Fifteen years is a long time — yet this is how long Jerry Sorg has served Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative as the District 1 trustee. District 1 includes Allen and Adams counties in Indiana, and Marion, Madison, Monroe, Preble and Union townships in Ohio.
Sorg will be honored at our annual meeting held March 18, his last day as a PPEC trustee.
We sat down with Jerry and his wife, Barb, to reflect on his service and the valuable lessons he gained from his experience at Paulding Putnam Electric.
Tell us about your background.
“I’ve been married to my beautiful wife, Barb, for 55 years. We have five children and eight grandchildren, and we were just blessed with our first great-grandson this past Thanksgiving. I served six years of full enlistment in the United States Army, third division. I was stationed in Germany during the Cold War.”
Why did you originally decide to become a board member? What interested you?
“I received a call from Norm Cook, PPEC’s attorney, telling me I was nominated. I had always had a great interest in the co-op and thought I would give it a shot. It wasn’t until years later I found out it was our neighbor who had nominated me. I’m really glad she did. I’d come home at night with a wealth of knowledge after the various training sessions. My wife, Barb, has said it was as if I received a college education.
“I still, however, remember the first meeting where the other trustees were throwing out jargon terms like megawatt and G&T. I thought, ‘Lord, why did you put me here?’ It was amazing how fast I picked up on things. After a few meetings, everything became second nature.”
What do you feel are the top highlights when it comes to accomplishments for the organization since you’ve been on the board?
“There are many accomplishments, but the big one throughout the years has always been keeping expenses down for our members. I’m also proud of maintaining some of the lowest rates in Ohio and being extremely competitive in Indiana.”
What have you learned personally from being a trustee on the board?
“I have really learned to work well with the other board members, and I’ve learned to hear all sides of an issue before making a decision.”
What will you miss the most about being on the board?
“I’m going to miss the other board members for sure. My wife and I still visit some of the past board members. And we’ll continue to make our visits. But it will be different, not seeing the full board at the monthly meetings.
“I’ll also miss the daily focus. Members don’t realize it, but being a board member requires you to read up on a variety of topics impacting the electrical industry. I love being up on the industry news. I’m definitely going to miss not being in the know.”
What will you be doing with your spare time, since you will no longer be serving on the board?
“That’s an easy question. I’ll be spending more time with my wife and our kids and grandkids. We’ll be going to sporting events like you wouldn’t believe. The grandkids are in about everything from basketball and soccer to volleyball.”
Any last words?
“I wish all the board members and staff the very best. I’m so proud of the team. The co-op business model is unique, and I hope all the members realize that. I also want everyone to know that when the board members are looking at the finances, they are always looking at it from the viewpoint that it’s the members’ money and not the co-op’s. I think that’s what really sets PPEC apart.”
“I thought, ‘Lord, why did you put me here?’ It was amazing how fast I picked up on things.”