Roberta I. Harlowe of Fluvanna County has received the 2018 Electric Cooperative Leadership Award from the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC). The Association’s highest honor, this award recognizes outstanding co-op leaders within the three-state region. Harlowe accepted her award at the association’s July 23 annual meeting in Hot Springs, following a surprise presentation attended by family and friends.
After becoming the first woman elected to the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) board of directors in 1983, Harlowe was the first woman elected to several board leadership roles. She served as CVEC’s vice chair from 1995-2003, 2009-2011 and 2013-2015; and as chair from 2003-05 and 201517. She also was board secretary from 2007-2009, served on several CVEC and VMDAEC committees, and is currently board treasurer.
“Roberta has been an integral part of our cooperative’s success for 35 years,” said Gary Wood, CVEC president and CEO. He added, “Roberta championed construction of two solar farms, dedicated earlier this year, that made us one of just three electric co-ops in the nation to provide four or more megawatts of community solar available to their members. Her thirst for knowledge is matched by her passion for the electric cooperative mission. She searches for programs and solutions that will truly improve the quality of members’ lives, and leads the charge to make the change.”
As chair of VMDAEC’s Education Committee from 2005-2017, Harlowe organized many successful fundraisers, growing the Association’s educational scholarship program while working to streamline and ensure objectivity in the selection process for recipients of college and trade school tuition assistance.
“Roberta not only has a vision, she makes it happen,” said VMDAEC President & CEO Richard Johnstone. “Under her leadership, the Foundation had awarded $526,500 to 627 deserving high school seniors,” he explained, adding, “She stepped down in 2017 as committee chair, but only after carefully helping us prepare for the next chapter.”
The 2018 Leadership Award resolution also cites Harlowe’s years of contributions to her community. While helping her husband found Harlowe Auctions, a successful business that operated for more than 40 years, she raised two children and served Beaver Dam Baptist Church as choir director, chair of the finance and stewardship committee, and regional representative for the Christian Woman’s Club.
A Certified Credentialed Director who has also achieved Director Gold certification through the Harlowe Receives Leadership Award, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Harlowe has sought throughout her co-op career to implement the best practices from her training in many roles across the organizations she serves.
She and her husband Bill live in Troy, Virginia, and have two children and four grandchildren.
About CVEC: Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is a member-owned, not-for-profit, electric utility serving more than 36,000 homes, farms and businesses in the rural portions of 14 Virginia counties. CVEC is proud to be a Four-Star Cooperative for Service Excellence certified by the Touchstone Energy Service Excellence Program. For more information, visit www.mycvec.com.
About VMDAEC: Founded in 1944, VMDAEC is the trade association for 15 consumer-owned, notfor-profit electric distribution cooperatives that serve Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The Glen Allen, Va.-based Association provides its member cooperatives with employee and director education, safety training, government relations, and communications services, including publishing Cooperative Living magazine, whose circulation in excess of 500,000 makes it the largest in the state. For more information, visit www.vmdaec.com or www.co-opliving.com.