NORTH BALTIMORE — Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative’s President and CEO is retiring his after 24 years of service.

George Walton began his career with HWE in 1998, managing operations and engineering. In 2000, the board of trustees announced Walton as the cooperative president and CEO. In 2001, Walton was also appointed as president & COO of Prism Propane Services of Ohio LLC, subsidiary of HWE.

Prior to his time at HWE, Walton had a 15-year career working in various engineering and management positions at Appalachian Power Company and later was appointed as a corporate business development manager at American Electric Power. Over his career at AEP, he held positions in electrical distribution and substation engineering areas, area supervisor, region administrator, energy services supervisor, meter supervisor, and worked in the transmission design engineering department. Walton received the AEP Award of Excellence award for his performance.

Under Walton’s leadership, the cooperative has grown from 10,838 members to 13,432 members. Operating revenue increased from $18 million to approximately $46 million over his 24-year career and the total value of HWE’s electric plant increased more than 250%. The cooperative also constructed a new corporate headquarters in 2008, which allowed employees to better serve the members.

During his tenure, the cooperative experienced a rapid growth in technology and operational capabilities. Walton placed a significant focus on electric distribution improvements which included rebuilding electric lines and substations. The co-op also incorporated technologies including automatic metering devices, SCADA and distribution automation capabilities which improved service reliability to cooperative members. Investments were also placed on right-of-way, which reduced outage duration time to members.

“I leave this position on Jan. 3, 2022, with the blessing of being given a tremendous career opportunity in the electric utility industry. The most memorable and rewarding experience during the 24 years of my career at HWE was having a great group of employees, staff, board, and cooperative membership that supported my accomplishments of corporate goals which directly improved service reliability to member-owners,” Walton said.

“I want to give honor and thanks to my family who continue to support me and my deceased parents, Lula and Booker Walton, who taught me the value of hard work and to always look towards God for guidance and direction throughout my career. I will always give thanks to God for my accomplishments over a total career of 39 years between Hancock-Wood and American Electric Power,” he said.

During the transition period, the HWE board of trustees have selected William Barnhart as the interim president and CEO. Barnhart has been with HWE since 1998 and was previously serving as vice president of engineering and operations.

Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative serving portions of 10 northwest Ohio counties. To learn more, visit www.hwe.coop.

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