UDWI REMC welcomes new board member and gives year-end review and a look ahead at 2024 annual meeting

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (April 26, 2024) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC held its 88th annual meeting Wednesday at the cooperative’s headquarters and renewed its slate of officers for its Board of Directors.

One new director, Terry McDaniel, replaces incumbent Dax Collins for District 7 and joins the eight-member board, which includes Edward Cullison (President), Melinda Hendrix (Vice President), David Kirkling, Todd Carpenter, Shawn Dugan as well as Michael Williams, District 5 (Treasurer) and Sophie Haywood, District 8 (Secretary), who were both re-elected for their third terms.

“I am thrilled to be elected and excited to serve the people of my area along with all of the members of UDWI. I look forward to learning more about the most important issues facing the cooperative and contributing to future success,” said McDaniel. “Our annual meeting had so much great information and positive updates. I was very happy to see that improvements in tree-trimming and technology are lowering the number of outages, and that despite the conditions that crews work in while they are restoring power, they have an outstanding safety record.” 

Although two of this year’s seats were uncontested, the cooperative bylaws require candidates receive a mandated number of votes from the membership in order to validate the election. UDWI members had the opportunity to cast their votes online or by mail before the annual meeting or in person during the event, which again produced strong voter participation with just under 1,800 votes cast, accounting for more than 10 percent of UDWI members.

CEO Doug Childs’ annual meeting presentation focused on ‘Measuring the Past, Building the Future’ and covered a variety of topics including safety and training, reliability and member service, fiber expansion, and community support.

UDWI employees completed over 2,000 hours of safety and job skills training in the past year and conducted eight public electrical safety training events. The cooperative also announced a commitment to 100 percent participation in safety training for employees in the coming year along with eight additional safety training events, with a focus on first responders.

“We are committed to working with our first responders and offering training to keep them safe,” said Childs. Our crews often work alongside police, fire and ambulance crews during an emergency, but we want to ensure that when we aren’t on site that they have the knowledge to protect them and the public.”

This past year UDWI continued its work to manage vegetation along powerlines, with 426 miles of powerline trimmed and cleared. Crews also replaced more than 800 poles and built 13 miles of new power lines to replace sections of aging and outdated lines. These improvements resulted in less outages and shorter durations for outages than in previous years.

An expanded and enhanced outage notification system was also implemented in 2023. The system is quicker and more responsive with new texting options and additional information on the online outage map such as the status of crews, duration of outage, and when possible, the cause of the outage. Additionally, a new handbook is now available at the cooperative and online that provides information for all of the services, payment options and benefits for UDWI members.

Childs also reported on the cooperative’s continued collaboration with leaders at WestGate@Crane Technology Park in anticipation of micro-electronics companies coming to the area. UDWI is planning for increased power supply needs as well as special economic rates for new commercial customers. Additionally, UDWI is adding partnerships to expand fiber options throughout the entire service territory. With agreements already underway with Smithville and SCI, UDWI announced earlier this month that it will partner with Mainstream Fiber Networks to implement the largest-to-date fiber expansion effort for the area for over the next five years.

Top priorities for the cooperative in 2024 will focus on the replacement of aging infrastructure, vegetation management and improving reliability. The cooperative plans to replace 35 miles of line in 2024, and expand the use of smart grid technology, which helps prevent outages by identifying potential problems in real time and digitally relaying information to the UDWI operations team.

“Our line crews, employees and board continue to put in the hard work and it is a privilege to get to work with this group of skilled, dedicated people. I want to thank each of them for their commitment to our members,” said Childs. “Our linemen worked more than 7,000 hours of overtime last year, often in the worst conditions to restore power, and it does not go unnoticed. We have an aggressive plan in 2024 for installing new lines, making repairs, and overall improving our system and we will reach our goals with this team.”

Childs also shared the co-op’s commitment to its community. In 2023, UDWI’s Community Fund awarded over $61,000 across 35 charitable organizations throughout the cooperative’s service territory. The group prioritizes funding charities that feed the hungry, veterans’ organizations, libraries, churches and schools in UDWI’s 11 counties. In addition, UDWI was able to issue more than 10,000 capital credit checks, returning over $835,000 to its members. 

Childs’ complete presentation is available on the UDWI website. The Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of the new term on Monday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

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