GRADY SMITH Final Send-Off At Cullman Electric Cooperative

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GRADY SMITH Final Send-Off At Cullman Electric Cooperative
Groundsman, Lineman, Engineer 1972-85 – President & CEO 1996-2018

The Cullman Electric Cooperative is conducting a farewell reception for their long-time CEO – Grady ‘Butch’ Smith – this afternoon at company headquarters on Eva Road.

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Cullman Electric Cooperative board member James C. Fields has just humorously recounted noteworthy episodes from Smith’s career history while bringing tears to many in the room.

Fighting back tears himself, Smith has launched into an emotional and touching remembrance of his many years at the Cooperative while imploring the remaining employees to embrace change, think and act ‘outside the box’ and to take care of every customer within their the vast electrical system.

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As a going away gift, Mr. Smith received a stunning wall hanging inscribed as follows:

‘Welcome to the Grady Smith Community Room

 

In honor of Grady Smith’s 46 years of service to rural electric cooperatives and 34 years serving the members of Cullman Electric Cooperative, the co-op’s training area was named in his honor on May 15, 2018, the 45th anniversary of his original hire date at Cullman Electric Cooperative.’

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From Mr. Smith:

“One thing we know for certain lies in our future. Jobs in our business will require expanded and advanced skills different than we’ve ever known 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 Electric Cooperative 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.”

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It is the end of a grand era this afternoon in the electrical history of Cullman County and beyond …

 

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THE FUTURE OF CEC

Tim Culpepper has been selected by the board of directors to succeed the retiring Smith as the cooperative’s president/CEO.

Cullman EC Chairman Robert Tidwell made the announcement April 2. Culpepper, who’s been the cooperative’s general counsel for the past 20 years, is scheduled to start June 1.

Culpepper joined Cullman EC’s staff in 2015 as vice president of administrative services and general counsel. Prior to that, he’d spent 17 years as the cooperative’s part-time general counsel.

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GRADY SMITH Final Send-Off At Cullman Electric Cooperative

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Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.