Coffey Retires from Blue Ridge Electric Board of Directors; Board Appoints Search Committee

LENOIR, NC (February 17, 2022) – Joy Coffey, long time director of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and secretary-treasurer for 14 years, has retired from the cooperative’s Board of Directors. Coffey had served on the Board for 25 years, having first been appointed by the Board of Directors in 1996 from Watauga District and elected by the membership for nine consecutive three-year terms thereafter.

The cooperative’s Bylaws require the Board of Directors to appoint a replacement director for the seat Coffey held in Watauga District. An announcement will be made upon selection by the Board. The Board has appointed a Search Committee to identify potential Board candidates over the next few months and who meet qualifications as listed in the cooperative’s bylaws. This committee is made up of JB Lawrence, chairman, Watauga District; Tom Trexler, Watauga District; Secretary-Treasurer Kelly Melton, Caldwell District; and President Jeff Joines, Caldwell District.

Like the other members of the cooperative’s Board of Directors, Coffey represented the entire membership of Blue Ridge Energy. In addition to regular Board and committee meetings, directors spend hundreds of hours each year in state and national training to stay informed and knowledgeable in every aspect of the electric utility industry to perform their fiduciary duties and serve in the best interests of the membership. This training includes cooperative governance, policy development, strategic planning, power supply, risk management, technology, safety, and government affairs.

During her distinguished service to the cooperative, Coffey earned her Director Gold, Board Leadership, and Credentialed Cooperative Director certifications from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit electric cooperatives providing service to 42 million consumers in 47 states.

Coffey was also vice chair of Blue Ridge’s Corporate Officer’s group, chair of the Compensation Committee and served as a former member of the Board’s Corporate Office Facilities Committee and as former chair of the Watauga Office Facilities Committee as well as the Finance and Rates Committee.

During her career in banking, she held both vice president and senior vice president positions. This made her uniquely well qualified as she served Blue Ridge Energy with the highest levels of professionalism and care.

Coffey was also a strong community supporter, having served in various positions including Board member and officer of WAMY Community Action, Inc., charter member of the Rhododendron Charter Chapter of American Business Women’s Association, director/treasurer of Watauga Hunger Coalition and as a fund raiser for the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Watauga Medical Foundation and CCC&TI Foundation.

Additionally, she served in various roles for Oak Grove Baptist Church where she’s been a member for 48 years. She and her husband, Lewis, a retired high school principal, live in the Foscoe community.

Blue Ridge Energy serves some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties. The Board of Directors is made up of 12 representatives which come from the cooperative’s membership, with three seats from each of the four directorate districts: Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany. For more information about Blue Ridge Energy, visit

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