Your voice, your vote
Your vote in the Brunswick Electric Board of Directors Election is your voice in your cooperative, your chance to weigh in on the leaders who represent you and your interests. Make plans to attend Annual Meeting September 28, 2019 and cast your vote.
Why should you vote?
BEMC’s directors provide oversight to the cooperative. They develop policies, set rates and oversee the work of the CEO. While each director represents one district, they are concerned with the co-op as a whole.
How do you vote?
A BEMC employee will process your registration and direct you to the voting area. A member of the Election Credentials Committee will be available in the voting area should you need assistance casting your vote and submitting your ballot. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and close promptly at 10:30 a.m.
You will receive a registration form in the mail in early September. Bring that form with you to Annual Meeting. A BEMC employee will process your registration, provide you a ballot, and direct you to the voting area where you can cast your vote in private. A member of the Election Credentials Committee will be available in the voting area to offer assistance if needed.
Casting your vote is easy. Follow these three steps:
- Fill in the oval beside each candidate’s name with the pen that has been provided. Remember to only mark one candidate per district.
- Insert your ballot into the ballot acceptor. The ballot can be inserted in any way (face up, face down, etc). A member of the Election Credential’s Committee will be available should you need any assistance.
- Review your ballot. Check the screen on the ballot acceptor to see if there are any issues with the ballot, such as forgetting to mark a candidate. You can press ‘Return’ to get the ballot back to make changes, or press ‘Accept’ to submit the ballot as is.
If you tear, deface or wrongly mark the ballot you can return it to Registration for a replacement ballot.
How are the candidates selected?
The Nominating and Election Committees met on August 6, 2019 to confirm candidates for the 2019 election. Interested candidates were either nominated by committee or by a petition process in accordance with BEMC bylaws.
Who am I voting for this year?
Directors serve a 3-year term. The following districts are up for election in 2019:
- District 2, Brunswick County
- Deborah Ahlers, nominated by petition process
- Merritt 'Buz' Ketcham, nominated by petition process
- District 5, Brunswick County
- JoAnn Simmons, incumbent, nominated by committee
- Thomas W. Mintz, nominated by petition process
- District 10, Columbus County
- Frederick Tedder, nominated by committee, *non-contested
- At-Large, Brunswick County
- John D. Ward, nominated by committee, *non-contested
*In non-contested districts (District 10 and At-Large Brunswick County), the registration of a member at the annual meeting shall constitute an affirmative vote in favor of the person(s) identified in the Nominating Committee report unless a negative vote is submitted in writing to BEMC headquarters at least seven days prior to the annual meeting.
Learn more about each candidate below.
Click here to download a printable copy of this information.
Deborah Ahlers has served as Mayor of the Town of Caswell Beach for the past 4 years and as a Town Commissioner for 12 years. She also serves on the board of Matthew’s Ministry, a non-profit organization that provides food to more than 500 school children in Brunswick County. Deborah owned Moore & Ahlers, Inc., a corporation that exported American manufactured pet care products to Russia, for 15 years. Deborah graduated high school in Washingtonville, New York and earned her bachelor of arts degree at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She and her husband Bob have two children, five grandchildren and Lyda Rose, a rambunctious 1-year-old Labrador Retriever.
Deborah Ahlers was nominated by the petition process.
Merritt 'Buz' Ketcham
Merritt ‘Buz’ Ketcham
Merritt ‘Buz’ Ketcham, PE, is a North Carolina licensed electrical engineer with 40 years of experience in the utility industry. He served as an elected county utility commissioner for the Cowlitz Public Utility District in Southwest Washington for 12 years. He retired from his career in high voltage electrical utility consulting in 2015. Today he lives with his wife, Wanda, near Supply, NC. He builds beds for displaced children locally, is a 34-year member of Rotary, and in his spare time he enjoys organizing fundraisers for local children’s charities.
Merritt Ketcham was nominated by the petition process.
Thomas W. Mintz
Thomas W. Mintz
Thomas “Tommy” Mintz grew up on a farm in Ash in Brunswick County. After graduating high school, he served in the United States Navy. He owned and operated a shrimp boat in Florida for 12 years before returning to Brunswick County to build a swine farm that he managed for 26 years. He and his wife Daphne have three children, and in his spare time he enjoys camping, snow skiing and hunting.
Thomas Mintz was nominated by the petition process.
JoAnn Simmons has served on the BEMC board since 1992. She has participated in several committees and been very involved with Bylaws and Director policies for the Cooperative. Prior to retirement, JoAnn was a self-employed businesswoman in Shallotte. She lives in Ash and has four sons, one daughter and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is an avid historian, antique collector and enjoys canning.
JoAnn Simmons is the incumbent for district 5. She was nominated by Committee.
District 10, non-contested
Fred Tedder was elected to the BEMC Board of Directors in 1980 and has served in various offices, committee assignments related to Board activities, and is currently President of the BEMC Board. He has served as a member of the Board of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives (NCEAC) including terms as Secretary, Vice President, and President, and as a member of the Board of Tarheel Electric Membership Association (TEMA) and is currently a member of the Board of North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC).
He earned a BS in Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1970 and a MA in Public Administration/Management from Webster University in 1984 and is a licensed General Contractor. Fred retired from CBHF Engineers in Wilmington in 2018 and resides in the Hallsboro Community of Columbus County where he enjoys his farm, fish ponds, woodworking , reading and many other activities.
Frederick Tedder was nominated by committee. His is a non-contested district.
John D. Ward
John D. Ward
At-Large Brunswick County, non-contested
Dr. John Ward grew up in Columbus County and after high school, went on to receive both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNC at Chapel Hill. Before coming to Brunswick County to establish his dental practice, he served three years in the US Army. In addition to serving on BEMC’s board, he serves on the NC Southeast Economic Development Board and the Brunswick Business and Industry Board. He lives with his wife Betty, in Shallotte. They have two children and eight grandchildren.
Dr. John Ward was nominated by committee. His is a non-contested district.