Curtis Wynn, a native of Campbellton and a 1981 graduate of Graceville High School, has just accepted a new job in central Florida with SECO rural electric cooperative, coming to his home state with a fresh award in hand for his rural co-op leadership in North Carolina.
One of eight living children of Jessie Mae Wynn and John Wallace Wynn Sr., he has some local siblings happy to see him coming many hours closer to home.
His sister Pearl Jackson and brothers John Wynn Jr. and Gary Wynn live in Marianna. Brother Randall Wynn lived in Jackson County until a year ago and now lives in nearby Chipley.
His sister Elizabeth Wynn and brother Joe Wynn live in Georgia, and sister Annie Bellamy lives in Texas.
Brother Randall said he’s not sure whether the family will get to see him, their sister-in-law Selene and their three children over the holidays because of all they have to do in preparing to move, but he’s sure they’ll be in good shape to make up for that lost time now that he’ll be some four hours away in the stretch that lies between Ocala and Orlando, instead of 12 hours by car.
In the meantime, they’re celebrating his recent award and the successful career he continues to have. Randall said his brother is looking forward to being closer to home, where he started his life in rural co-op: When he was still in high school he started out as a dispatcher for the West Florida Electric Cooperative and worked his way up to vice president of member services and fulfilled other key roles in the company.
Wynn has been the long-time president and CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative. In that role, he was recently selected by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to receive the 2021 Larry Wooten Rural Leadership Award.
“Wynn has served in leadership roles with Roanoke Electric for 24 years, improving the quality of life in diverse rural communities and becoming an influential leader in rural North Carolina,” a press release from the governor’s office stated. “Wynn’s efforts have helped bring high speed internet to rural North Carolina to connect families, farmers, and businesses with the resources they need to thrive in the global economy. Wynn is also a long-time advocate of sustainable land management, including a sustainable forestry program that works specifically with Black landowners, and developing North Carolina’s clean energy workforce,” it continued.
“Curtis Wynn has brought opportunity and innovation to rural North Carolina, making rural communities an even better place to live and work,” Cooper said in the release. “Thanks to his work, more families, schools and businesses have access to high-speed internet, a critical tool to help rural communities thrive. We are working hard to build on the great work of our rural co-ops and other partners to get even more North Carolinians connected to broadband.”
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was also quoted in the release. “Curtis Wynn has built a transformative legacy of leadership, from efforts to bring broadband connectivity to rural communities and raising more than $10 million to support economic development projects, to encouraging wealth creation through land ownership and sustainable land management. He is an important leader and ally for rural North Carolina,” Troxler said.
As that release was hot off the press, SECO was announcing Wynn’s new job in central Florida, where he’ll have big shoes to fill when he takes over the role in January of next year.
“SECO Energy’s Board of Trustees recently voted to hire a new CEO to step into the shoes of retiring CEO Jim Duncan, who led the cooperative as CEO for most of his long and distinguished 43-year tenure,” the release states. “SECO Energy currently provides electric service to 220,000 homes and businesses across seven counties in fast-growing Central Florida. SECO Energy is a J.D. Power award-winning electric utility and is a frontrunner statewide and nationally with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI),” it continued. “The candidate selected by the Board of Trustees from both internal executives and external applicants is Curtis Wynn who has been the President and CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative in North Carolina since 1997, a not-for-profit electric utility that serves 14,000 members. Prior to that, Mr. Wynn was the Vice President of Member Services, Information Technology, Marketing and Economic Development from 1981 to 1997 at West Florida Electric Cooperative....Wynn steps in at SECO Energy in time to transition into Jim Duncan’s departure date of January 3, 2022.”
“(He) is married with three children and is a graduate of Troy University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems. With nearly 42 years of experience in the electric cooperative industry...Wynn’s resume reflects a long list of awards and accomplishments showing a history of supporting creative solutions that are turning the challenges of the energy industry evolution into major opportunities,” the release continues.
“(He) also serves or has served on a variety of boards including: immediate past board president, National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA); past president, vice president and secretary-treasurer of North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperative; board member, North Carolina’s Association of Electric Cooperatives; board member, Meridian Cooperative (formerly Southeastern Data Cooperative – SEDC); and past nominating committee member, CoBank.
SECO Energy is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, operated for and owned by its members.
As Wynn’s local family members contemplate his return to Florida, some siblings imagine a day when they can all reunite to once again attend a service at St. Paul AME Church in Campbellton, where they were all active as young people.