One of the many lessons learned over the past year is that change is inevitable. Whether we are prepared for change or not, it often comes our way. For the last few weeks and months, your cooperative has been working through leadership changes within your Board of Directors, both expected and unexpected.
In January, one of Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s long-time directors, Henry Driessen Jr. of Beaufort County, announced his resignation from the Palmetto Electric Cooperative Board of Directors. Driessen, a native of Hilton Head Island, served with dedication and distinction on Palmetto Electric’s Board of Directors for more than 29 years. He was a true supporter of the cooperative’s leadership, staff and employees throughout his tenure. His contributions to the cooperative and his humble spirit will be sorely missed.
As preparations were being made to fill Driessen’s unexpired term, we were saddened by the passing of David A. Solaro, another director from Beaufort County. In the days leading up to the 2021 Annual Meeting, Solaro, from Beaufort County, passed away on April 28. Solaro was a dedicated director who served for more than nine years. He lived a life of public service and left his mark on the communities he served. Before relocating to South Carolina, Solaro called South Lake Tahoe, California home. There, he represented his community for 36 years, first as a police officer, then police chief, director of public safety and El Dorado County supervisor. Solaro’s lifetime of public service made him a valued director who truly understood the mission of the cooperative. He will be sorely missed, but his example will always be remembered.
Driessen and Solaro represented Palmetto Electric Cooperative well, with 38 years of combined service between them. They were true examples of the spirit of cooperation and how, by working together, we can make a difference in the lives of our members and communities. Following Driessen’s resignation, the Nominating Committee nominated David L. White, of Hilton Head Island, to be placed on the ballot to fill Driessen’s vacant seat. White then ran unopposed at the 2021 Annual Meeting, where he was elected to serve.
White, a native of Hilton Head Island, spent more than 30 years of his career as an educator in the northeast United States and also owned and operated several successful businesses in retail, real estate and management consulting. After retirement, White relocated to Hilton Head Island where he has been active locally as a member of the Historic St. James Baptist Church, Town of Hilton Head Island Planning Commission and countless other civic and cultural organizations.
White holds a doctorate in educational administration from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in education from Trenton State University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Savannah State University. In 2009, he was elected to serve as a member of the Palmetto Electric Trust Board of Directors. He has served faithfully in that position for the past 12 years. We are confident in the knowledge, experience and passion for our community that White brings to the Board of Directors, and we look forward to serving alongside him.
When change presents itself in our lives, our success is often determined by how we respond. As we move forward, we must not only reflect on the legacies left by Henry Driessen and David Solaro, but also strive to follow the example they have set. We are thankful for each of these men and their commitment to Palmetto Electric Cooperative.