Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Female CEO

One of my tour guides for my incredibly quick tour of Columbus, MS was Allegra Brigham, CEO of the 4-County Electric Power Association. Even though it’s called 4-County, the coop touches 7 counties and serves 43,700 members. With all of the things that I’ve written about Columbus in the past days, it wasn’t surprising to learn that they’ve added over 1,000 new members in the past year.

4-County is the fourth largest electrical coop in MS and one of the top 50 in the country. Allegra has been CEO for the past 4 ½ years. She was the first female CEO in MS and one of only 25 out of the 800 electrical coops in the country.

She told me of how she got elected CEO, “I started out as a school teacher after getting a master’s degree in history and journalism from the Mississippi University for Women here in Columbus. I went to work for 4-County but was passed over when our long-term CEO retired, but got the job when his replacement didn’t last long and the board did a nationwide search.”

Allegra impressed me with her grasp of economic development and the key role that the electric power provider plays in the ED game.

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