Meason steps into CEO role
Cotton Electric Cooperative’s board of directors recently named Jennifer Meason as the co-op’s CEO and general manager, effective Jan. 5, 2016. She steps into the role following the retirement of Warren Langford on Jan. 4.
Established in 1938, Cotton Electric is a member-owned cooperative providing electricity to rural southwest Oklahoma. The co-op has grown from a first day of sending power to 150 homes along 109 miles of line to more than 18,000 members and 22,000 accounts in eight counties. The current service area includes 5,125 miles of line.
Langford departs after 41 years of service to the co-op, mostly in finance and administration. His time as CEO began in 2004.
Meason joined the co-op’s marketing department as an intern in late 1999. This was her senior year at Cameron University, where she was attending as a Regional University Baccalaureate Scholar, pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in communications.
In May 2000, the Lawton native graduated and immediately began working full time for the co-op as a Marketing Representative, launching her career in the utility industry. She continued her education, earning a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Oklahoma in 2002.
Langford said, “Her academic background in business, marketing and communication have been a tremendous benefit to our members. Because of Jennifer, our member satisfaction rate is higher than industry standard.”
Meason’s contributions to Cotton Electric over 15 years have been remarkable. During the first five years, she became Manager of Member Relations and then Executive Staff Assistant. While keeping a hand in marketing efforts, she worked with management on high level administrative projects and represented the cooperative to members of the Oklahoma legislature.
Meason served as a key developer in what is probably the most widely known function of the cooperative aside from the delivery of electricity, Operation Round Up and the Cotton Electric Charitable Foundation. Through ORU, the co-op’s members voluntarily have power bills rounded up to the nearest dollar. The CECF board administers the funds, distributing quarterly. Since its inception in 2004, CECF has made nearly $900,000 in grants to worthwhile organizations and individuals.
“We’ve made a big difference in our communities,” Meason said. “I’m very proud of the impact CECF has made.”
ORU and CECF have been recognized on a state level with a Beacon Award from the Journal-Record in 2013 and have been tapped for another award in the coming year.
Meason was named Director of Marketing in 2005 and became Cotton Electric’s vice president of marketing and chief operating officer at CESI, a co-op subsidiary, in 2008.
In her marketing role, Meason oversaw activities ranging from The Current to Youth Tour, coordinated outside advertising and internal communications and produced the annual meeting and other special events.
As chief operating officer for CESI, Meason managed operations of the high-voltage test lab, overseeing finances, sales and staff. The business has achieved record sales levels under her guidance.
During the last two years, Meason has also served as director of Cotton’s human resources department and wellness initiatives.
A member of the Walters Rotary Club, Meason was the organization’s president in 2008. She is a board member for the Walters Educational Foundation and remains active in numerous civic organizations throughout the state. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma’s 2014-15 class and serves on the LOK board of directors. In 2014, she was named an Outstanding Young Alumnus by Cameron University.
Her professional affiliations include participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Management Internship Program and membership on the Touchstone Energy Strategic Communications Advisory Committee.
Jennifer Meason and her husband, Clint, live in Walters, where they are raising two daughters, Kendall and Kayla.