Directors are Neighbors Serving Neighbors
About the Board
SEMO Electric is a democratically-controlled business. It doesn’t have stockholders, so the Board isn’t made up of the people who own the most shares and are looking for big returns on their investment. SEMO Electric is governed by local people with your best interest and the cooperative’s best interest at heart. These individuals are active community leaders representing the needs of their local constituents. The Board is responsible for establishing policies, seeing initiatives through and approving items such as work plans and the financial budget. The cooperative’s Bylaws contain exact details about director qualifications and the nomination process. Directors are elected to three-year terms, which are staggered to provide continuity. It is the Board’s duty to maintain SEMO Electric’s strategic direction of a not-for-profit operation with cost-of-service-based rates to provide safe and reliable electricity and broadband services to thousands of homes, farms and businesses in southeast Missouri.
SEMO Electric’s Board of Directors is composed of 12 member-owners, each representing members-owners of their specific district. There are five districts - 1 New Madrid County, 2 Mississippi County, 3 Bollinger and Stoddard Counties, 4 Scott County, and 5 Cape Girardeau County. Each board member is elected by members who attend and vote at the annual meeting. A married couple or household, as a member, is entitled to one vote. The notice of election is published each year in the Rural Missouri magazine, which is provided to all members. The Official Notice for the Annual Meeting is published each year in May's Rural Missouri. The next annual meeting is slated for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, May 18 at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Grounds.
SEMO Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors are member-owners elected to three-year terms at the Cooperative’s annual meeting, which is open to all member-owners in May, include (left to right): Field LaPlant (District 2), Myron Hawes (District 1), Assistant Secretary/Treasurer James Deneke (District 5), Dennis Fowler (District 3), Vice President John Bledsoe (District 2), President Rick Faulkner (District 1), Carl Eftink (District 4), Carla Moore (District 3), Secretary/Treasurer Tim Coppage (District 1), Von Priggel (District 4), Dicky Hanor (District 2), and Keith Haynes (District 3). The Board meets at least 12 times (normally on the third Monday of each month) per year for official business.
District 1 - New Madrid County
Tim Coppage is a lifelong resident of southeast Missouri and was raised in the Matthews’ area and where he lives today. He and his wife Kristina live on their farm, which became a Century Farm in 2007. They have four sons, three daughters-in-law and three wonderful granddaughters. Tim and Kristina attend Tanner Street Church of God in Sikeston. Tim farmed for more than 28 years raising grain, cattle and hogs and retired after 15 years with Pioneer. Through the years, Tim has served on various committees including the Delta Growers Board of Directors, Missouri Extension Council, Drainage District 41 and Senate Bill 40 Committee of New Madrid County. Presently, he is an elected member of SEMO Electric’s Board of Directors and serves as board secretary. In his spare time, Tim enjoys team roping, hunting, fishing, spending as much time as possible with his family and loves spoiling his granddaughters.
Richard “Rick” Faulkner has lived in the LaForge Community all of his life. He and Cindy farm more than 2,000 acres of corn, cotton, and soybeans. In past years, Rick has served on the New Madrid County Farm Bureau Board and the University of Missouri Extension Council. He has been a member of the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association. Rick is currently serving as President of the Board of Directors of SEMO Electric Cooperative. He has served on the Board of Directors for M & A Power Electric Cooperative and as an Associate Director of Alliance Bank. Rick and Cindy are members of the New Madrid Baptist Church where Cindy is pianist and Rick serves as Deacon and Sunday School Teacher.
Myron Hawes was born in Sikeston and raised in northern New Madrid County, Missouri. In 1981, he graduated from Matthews High School and attended Southeast Missouri State University. He has farmed in the Matthews area for over 40 years. For 35 years, Myron has been married to his wife, Marla. They have three children and one grandchild. Myron and his family are members of the First Christian Church in Sikeston. Presently, Myron serves on the following boards: SEMO Electric Cooperative, Kenny Rogers Children's Center- Vice Chairman, Rainey Farm Board, and New Madrid Drainage District #41. Past board services include: Board Chairman, Elder and Deacon First Christian Church, New Madrid county R-1 Foundation, New Madrid County Farm Bureau, Cotton Incorporated, Missouri Delta Medical Center, New Madrid County Extension, Matthews/ Canalou Water District, Farm Bureau-Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Delta Growers Association-Vice Chairman and River Bend Ag Chairman.
District 2 - Mississippi County
John Bledsoe lives in rural Charleston in Mississippi County. He and wife Cindy have three children and 11 grandchildren. John and his family are members of St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Charleston. As a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, John is retired from UPS. Over the years, he has served on various non-for-profit boards including his local school board. He is SEMO Electric’s representative on M&A Electric Power Cooperative’s (transmission provider) Board of Directors based in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Dicky Hanor has lived and worked in Mississippi County his entire life. He is the parent of two daughters and two grandchildren. Dicky has served on many boards and is a farmer in Mississippi County. He is a member of the Charleston United Methodist Church where he serves on the Board or Trustees. Dicky graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia and received a degree in Science Agricultural Economics. Dicky also served our country in Vietnam. He has earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Gold Leadership Certificate.
Louie (Field) LaPlant IV was born and raised in Mississippi County. Field and his wife Macey have two children. He is a 2012 graduate of East Prairie High School. Field worked on the family farm as well as served as an apprentice to Pioneer Seed. He attended the University of Missouri, graduating in 2016 with a degree in Ag Business Management. Field served as Operations Manager for Sanders before accepting his current position as General Manager of Yellow Gold Irrigation and Well-Drilling. Field continues to support the family farm (MRM Farms and LaPlant Farms both of which are Century Farms) as well as farming on his own along with his brother and cousin (Clearwater Farms LLC). Field and Macey are members of Nelson Memorial Methodist Church, where Field serves as Trustee chair.
