Canoochee EMC celebrated in grand style with a ribbon-cutting event and tours of their new 16,000-square foot brick building completed at the end of 2021 on East Brazell Street in Reidsville.
This replaces the building in which Canoochee was located since 1953 year, and the number of employees and services have long outgrown this old facility. The old one has been razed in recent weeks.
Canoochee Chief Executive Officer Lou Ann Phillips welcomed the large crowd gathered for the occasion on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 10 a.m. In addition to many of the 110 Canoochee EMC employees, Board Chairman Connie Thrift and Board members Bernard Purvis, Robert Dasher, Bob Floyd, LaNell Oliver, Ken Durrence, Kim Blocker, and Ed Bradley were in attendance.
Mike Parker of SP Design Group, the architect for the new building, and Tom Rogers, Micah Rogers, and Jonathan Yates, representing the contractor, The Sheridan Group, attended the ceremony.
Both Parker and Rogers spoke about the cooperative administration and staff during the design and construction progress, and how pleased they were in the completed project. The building was completed within ten months, and the employees moved into the building in January of this year. The building was completed under budget and on the scheduled time, despite the delays and shortages of building supplies throughout the construction industry.
CEO Phillips mentioned that the new facility was needed to keep up with technology, which is also constantly changing.
Canoochee EMC was first incorporated in 1938, which allowed electricity to be brought to the rural areas of Southeast Georgia. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal brought the Rural Electrification Act (REA), which opened up the provision of power to rural America.
During the tours conducted by Canoochee EMC employees, further information was shared about the not-for-profit electric cooperative, which is owned by members. Canoochee is one of 41 electric cooperatives, or EMCs, in Georgia. It serves nearly 17,000 members and nearly 23,000 meters. The coverage includes 2600 miles of line.
Canoochee EMC serves ten counties: Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham, Emanuel, Evans, Liberty, Long, Tattnall, and Toombs. Canoochee also has the Operation and Maintenance contract for Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart, now in its 17th year of its 50-year contract. Three business offices are located in Reidsville, Hinesville, and Pembroke, with warehouses on Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart. Overall, 110 employees are on the payroll.
The Canoochee EMC Foundation began in 2001, and over $1.73 million has been generated since its inception. This year, the foundation is presenting 16 scholarships, with the Mary Shuptrine Tootle Scholarship for $3,000 and the other 15 at $2,000 each. Monies are generated by rounding up a member’s bill (Roundup Program) to the nearest dollar amount.
About 73 percent of the land mass of Georgia is served by an EMC, and about one half of the population in Georgia in served by an EMC.
The tour of the new offices included all the areas: administrative, accounting, engineering, and other work areas. The spacious front lobby is welcoming, with the Canoochee EMC sign on the wall that changes colors, with the sign blue in April in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month.
Canoochee celebrates its 85th anniversary in 2023.