With his previous years of leadership experience as the General Counsel and Vice President of Administrative Services, Tim Culpepper’s transition to CEO of Cullman Electric Cooperative in 2018 was an opportunity to ensure his system was prepared for the future. He offered the following thoughts regarding how his LPC has navigated the deployment of new technology:
“From our members’ perspective, one of our most-needed technological pieces was access to quality high-speed internet. We also needed to begin preparing for what the future would hold. Whether it be load growth, increased renewables, or electric vehicles, our electric systems are being asked to do more things for more people than ever before. Bringing high-speed internet connectivity to our area made sense because it addressed a critical need for the long-term growth and success of our co-op as well as the communities we serve.”
Tim has big plans for Cullman’s future, and he shared how partnering with the Seven States team helps aid in deploying new technology efficiently.
“New technologies can come with a considerable learning curve. For example, electric vehicles bring with them charging equipment and new, complex load demands. LPCs do not always have the knowledge and experience to deploy these new technologies from an installation and operation standpoint. Seven States provides us the necessary experience and guidance to help us bring these innovations to our market and ensure that they are implemented successfully.”
Tim’s work with Seven States is just one part of his plan for innovative advancement in his LPC footprint, and his advice to general managers is to fully embrace new technologies and focus on the communication aspect of their deployment.
“Innovation is about change, whether it’s taking on a new challenge like a broadband service or coming up with new ways to meet the evolving needs and demands of members. Change can make people uncomfortable — both employees and members — so you need to be ready to talk about what is changing, why it’s happening, and how your plan for managing that change will work. Effective communication is the key to implementing any change internally in your LPC and in the community you serve.”
With so much technological advancement in the Valley, Tim wants his members to know that he views every new technology as a strategic step that will improve the lives of those in underserved areas.
“The co-op was started to address a need that was not being met and to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve. We’ve maintained that focus when looking at innovation. Fiber development was an unserved need in our community just like electricity was in the 1930s. Fiber will allow us to enhance the quality of our electrical service, while also giving families and businesses access to high-speed internet that is on par with the best service available anywhere in the country. We’re really looking forward to the future.”