New CEO Announced, Tim Culpepper
The Cullman Electric Cooperative board of trustees announced Monday, April 2, 2018, that Tim Culpepper will be the co-op’s new president and CEO, beginning on June 1, 2018.
Cullman EC board chairman Robert Tidwell made the announcement during a special all-employee meeting Monday morning.
“Cullman Electric Cooperative has an excellent reputation in our community and among co-op’s statewide and nationally,” Tidwell said. “Tim Culpepper has been part of building and protecting that reputation for almost 20 years. The board believes in his vision and leadership, and is confident he will guide the co-op through all of the challenges and opportunities we face for many years to come.”
Prior to joining co-op full time as General Counsel and Vice President of Administrative Services in 2015, Culpepper served as the part-time General Counsel for Cullman EC for 17 years. He is only the third attorney to serve as General Counsel for the co-op since its founding in 1936.
“It’s an honor to be given this opportunity to take a great organization and make it even better,” Culpepper said. “I appreciate the Board’s consideration and the opportunity that they have given me. I also appreciate the honest and direct communication and support I have received from the employees. My door will always been open for employees and members to come talk with me about their concerns. I especially want to thank Grady Smith for being a wonderful mentor and friend. I wouldn’t be here today without him.”
Culpepper has served as a Municipal Judge and as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama and as the President of the Cullman County Bar Association. In addition to his work representing small business and individuals, he also served as the County Attorney for Cullman County, Alabama and has represented several municipalities, financial institutions and utilities
Culpepper is a member of the Alabama State Bar, The Cullman County Bar Association, and the Electric Cooperative Bar Association. He is a Tennessee Valley Public Power Association Certified Power Executive and has received his Management Internship Program Certification from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The board began searching for the co-op’s next president and CEO in October, when Grady Smith announced his intention to retire.
“We’ve had inquiries from people at co-ops in the state and some from across the country,” Tidwell said. “We’ve been contacted by agencies and search firms that wanted to place someone here or wanted to work with us in finding the next CEO. One thing we’ve identified is there are a lot of people who would like to come to work here, which is a tribute to the employees and this community. It’s a great place to work and a great place to live.”
Smith, who will retire on May 31, 2018, started his career at Cullman EC in May 1972. His career includes stops at Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative in Florida and Cherokee Electric Cooperative before he returned to Cullman as president and CEO in December 1997.
“I leave this co-op knowing it is in excellent hands with Tim in charge and all of you working to serve its members,” Smith said in his address to employees. “Our industry will probably change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 80 years. We need to be an active player in those changes and embrace them. I believe Tim will do an excellent job in helping Cullman Electric Cooperative adapt and move forward in a way that not only protects the interest of co-op members but helps the members benefit from those changes.”
Culpepper was born and raised in Cullman, Alabama. He is the youngest child of Horace and Rachel Culpepper. Tim is a graduate of Cullman High School (1981), the University of Alabama (B.A.1985) and the University of Alabama, School of Law (J.D. 1988). After graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk and staff attorney for the Honorable Hugh Maddox, Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (1988-1990). He returned to his hometown of Cullman, and practiced law for 27 years.
Culpepper is a member of First United Methodist Church of Cullman where he teaches Sunday school and is a former chairperson of the Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the Cullman Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, the City of Cullman Industrial Development Board, and the North Alabama Industrial Development Association Board.
Tim is married to Tricia Culpepper, the Head Start Director and Principal of Cullman City Primary School. Tim and Tricia have two children, Mary Culpepper Haycraft and Jack Culpepper.
Cullman Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative, serving more than 43,000 member accounts in Cullman, Winton, Morgan and Lawrence counties.