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SMECO CEO Slater inducted into hall of fame
By Southern Maryland Electric Co-op
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce inducted Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) president and CEO Austin J. Slater, Jr. into its Business Hall of Fame on May 1, 2013, at the annual membership meeting.
Slater, who served as chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2009 – 2011, is the first person from a Southern Maryland company to serve in that role. “My experience on the Maryland Chamber Board, whether as a member or as chairman, was personally enriching and terrific recognition for SMECO and for electric cooperatives,” Slater said. “SMECO has a solid reputation around the state for our dedication to our customer-members. I’m proud to share this Hall of Fame honor with the members of SMECO’s Board and our employees who work every day to provide safe, reliable, affordable electricity to our customer-members.”
Slater, whose career at SMECO began in 1979, rose to the position of senior vice president. From 1997 to 2002, he served as the CEO and general manager of Tideland Electric Membership Corporation in Pantego, NC, and vice president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Slater returned to SMECO in 2002 to serve as the cooperative’s CEO. Under his leadership, SMECO has won the J.D. Power and Associates Award for best customer service for five consecutive years for the East region midsize utility. Slater serves on numerous boards, including as Chairman of the College of Southern Maryland Board of Trustees and as a Director at Community Bank of Tri-County.
As chairman of the Southern Maryland Workforce Investment Board, Slater was committed to workforce development issues in Southern Maryland. During his tenure, the organization developed a mobile career center to provide access to technology and employment information to organizations and individuals in the area. Slater has also dedicated himself to environmental matters at SMECO and as the founding Secretary of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization. In addition to purchasing wind energy, SMECO built a solar farm in Hughesville, has instituted programs for recycling, and is committed to improving the co-op’s energy efficiency.
Slater added, “Our co-op is heavily involved in the local chambers of commerce. As one of the largest employers in Southern Maryland, we feel compelled to volunteer our resources to help advance the interests and concerns of local business people, organizations, and residents. Extending this commitment to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce was a natural extension of our allegiance to the members we serve.”
The Maryland Business Hall of Fame was established in 2000 to recognize the accomplishments of entrepreneurs and business executives throughout Maryland whose contributions, in business and in the community, have helped to advance the quality of life for Marylanders and the state’s business climate.
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