District 3 - Bollinger and Stoddard Counties
Dennis Fowler, a naval reservist, of Advance and his wife Ava have two children and three grandchildren. Dennis was born and raised in Puxico where he graduated from Puxico High School. He attended Southern Baptist College at Walnut Ridge for two years. In 1969 he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the Naval Security Group Activity in Germany. After his enlistment he attended Southeast Missouri State University and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. Dennis has worked as the Stoddard County Detention Center Superintendent, the Stoddard County Sheriff’s Department, the SEMO Drug Task Force, the Probation and Parole Office, served as chief juvenile officer 35th Judicial Circuit Court, and as Chief of Police for the City of Advance. He has also served in the Missouri House of Representatives and was appointed to the parole board by the Governor. Dennis has earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Gold Leadership Certificate.
Keith Haynes has lived in Stoddard County all his life. Keith and his wife Vicky have two daughters and two grandchildren. Keith and Vicky live on their farm near Bloomfield. Keith represents SEMO Electric on the executive board of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Keith is a 1979 graduate of Richland High School and attended the Southeast Missouri State University Law Academy. He is a former member of the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force. Keith enjoys spending time with his family and teaching his grandchildren to ride and take care of horses.
Carla Moore is a lifelong resident of Stoddard County and has lived in the Bloomfield area for over six generations. She was raised in Bloomfield and still resides on her family farm. She attended Bloomfield Public School through her sophomore year and graduated from Dexter High School. Carla has two daughters, Deana Pennington and Gwen Moore, and three grandchildren, Tanner, Ethan and Mattie who live in Stoddard County. She was a UPS driver for 22 years and served as Stoddard County Collector/Treasurer for five terms and now enjoying retirement. As a current member of SEMO Electric’s Board of Directors, Carla said she has met many members from the cooperative’s service area and the experience she has gained has “greatly helped” her understand their various needs.
District 4 - Scott County
Carl Eftink is a life-long resident of Scott County. He and his wife, Sheila are the parents of three children and have seven grandchildren. Sheila and Carl, along with their son Nathan, operate Eftink Construction Company in the McMullin area. As an active member of St. Francis Xavier Church in Sikeston, Carl has served on many councils, boards and committees at his church and as a member of the Knights of Columbus throughout the years. He is a Credentialed Cooperative Director. Additionally, Carl is SEMO Electric’s representative on M&A Electric Power Cooperative’s (transmission provider) Board of Directors in Poplar Bluff.
Von Priggel is a multi-generational farmer and a resident of Oran, Missouri. Von operates the family farm with his brothers, sons and nephews in Scott and Stoddard counties. He and his wife, Michelle, who is a schoolteacher, have five children and two grandchildren. Von graduated from Oran High School and received his BS from the University of Missouri. Von has served on the Southeast Cooperative Service Company Board of Directors, University of Missouri Ag Alumni Board, Scott County Farm Bureau Board and SEMO Water District Board. He has also had various positions at the Guardian Angel Parish, Knights of Columbus and is a Class VI ALOT (Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow).
District 5 - Cape Girardeau County
James Deneke, of the Tilsit/Gordonville area, and his wife Debbie have two children and three grandchildren. James raises beef cattle and is a Missouri Heritage Mutual Insurance agent. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and is a member of the Zion Methodist Church in Gordonville. He has earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Board Leadership Certificate and Director Gold Certificate.
Board Elections and Voting at the Annual Meeting
Serving on SEMO Electric's Board is an important and time-consuming task. A board of directors in a cooperative functions as a policy-making body when it comes to big-picture issues such as financial responsibility, equal employment opportunity issues, compliance with applicable legal guidelines and the co-op's business dealings with its own members. Board members are elected by the membership to oversee the cooperatives activities and to safeguard the member’s investments. Because of this expectation, and their role as the top level governing body, serving on the Board of Directors comes with legal responsibilities.
When an election is to be held, the current Board of Directors will appoint a Nominating Committee consisting of your neighbors to accept applications and may interview possible candidates for the Board. The nominating committee is to nominate qualified people to run in the election. If you are not nominated by the committee, you can still run for the Board by obtaining a Nomination Petition, available at SEMO Electric's offices in Bloomfield and Sikeston, and getting the signature of 50 members (one signature per household) residing in your district. A valid petition must arrive and be time stamped by 5 p.m., 30 days before the Annual Meeting, at SEMO Electric’s offices in Bloomfield or Sikeston. Once received by SEMO Electric, 1) all signees will be verified as members; 2) a felony background check will be conducted; and 3) the candidate must submit, with the petition, a passport headshot and an autobiography (150 words or less) for publication in Rural Missouri.
All nominated people, whether by committee or petition, appear on the ballot by district in order of nomination, by district, followed by time stamp on petitions. Voting will take on the day of the Annual Meeting. An election contractor will oversee the election. Voting will take place on the contractor's iPads at the Annual Meeting. The results will be shared during the Business Meeting at the Annual Meeting. A candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared the officially elected director of the district. Should two or more candidates tie in the largest number of votes received for an available term of director from a district, the tie shall be resolved by a coin flip. Elected board members begin their term at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting's Business Meeting. There is no waiting period. You are now accountable to the cooperative's members.
For questions, please call CEO Sean Vanslyke at (573) 703-7694.
Check out this video with director interviews at our 2023 Annual Meeting: