N.C. Gov. Cooper presents departing Roanoke Electric CEO coveted Rural Leadership Award

Posted: December 14, 2021 at 8:15 a.m.

As his role as president and CEO of Roanoke Electric Co-op comes to an end this week, Curtis Wynn takes with him a symbolic testament of the remarkable legacy he leaves behind: The 2021 Larry Wooten Rural Leadership Award.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper presented the special commendation to Wynn, during a recent visit to the governor’s mansion. Gov. Cooper and Agriculture Commissioner designate the award annually to an outstanding leader who has worked to advance the state’s rural communities.

“It is a special honor to be recognized at this level,” Wynn said. “It makes me even prouder of the Roanoke team’s major accomplishments and having been a part of the work. I am most proud of the value we have created for our member-owners and the community.”

In his 24-year leadership role at Roanoke Electric, Wynn has spearheaded various high-impact programs and services to improve the quality of life in diverse rural communities. His efforts have paved the way to bring high-speed internet to northeastern North Carolina, connecting families, farmers, and businesses with the resources they need to thrive in the digital age. Wynn is also recognized as a long-time advocate of sustainable forestry in the region and for developing the state’s clean energy workforce.

“Curtis Wynn has brought opportunity and innovation to rural North Carolina, making rural communities an even better place to live and work,” Governor Cooper said. “Thanks to his work, more families, schools and businesses have access to high-speed internet, a critical tool to help rural communities thrive.”

Echoing that sentiment is Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. He said Wynn “has built a transformative legacy of leadership, from efforts to bring broadband connectivity to rural communities and raising more than $10 million to support economic development projects, to encouraging wealth creation through land ownership and sustainable land management. He is an important leader and ally for rural North Carolina.”

The award was named after its first recipient, Larry Wooten, the former long-time president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. It is bestowed annually to individuals who exemplify rural leadership in three areas: long-standing commitment to rural endeavors, a positive impact on rural life though significant and sustaining improvements for people living in rural communities, and an exemplary character that inspires North Carolinians.

For Wynn, the special honor preceded his Dec.13 planned departure. He will take on the role as CEO of SECO Energy, an electric co-op serving over 200,000 member-owners in Central Florida.

Roanoke Electric’s board of directors has appointed the co-op’s chief operating officer, Marshall Cherry, to serve as interim CEO.