For the first time in the history of Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, the annual meeting was held utilizing a virtual format.

Members were able to view the meeting on Facebook Live or participate by Zoom in the Sept. 10 meeting as a safety precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Manager Greg Proctor was pleased with the response and participation in the virtual meeting which replaced the traditional annual meeting at SIEC featuring a meal, reports, and the annual election.

Though he had hoped 1,000 members would vote, Proctor said this year 18% of SIEC members (718) voted versus 15.4% in 2018 and 14.8% in 2019.

Dave Yahnke (treasurer), Earl Trachsel, and Fred Zeitler were re-elected to the board joining Joy Evans, Trent Gregory (secretary), Travis Harris, Beth Sullivan, Paul Wells (vice president), and Darrell Downing (president).

As an incentive to vote, submitted ballots were entered into a drawing for bill credits as follows: One $1,000 credit; three $500 credits; six $250 credits; and 10 $100 credits.

Four members were honored for their service to the cooperative. Ernie Birchmier was honored for 62 years of membership in the co-op, and Joy Evans was honored for 44 years of service on the Board of Directors.

Local businesses honored were TT Cycle Parts of Belknap and M3 Fabrication LLC of Bloomfield.

During his brief address to the membership, Downing said the virus has had minimal effect on the operations of SIEC.

“The infrastructure of our system is better; our financial health is improving; and our long-term debt is down,” he said.