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Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative named large business of the year by the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce

Left to right: Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce Secretary/Treasurer, Brandon Fernald; SVEC Executive VP and CEO, Michael McWaters; Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Jimmy Norris -SVEC Photo Submitted

Submitted by Jon Little, SVEC Director of Communications

Live Oak, Florida–October 4, 2016 – Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) was named Large Business of the Year at the Suwannee County Chamber’s annual awards dinner, held last night at the National Guard Armory in Live Oak.

“We are truly grateful to the Chamber for this award,” said SVEC Executive Vice President & CEO, Michael McWaters.  “It belongs to all of our employees, who are our biggest asset, and whose dedication to our members and the community is demonstrated every day.”

The Large Business of the Year Award recognizes SVEC for the following:
Community Outreach

In the past year, SVEC sponsored community events and made financial contributions to a wide variety of non-profit organizations that serve the citizens of the Suwannee Valley. SVEC also hosted six blood drives, provided generators for community events, hung Christmas decorations for the City of Live Oak, and conducted safety demonstrations at elementary schools.

SVEC employees repeatedly show their generosity by giving to people in need. This spring, employees raised $5,630 for United Way of Suwannee Valley, which earned a matching grant of $5,000 from CoBank.

SVEC encourages its employees to be personally involved in community service and volunteer activities. SVEC’s CEO sets an example by serving on the boards of United Way of Suwannee Valley and Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center. Another member of the senior management team serves on the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches HR/Finance committee. Employees from throughout the organization are actively involved in Altrusa, the Live Oak Rotary Club, the United Way Reading Pals program and many more community organizations and churches.
Investment in Youth

SVEC annually awards 10 college/technical school scholarships to area high school seniors, and sponsors eight juniors to participate in a tour of the Florida state capital and two juniors to participate in the Rural Electric Youth Tour of the U.S. capital. During the tours, students meet with senators and representatives from SVEC’s service territory and gain an understanding of the legislative process and their roles as a member of a democratic society.

Support of Economic Vitality

SVEC works with state and local governments and organizations such as the Suwanee County Chamber of Commerce, the Suwannee County Economic Development Office and the North Florida Economic Development Partnership to support the expansion of existing businesses and attract new prospects to the area.

This year, SVEC applied for and was awarded a $300,000 Rural Economic Development Loan Grant to help construct a library in Dowling Park.

About Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC)

SVEC is a not-for-profit cooperative that provides safe, affordable and reliable electric service to more than 18,000 members in the Florida counties of Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwannee. SVEC maintains over 4,300 miles of electric distribution lines and serves an area of about 2,000 square miles. SVEC’s headquarters is in Live Oak, Florida. SVEC's wholesale power provider is Seminole Electric, one of the largest generation and transmission cooperatives in the nation. More information about SVEC is available at