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A happy homecoming

A happy homecoming

Article was added on Thursday, September 10, 2015

My deep connections here make it quite an honor to serve you

I would love to tell you managing your electric cooperative is a dream come true, but - honestly - I never even dared to dream of an occasion such as this. I would like to take this opportunity - my first South Carolina Living column - to tell you a little about myself.

I grew up in a very small community in Georgetown County. I cropped tobacco all over this area for various farmers from the time that I was 12 until I was 17. After graduating from Pleasant Hill High School, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to Francis Marion University (FMU) where I majored in physics and mathematics. No stranger to hard work, I drove a truck and delivered ice every summer through college.

After FMU, I went to the University of Tennessee (UT). It was there I discovered my love for engineering and started down the path that lead me to becoming Santee Electric Cooperative's seventh manager.

I graduated from UT in 2001 and started working for Pee Dee Electric Cooperative in Darlington almost immediately. In 14 years there, I spent time as the system engineer, the vice president of engineering and operations, and then (for the last 10 years) the chief operating officer. Throughout my career there, I had many occasions to meet and work with personnel from neighboring SEC, including Mr. Floyd L. Keels.

I have had a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Keels ever since. When I found out that SEC was starting a nationwide search to find his successor, I jumped at the opportunity. The selection process was very intense and in-depth, so I was delighted and honored to be chosen by your board.

It means so much to me to be able to work for the company that serves my alma mater, the area where I grew up, and the church where my wife and I were married. Although I grew up in Georgetown County, Shannon (my wife) and I lived for the first 10 years of our marriage in Williamsburg County. Four years ago, we - along with Cade and Ava (our son and daughter) - built a house in Florence County. I feel truly blessed to have now lived in three of the four counties served by SEC. Perhaps we'll get to retire in Clarendon County to round out all four!

I want you to know I am no stranger to hard work. From all of those summers in the tobacco fields and then many more summers pushing around a 400-pound cart full of ice, through studying hard to become a first generation college graduate, and then preparing for this career, I have worked hard for everything. And now, my goal is to apply that same work ethic to my new position.

I look forward to being a part of this cooperative with its rich 75 year history and I have a vision for new and better things to come as we grow together. 

Robert G. Ardis III
President & Chief Executive Officer


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