Q&A with Board Member Todd Prothro
Posted on August 24th, 2020
It’s an honor to serve, along with eight other directors, on the board of First Electric Cooperative. The members of the board have vastly different backgrounds, business experience, and represent different generations, which makes for a strong board; however, the one thing that we all have in common is our commitment to you — our Members.
So that you might better know your directors, periodically one is showcased in this publication. This issue features Todd Prothro, director from Rose Bud.
For those of you who don’t know Todd, he has served on the board since 2018 and represents the Heber Springs district Members. In 2017 he retired from the Rose Bud School District where he taught Agriculture Education for 22 years. Todd also continues to work as a seasonal park ranger for the Greers Ferry Lake Project, which he has done for the past 23 summers, in addition to starting a new business as a home improvement contractor.
Todd has a bachelor’s degree in Vocational Agriculture Education from Arkansas State University. He is a member of Sigma Tau Alpha and is president of the Bethesda Cemetery Board. At the 2017 Arkansas FFA Convention, Todd received the honorary State FFA Degree for his years of service in Ag-ricultural Education. Todd and his wife, Djuana, are members of South Crossroads Church in Hopewell. They have two sons and four grandchildren.
Q&A with board member, Todd Prothro
The utility industry requires a vast knowledge and understanding of the electric business. What training is required to be part of the board of directors?
Being a board member means making decisions that affect every Member of the co-op. Therefore, extensive training is required to understand the electric business. Training is provided by outlets such as Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). As a board member, you must dedicate time and effort to classes that help you understand what is best for the co-op and its Members. As a new board member, I also rely on the expertise of other board Members and the CEO, Don Crabbe, in the decision-making process.
As a board member you must commit your personal time to the cooperative. How do you juggle a full-time job and the board position?
I understand that as a board member for First Electric, I must dedicate personal time and time away from my job. When needed, First Electric comes first. I am lucky to have my wife of 35 years, Djuana, to support me and allow me to dedicate the time needed to the board. Also, my four grand-children keep me grounded and busy.
What is the most challenging part of serving on the board of directors?
The most challenging part of serving on the board is making decisions that affect each member. Trying to keep electricity safe, reliable, and affordable is on the forefront of every decision made.
What do you enjoy most about serving on the board of directors?
I enjoy being on the board and serving the co-op Members as they are our priority.
The staff at First Electric is a very hard working and driven group of people. They work hard to “keep the lights on” from the serviceman to the decision makers in administration and everyone in between.
What are some of the biggest changes you see coming in the next five to 10 years in the industry?
The biggest change I see coming in the next few years in the industry is the proper balance of renewable energy to our Members at a reasonable rate. I believe that great strides in energy efficient homes will help Members in their energy usage. In the next ten years, more electric vehicles will be on the road, and having charging stations in different locations will be important. I think that all co-ops will play a key role in placing these charging stations. Technology is always improving and will provide more reliable service to each member.