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OEC People


Jack Ferrell probably knows more about the


Jack Ferrell, the face of OEC


by Tory Tedder


history of Oklahoma Electric Cooperative than almost anyone still working at the co-op. He began his career as a drafter in the engineering department August 1968, when OEC's headquarters was still at 101 E. Gray St., in Norman. After just seven years–and still in his 20s–he took on the role of Member Services department head; it's the role he plays today. 


history. He can tell you story after story about OEC– its democratic foundation, its Seven Principles, how it fought on behalf of rural Oklahomans in the courts  owned interests so successfully that much of our "rural" territory isn't rural anymore–and he tells them with pride. "We used to give away water heaters to members


Above, Jack Ferrell,


December 2011; Right, Ferrell in a December 1973 OEC News clipping.


 stores saw a market here and came in," remembers Ferrell. "It was the same for the Internet. No one wanted to provide Internet service to rural folks until a co-op program proved it was worth it." It is in this way, more than any other department


 principle:


Concern for Community. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.


Ferrell has represented OEC in the community


for so long he is the de facto face of the co-op. He has been active on numerous boards and foundations including a stint as a United Way of Norman campaign chairman in the late 1970s, a cause OEC continues to support annually through an employee fundraising drive and charitable giving. "Co-ops have always been involved in quality of


life issues," he says. "The co-op Operation Round Up program is a perfect example. To be able, through the generosity of members, take some small individual dollars and do such great good–[ORU is] almost at the $3 million mark. It's about service."


12


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