Richard G. Johnstone, Jr.

Executive Editor

Richard G. Johnstone, Jr. has served as President and CEO of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives since August 2016. Prior to that, he served for 17 years as Executive Vice President of the VMDAEC.

Johnstone, 61, has worked at the Association for almost 33 years. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Richmond, Johnstone majored at UR in both journalism and speech communications. He joined VMDAEC in April 1985 as manager of its communications and public relations department and editor of Rural Living magazine.  Before coming to VMDAEC, he worked for seven years at the Virginia State Bar, principally as editor of the bar’s monthly magazine.

Johnstone has been active for years in the business community in Virginia and the cooperative community nationally. He currently serves as a board member and is past president of the Virginia Cooperative Council and is a former board member and president of the Virginia Society of Association Executives. He received VSAE’s highest honor, the CEO Award of Excellence, in December 2016.

He also serves on the executive committee and the board of the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia. In addition, he is a member and past president of both the Rural Electric Statewide Managers Association and the Rural Electric Statewide Editors Association.

Johnstone and his wife, Blair, live in Midlothian and have two grown children, Katy Johnstone Hurtz and Ethan Johnstone.

Bill Sherrod


Bill Sherrod is editor of Cooperative Living magazine, published by the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives for the members of 12 electric-distribution cooperatives in Virginia. He also serves as vice president of the association’s communications and public relations department. Bill has been with the Association since 1994. Prior to his service with the electric cooperatives association, he edited community newspapers in lower Delaware and central Virginia. He is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College and currently resides in Henrico County. In his spare time he likes to fish, exercise and read.

Nina Jacobs

Administrative Coordinator

Nina Jacobs joined the VMDAEC team in 2015 as an Administrative Services Manager after working with CarMax for ten years as an Executive Assistant. Her duties included accounting, administrative support for the scholarship foundation and overseeing day to day needs of the employees. With over 15 years of administrative experience she is now assisting the Cooperative Living team with various duties that include subscriptions, magazine distribution and lending a hand with advertisements.

Nina is a cum laude graduate of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. She was born and raised in Bernardsville, New Jersey. She resides in Henrico VA with her new puppy Charlotte. Nina enjoys bird watching, nature walks, reading and needlepointing.

Laura Emery

Field Editor

Laura Emery is field editor of Cooperative Living magazine, published by the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives for the members of 12 electric-distribution cooperatives in Virginia. Laura has been with the Association since 2000. She writes local pages content for member cooperatives as requested, as well as the monthly Say Cheese and WebTalk columns. Laura also writes several cover stories a year with accompanying photography and assists with the Cooperative Living Facebook page. A Pennsylvania native, Laura grew up in rural Virginia and enjoys country living with her family. In addition to rural living, she enjoys writing, party planning, photography, interior decorating and spending time with her husband and children.

Mary Howell

Communications & PR Coordinator

Mary Howell is Manager of Member & Public Relations for the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. 

She joined the Association in 2012 after 14 years in nonprofit sector communications, serving as a registered lobbyist and executive director of several trade organizations. Early in her career, she spent six years as a communications specialist in Virginia state government.

As part of the Association’s Communications Department, Mary contributes regularly to Cooperative Living magazine, managing its contest and recipe columns as well as special assignments. She leads communication efforts for the Unsung Virginian and Good Samaritan awards, offered to outstanding cooperative members across Virginia. Her duties include providing media relations, photography and videography support to the Association’s 15 member cooperatives and coordinating professional development opportunities for co-op staff.

Mary has a Masters in Mass Communication/Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, where she contributed to the Cavalier Daily. She belongs to the Cooperative Communicators Association and serves on the board of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC). An avid horseback rider, Mary and her husband, their four horses and several pets live in New Kent County, Virginia.

Janet Bailey

Production Manager

Janet Bailey is the production manager for Cooperative Living magazine. Her primary job responsibility is to ensure the magazine prints correctly and she is the staff liaison with the plant that publishes the magazine. There are 13 versions of each magazine published 10 times a year, monthly with combined March/April and November/December issues. The current pressrun each issue is around 520,000 copies and each version has varying quantities based on address lists provided by each member co-op. She designs layouts for the magazine and proofreads and fact checks all pages. Janet has been on the magazine staff since 1991.

In her spare time she takes care of a husband, four indoor cats and a spoiled dog. Her husband is a small business owner and she has a grown son who is a journalist. Janet loves to garden, bird-watch and feeds a flock of 50+ hungry hummingbirds, seasonally. She is a native of Chesterfield County, Virginia, and lives in Moseley.

