of my intent to retire by no later than August of next year.

The co-op’s Board of Trustees has started discussions to formulate a plan as to how they will find my replacement. After the first of the year, they will actively begin that process.

Until that decision is made, I will continue to show up for work each day, excited to serve the members of Cullman Electric Cooperative, and honored to have the privileged of working with the best group of employees I’ve been around throughout my career.

Thanks for reading. On behalf of myself and all the employees and board members at Cullman Electric Cooperative, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

           - Grady Smith, President and CEO of Cullman Electric Cooperative.

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