Climbing Poles, Climbing Ranks
“We are all on the same mission to serve our members.”
–Richard McLendon, Vice President of Operations
In April of 1984, Richard McLendon began his co-op career as a lineworker for Pea River Electric Cooperative in Ozark, Alabama. When he was not climbing utility poles, McLendon was climbing the ranks by taking college classes at night. He finished both an undergraduate and graduate degree while managing linework crews. He then made the transition to managing the marketing and member services.
McLendon came to NNEC as the manager of member services in 2004, and further climbed through the ranks of the co-op, eventually becoming the vice president of member services and information technology. Earlier this year, McLendon moved to the vice president, operations role leading all linework construction and maintenance, facilities and vegetation.
“If you had asked me 39 years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be in Virginia leading linework crews, but all of my experiences have led me to this opportunity,” says McLendon. “I have worked in or managed almost every part of the co-op business, and I have enjoyed every step of my career, but I am excited to get back to leading crews of lineworkers.”
“Richard has a unique experience of having been a lineworker, but also been so focused on the member experience over the last few decades,” says Brad Hicks, president and CEO of NNEC. “This perspective will allow him to lead his department to continue our history of member satisfaction while also maintaining reliability. He has already made some exciting changes, and I look forward to seeing his impact in this role.”
For McLendon, it is business as usual in his new role. “Whether it is climbing a pole to restore power or answering a call in member services, we are all on the same mission to serve our members. We just need to keep climbing,” says McLendon.