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REMC CEO Dale Lambert talks about his career on a video shown at the annual meeting. 

Lambert honored at his last REMC annual meeting

ASHEBORO — It was Dale Lambert Night at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. The CEO is retiring after 40 years with the cooperative, 24 years at its helm.


Using the analogy of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post, Lambert told the estimated crowd of 550 that “I didn’t get here by myself.”


He thanked the REMC members, all the employees who have worked with him, the REMC Board of Directors past and present, his family and, “Lastly, I want to honor the Lord.”


Choking back tears, Lambert ended his talk with, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. It has been an honor.”


Lambert’s last day will be this Friday, and he’ll be succeeded by Dennis Mabe, REMC chief operating officer. Mabe said he had worked with Lambert for 30 years.


“It’s my distinct honor to stand before you today and thank Dale for his leadership,” Mabe said. 


The audience was then treated to a video of Lambert’s “positive impact at REMC.”


Lambert was honored with various awards, plaques and proclamations from the REMC employees, NC House District 64 Rep. Dennis Riddell and Cam Mills, Congressional liaison for US Rep. Richard Hudson of District 9.


Lambert said he started working at REMC in 1984 as a lineman. “That’s all I ever wanted to be, a lineman,” he said. But he rose through the ranks over the years before being named CEO.


During his annual report, Lambert said that “even with all the challenges, we’ve been able to keep rates more stable than some of our neighboring electric utilities. But the electric utility industry is in a rising costs environment.”


He said he could see “some dark clouds on the horizon that involve the delivery of power from beyond Randolph EMC’s borders.” Lambert said new regulatory changes by the federal government could “significantly impact the reliability of the electrical grid in the future.”


Specifically, Lambert said, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released “final rules aimed at existing coal and natural gas powered generating plants. They’re also targeting new natural gas plants.”


He said REMC and thousands of other interested parties sent their views on the new rules to the EPA but “were ignored.”


The new regulations are efforts to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel generating plants, Lambert said. He explained that the new EPA regulations will mandate “inadequately demonstrated technology, set unachievable emission limits and impose an unworkable time frame. …


“The bottom line is, these final rules jeopardize affordable and reliable electricity by forcing the premature closure of existing, always available power plants, while also making it harder to permit, site and build critical new plants that will be needed to keep the lights on. …


“In short, these final rules, if implemented, will jeopardize reliability and result in more blackouts, higher costs and greater uncertainty for Randolph EMC members, American families and businesses.”

To address the issue, Lambert encouraged each REMC member to use a card provided to them to join an effort called Voices for Cooperative Power. “Together we can let the EPA and Congress know where we stand on this critical issue. This is not the time to sit on the sideline and be a spectator,” he said. “This is too critical of an issue.

“My last request of you as your CEO is that you become an advocate, come along beside us, as we fight this battle together.”


During the business meeting, the membership elected three directors: Delbert Cranford to represent District 5, Steve Harris in District 8, and Billy Maness in District 9. 


REMC Board of Directors President Tammie Phillips presented a report on events and investments over the past year. Secretary-Treasurer Lee Isley presented a 2023 financial report with over $72 million in revenue and $68 million in expenses.