Today we say farewell to a person that’s not only been a regular contact for us here at BRL, but a person that’s become a friend over the years. You’ve seen his name a thousand times during our 12 year history. Remember Derecho 5 years ago this June? That’s just one event where it seems like we talked to Greg every hour for two weeks! Greg was always there to tell us when the lights were coming back on.
Today we say so long to our colleague and friend as he retires from CVEC this afternoon.
Below, Jennie Williams story on Greg.
Nelson County, Virginia
By Jennie T. Williams
After more than 18 years of service, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) Communications and Public Relations Manager Greg Kelly retires today.
If “retire” is the right word for it…
“I don’t plan to retire,” he said, though his last day as a full time CVEC employee is still today. “And anyone that I’ve known who said they were going to retire is back to work or doing consulting or special projects within six months. I think I will focus on projects that allow me to use my communications and public relations skills.”
Greg began his journey with CVEC on September 18, 1998, but his journey to Nelson County began a decade earlier when, after his company transferred him to Cleveland, he decided life was to short to spend it somewhere he didn’t love. And Ohio, as he put it, was not his cup of tea.
“So I decided to move where I wanted to live my entire life rather than waiting for retirement,” said Greg, who is also a member of the county’s Economic Development Authority. “I had been to Wintergreen so I got a job over the phone and worked [at the resort] until 1988 when I started working for Candidate and then Congressman L.F. Payne [Jr.].”
Greg then spent 10 years working for Representative Payne as his District Director of Economic Development. But living in Wintergreen and commuting to Charlottesville every day began to take its toll and when the opportunity to work locally arose, he jumped at the chance.
And he counts his blessings that his career led him where it did – he truly believes in CVEC’s mission and will continue his work improving Nelson County even during “retirement.”
“Ninety percent of Virginia did not have electricity at one point in time and there are people who still remember that,” said Greg about why he was excited to get up and go to work every day. “Now people can live – due to rural electrification – comfortably. They have efficiency and comfort and convenience and help. Being part of that overall process and being able to tell that story has its intrinsic rewards.”
Greg knows that electricity is both important because we need and that we need it because it’s important. And he is glad that the Co-op continues to keep electricity costs low to make sure it’s a utility that everyone has access to.
In 1937, he said, a kilowatt hour cost just five cents (and when an outage happened, folks sent a penny post card to report it). These days – eight decades later – the price of a kilowatt hour is only 12 cents (and you can bet every one of those cents that every iPhone in the outage area will be calling when there’s an outage).
“So over 80 years, it double-plus, while other things are ten to 50 time as expensive. And we’ve worked really diligently to maintain that position. Energy needs to be affordable,” he said, adding that the Co-op has done quite a few things in recent years to drive down the outage minutes. “And they have a really good plan to get power back on as quickly as possible. So affordable energy and high reliability are top priorities for the Co-op and I am very pleased to have seen those grown and improve during my time.”
“If I can offer this as an unsolicited compliment, you (Tommy) and Yvette do a great job in keeping in touch with people in Nelson and surrounding counties. I think you provide a great service. You are consistently professional and always there.”
Publisher’s ending comment:
We can’t say enough good things about Greg. Though we won’t be seeing him any longer at CVEC in his official capacity, he tells us he will be staying in Nelson. We look forward to many more years of great friendship with a person that took us under his wing long ago and helped our magazine become what it is today. Happy Trails Greg, and see you around the county! Tommy & Yvette