San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 24th, 2011
PEC names new CEO


A Virginia utility co-op veteran will take the helm at the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, co-op leaders announced Monday.


The board of directors voted unanimously last week to hire R.B. Sloan Jr., formerly a utilities director for two municipalities and the CEO of a 120,000-member cooperative.

“The Board sought an agent of change, an experienced utility CEO with proven leadership and managerial skills necessary to lead PEC forward,” said PEC Board President Larry Landaker. “We are confident we have found that leader – a CEO who understands the cooperative business model and a leader with deep experience dealing with member, employee and political issues.”

Sloan worked for more than 30 years at EnergyUnited Cooperative in North Carolina, working his way up to the position of CEO. He also spent two years as Director of Electric Utilities for Vero Beach, Fla., and most recently was the Utilities Director for Danville, Virginia. He served as a Republican senator to the North Carolina General Assembly from 2003–2004, losing a primary round re-election bid against another GOP opponent when the seat was redistricted.

As CEO of PEC, the largest electric cooperative in the nation, Sloan will oversee electric service to more than 236,000 meters and a business with total plant assets valued at $1 billion.

“As contradictory as it may sound, I’m an engineer with people skills and a business perspective,” Sloan explained. “My job is to work with the members, the employees and the Board to not only maintain PEC as the biggest cooperative in America, but also to be the best cooperative in America.”

Sloan will step into the new role on March 6, taking the helm at a co-op that is trying to regain the trust of its members after a tumultuous four years.

“I intend to meet with employees to be sure they understand the task we have been assigned and to seek their support in re-establishing trust and moving forward,” Sloan said.

Long-time PEC General Manager Bennie Fuelberg, who led the co-op with an iron fist for three decades, was convicted on felony charges of theft and money laundering and sentenced last month to 300 days in jail.

Last June, a divided lame duck board of director made the surprise move to fire former General Manager Juan Garza, a move that drew angry criticism from many co-op members. Three new board members elected as reform candidates joined forces with the last two remaining old guard directors who were appointed under Fuelberg’s watch, O.C. Harmon and R.B. Felps, just days before the annual meeting that would replace Harmon and Felps.

Read more at the Hays Free Press

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