Watson Retires, Bids Farewell

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Do you remember that kid, the one who was last to be picked for the backyard football game? I was that kid back when I was just starting out in Duck River Electric Membership Corporation’s Engineering Department in 1992.

During a big storm, I would hang out and listen to Jerry Dunagan and Ronnie Sudberry dispatch crews until crew members were all out working. Then another call would come in; they would look up and realize I was all they had left. I would jump up, and they would shake their heads. “All right, do you know where Stoneboro Road is?” Of course, I didn’t, so Ronnie would tell me how to get there. “You just go look for the problem; we’ll send someone to fix it later,” Ronnie would instruct.

That was a long time and a lot of storms ago. It is how we mark time in this business — the ’98 ice storm or the 2011 tornado outbreak. The time in between runs together, but everyone remembers the big storms. That is when we shine: Differences melt away, and we pull together because the community needs us. Our consumer-members are counting on us to get the lights back on. When it gets really bad, our neighbors from other co-ops and municipal systems come to our aid.

Electric cooperative folks work long hours and eat cold food, and sometimes when they get to go home for a few hours of sleep, their house is cold and dark like everyone else’s. Yet they get up before daybreak and do it all over again.

“Our co-op is full of great folks committed to improving the lives of the people in the communities we serve.”

My wife, Dianne, and I are blessed to be part of the family at Duck River EMC through the storms and the sunshine. Our co-op is full of great folks committed to improving the lives of the people in the communities we serve. We are fortunate to call these people our friends, and we will miss them deeply.

It is time for us to move into a different season of life, and we are looking forward to it. I want to thank our members and the board of directors for trusting me to steer the ship for a few years. It has been a great ride. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the co-op and our communities as technology transforms our lives in ways we can’t imagine.

One thing I do know: Electricity will continue to be the lifeblood of our modern way of living, and Duck River EMC will be working hard to keep it all humming.

God’s peace!

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About Author

Michael Watson

Michael Watson serves as president and CEO of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville, Tenn.

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