The 86th annual meeting of the Cullman Electric Cooperative will take place on September 17

Left to right are James Fields, Sheila Sizemore, Daryl Calvert and Jeff Byars. (Cullman Electric Cooperative)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The 86e The Cullman Electric Cooperative (EC) Annual Meeting is scheduled for September 17, 2022 at Northbrook Baptist Church. For the first time since 2019, the Annual Meeting will be held with all of its usual business, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending when the business meeting begins at 11 a.m.

“We are thrilled to host our annual meeting with food, games, music and other activities for the first time since 2019,” said Robert Tidwell, Chairman of the Board of Cullman EC. “The annual meeting is a celebration of the unique role that members play in a co-operative enterprise, and we look forward to welcoming our members back.”

Registration packages were mailed to all Cullman EC members beginning the week of August 8th. Members can sign the registration card, complete the ballot and submit both using the return mail envelope included with the package. Signed registration card and completed ballot must be received no later than September 15, 2022. Members who register and vote by mail or in person are eligible to earn one of 10 bill credits between $100 and $500.

Members who do not register or vote by mail can do both in person at the meeting, beginning at 8 a.m. at Northbrook Baptist Church. All members who attend the meeting in person will receive a $15 credit on their electricity bill and will be entered into door prize draws. Prizes this year include a 70-inch Samsung 4K TV, a Blackstone grill, a set of Blink wireless home security cameras and an RTIC cooler.

“I encourage all co-op members to attend the annual meeting,” said Tidwell. “The mail-in voting and registration process is simple and convenient, and has enabled the co-op to establish a quorum at every annual meeting for the past 25 years.

New to this year’s meeting are Spark Talks. Eight speakers will deliver short presentations on topics including leadership, education, economic development, electric vehicles, the future of Cullman County, social media and technology. Cullman EC communications manager Brian Lacy said he hopes everyone who attends the annual meeting will come away from at least one presentation having learned something new.

Spark Talks will begin at 9 a.m. inside the sanctuary of Northbrook Baptist Church, with a new presentation starting every 15 minutes.

“We invited leaders from our community to come and talk about issues that are relevant and important to the co-op and our members,” Lacy said. “People can find a seat and listen to all the speakers, or they can come and go throughout the morning to learn more about the topics that interest them.”

Other aspects of this year’s annual meeting include:

  • Complimentary hot dogs, popcorn and drinks; hot dogs will be served by the Fairview High School Band Boosters
  • Live music from two local bands will take place outside. Bluegrass band Cotton Pickin’ Kids will perform beginning at 8:30 a.m., while the Avenue G Band will take the stage playing classic rock and modern hits beginning around 9:30 a.m.
  • Inflatable games and rides for children
  • Free health fair hosted by Cullman Regional
  • Cullman EC Bucket Truck Photo Booth

Three positions on Cullman Electric’s board of directors are up for election this year. Outgoing council members Sheila Sizemore (District 2) and James Fields Jr. (District 3) are running unopposed. In District 6, incumbent Daryl Calvert runs against Jeff Byars.

Daryl Calvert retired from Wal-Mart Fleet Maintenance as a Shop Supervisor after more than 20 years of service. Today, he owns and operates a small lawn care business, DC Lawn. A 1974 graduate of Cold Springs High School, Calvert worked as a diesel mechanic for 27 years and was a farmer for 10 years. He believes that these experiences allowed him to develop good interpersonal skills and a strong work ethic. Calvert enjoys working the lawn, hunting, fishing and woodworking. In addition, he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren. Calvert successfully completed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association study program to become a certified cooperative director.

Jeff Byars has over 20 years of experience as an accountant and has worked since 2020 as the owner of a patient advocacy and healthcare consulting service. He is a licensed EMT and has worked with the Cullman County Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years. Byars is a graduate of Good Hope High School and holds a degree in accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently Chairman of the Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department and Treasurer of the Alabama EMS Association. Byars enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Heather, and their two children, Claire and Chase.

Sheila Sizemore worked in the banking industry for more than 30 years and retired from Peoples Bank of Alabama in 2021. Sizemore is a graduate of Vinemont High School, earned her Wallace State Associate’s degree and her Athens State Baccalaureate. She also earned a graduate degree from Louisiana State University School of Banking. Sizemore has been a part of the Kiwanis club for over 20 years, is an active member of Seventh Street Baptist Church, and is a member of the Cullman Women Singing Group. She has successfully completed the curriculum for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Accredited Cooperative Director, Leadership Certification and Gold Leadership Certification.

James Fields graduated from Hanceville High School. He continued his education at Jacksonville State University where he earned a BS in law enforcement and sociology. During his career in the Department of Industrial Relations, Fields worked as an assistant administrator and northern Alabama supervisor in the department’s fraud unit. Fields successfully completed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s curriculum to become an Accredited Cooperative Director, and went further, also earning his NRECA Director Gold title.

For more information on this year’s event, visit www.cullmanec.com.

Virginia S. Braud