By Valerie Connelly, VP Government Affairs and Public Relations
After 34 years of service to the members of Choptank Electric Cooperative that spanned several decades and many miles, Olin Davis said, “My wife Catherine and I both greatly enjoyed getting to know directors and staff here at home, at the VMD regional level and at NRECA nationally.”
As Board members celebrated Davis at a recent dinner, Choptank’s President & CEO Mike Malandro said, “Olin has been a visionary and the voice of reason for members of the Cooperative. He has made an indelible mark that will be long remembered.”
Olin S. Davis III joined the Choptank Board of Directors in 1989 as the representative from Kent County. Over the years, he served on various committees and was elected Chairman of the Board from 2013 to 2018. Coincidentally, his grandfather, Olin S. Davis, was the second person to serve as President of the Cooperative in the 1940s.
In a 1991 Rural Living magazine article featuring Olin Davis III as a new Director at Choptank, he identified the biggest challenge as the economic supply of power.
“We have to make sure the Co-op stays service-oriented, because the consumers are members,” Davis said then. “It’s different for an investor-owned utility; the owners are investors.” As true today as it was 30 years ago.
In 2020, Davis was elected as Maryland’s representative to the Board of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a prestigious position that allowed him to guide energy policy discussion in the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.
“I have always been proud to serve on Choptank’s Board,” explained Davis, “but never as proud as in these last four years.” Turnover at the Cooperative led to big changes for the future. “The most important job a board does is hire the right person for CEO, and that’s what we did when we chose Mike Malandro for the job.”
Malandro joined the Choptank staff as President & CEO in 2019. He implemented the Board’s vision for less regulation and fiber internet deployment. According to Davis, “Becoming member-regulated and adding broadband to our offerings was a dream come true.”
Choptank Electric Cooperative’s mission is to provide reliable and cost-effective services that improve the quality of life for the community. “I’m grateful to the Choptank staff that worked together so well to bring new life to the Cooperative through Choptank Fiber,” reflected Davis.
Davis said he is stepping aside now to make room for the next generation of Co-op Board members who can bring new insight to address the challenges of the future. “I’m sure our new Board member from Kent County, Kristen Nickerson, will find that co-op folks are just great people.”