Ted Hampton, CEO of Cumberland Valley Electric in Gray, Kentucky, and the longest-serving co-op manager in America, is the winner of the NRECA President’s Award. It recognizes individuals who have made outstanding leadership contributions to rural electrification, the nation, their states or communities. Hampton became manager of the co-op in 1964.
“Ted has led Cumberland Valley expertly through periods of enormous change, while never faltering from his commitment to provide reliable and affordable power to his consumer-members,” said NRECA President Chris Christensen. “Today, Cumberland Electric has some of the lowest electricity rates in the country.
“Not long ago, Ted faced a struggle few can imagine. He contracted a severe COVID-19 infection that required a long hospitalization, including a month spent in a coma, and six weeks of rehabilitation.
“But after spending more than 100 days hospitalized, he returned home and was back at work as soon as he was able. Through it all, Ted has used his vast knowledge and experience to guide others and sets a shining example for young leaders—calm under pressure, humble in success and always respectful of others.”
Hampton said that, during his 59 years as the co-op’s manager, “I have had plenty of bad days, but many more great or good days. I was very humbled to win this award. As any of my fellow co-op managers know, you don’t do these things for awards, you do them for people. I am very grateful for NRECA to recognize me and my career.”