Amanda Cunningham

Advertising Sales

Amanda Cunningham joined the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives in 2002, doing graphics-design work for Cooperative Living magazine and the Association’s member cooperatives. Her career path evolved as she began helping the advertising-sales staff with their growing marketing needs. Today, she heads up the advertising department and enjoys helping her clients, Virginia communities and new businesses grow through Cooperative Living. Amanda is a native of the Richmond area and a graduate of George Mason University.

Tommy Campbell

Design & E-Media Coordinator

Tommy Campbell has been with the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives since the Spring of 2017. He joined the association as the Design & E-Media Specialist, providing design work for Cooperative Living Magazine and the association, as well as online web and social media development. Tommy’s background is in graphic design, both print and web, marketing and publications. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry in various positions. Prior to coming to VMDAEC, he was the Creative Director for a non-profit, military association for many years. Tommy is a native of Virginia and a graduate of Radford University.



Paula Steers Brown

Contributing Columnist

Paula Steers Brown has been writing a gardening column for Cooperative Living since 2001. She received her Master of Arts in English from Tufts University and has taught honors and AP English for 15 years at Douglas Freeman High School in Henrico County. Paula has lectured on gardening topics and designed perennial gardens around Virginia. She started gardening with her grandparents in Kentucky at age 5 and is now devoted to exploring nature with her own grandchildren. She loves literature, art, and travel.

Anne Dellinger

Contributing Columnist 

Anne Dellinger is a contributing columnist for Cooperative Living magazine. She writes the Kids’ Korner feature. 

She graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in biology and began a teaching career in Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.  Later, after moving back to the family farm, she opened a private pre-school, which she operated for 28 years.  Along with her late husband Doug, she helped manage a beef cattle operation and raised Percheron draft horses. 

Anne has a son, a daughter and two granddaughters.  Now retired, She enjoys time for family, nature walks, hiking, traveling, gardening and volunteering at a therapeutic horseback riding center.

Carl “Spike” Knuth

Contributing Columnist

Spike began studying birds and fish as a youth in his native Wisconsin, which ultimately led to interest in all flora and fauna. He moved to Virginia in February 1974 to take a position with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, where he produced fishing and hunting guides, created art and stories for Virginia Wildlife and other publications, was involved in radio and television programming, and compiled a weekly Outdoor Report for publication. He retired after 30 years but remains active in painting, illustrating and writing. He and his wife Susie reside in Mechanicsville.

Margo Oxendine

Contributing Columnist

Margo Oxendine’s journalistic career spans more than three decades, and has garnered dozens of state and national writing awards for reporting and column writing.

She has also written a PBS documentary, “Back Road to History: Bath County,” a play, “Over Here, Over There,” and two books, one of historical photographs, “Images of America, Bath County Virginia,” and “A Party of One,” a compilation of 65 of her favorite newspaper and magazine columns.

Her hobbies might be called reading, singing and minding her own quiet business.

She has lived and played in Key West, Florida, and San Francisco, California. Now, she makes her home in the lovely green mountains of Hot Springs, Virginia. Margo likes to think she is “retired,” yet she still writes for The Recorder newspaper in Monterey, Virginia; the Virginian-Review newspaper in Covington, and a column for Cooperative Living magazine, “Rural Living.”

Daniel M. Walker

Contributing Columnist –

Dan has worked or consulted with electric cooperatives in different capacities for more than 33 years.  In addition, he has published writings and taught on a variety of subjects, from woodworking to finance and accounting, to photography.  Part of his photography resume includes selection as a winner in Life magazine’s World Photography Contest.

Dan has degrees from Wingate College, Appalachian State University and the University of Richmond.  He has been married for over 50 years and loves to travel, fish, try new restaurants and spend time with his teenage grand kids.

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Through snow and ice, your electric cooperative lineworkers are there.

Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative BARC Electric Cooperative Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Southside Electric Cooperative Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative Northern Neck Electric Cooperative Central Virginia Electric Cooperative Rappahannock Electric Cooperative A&N Electric Cooperative Community Electric Cooperative Prince George Electric Cooperative NOVEC
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Melted candy is the magic for sugar cookies with colored windows! Check out this reader-submitted holiday cookie recipe! And, for more recipes, check out

Kathy Fleming of Winchester

¾ cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 bags hard candy in different colors

DIRECTIONS: Mix first seven ingredients to form a stiff dough; wrap and chill for at least one hour. Separate candy by color and crush each color separately, using a mallet or food processor. Roll out chilled dough ¼” thick on floured surface, using cookie cutters that have a circle or other cut-out in the middle. Place cut out dough shapes on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and lightly greased. Fill cut-out areas with candy until they are filled and level with dough. Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes, or until cookies are barely golden. Cool so that candy is firm before removing from cookie sheet.
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Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
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