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Businessman joins electric co-op trustees in Artesia; Vice president of welding firm joins Central Valley Electric Cooperative

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A business executive said he looks forward to making a positive difference for a major Artesia business concern as the newest member of its board of trustees.

Rusty Gwynne has been named as the District 1 trustee for the Central Valley Electric Cooperative Inc., which has about 4,908 members, 15,594 meters and $191 million in assets.
Gwynne joins six other members in providing oversight of the 80-year-old cooperative and replaces Jack Case, who announced in June that he was stepping down from the board after 38 years.
Gwynne, an owner and vice president of Patterson Welding Works Inc. of Artesia, said that he will serve until 2019 because he is assuming Case’s unexpired three-year term. He said he intends at this time to run for the seat in two years.
“I have run a business in Artesia for many years,” he said to explain his interest on serving on the board, “and I was born and raised in the area. CVEC has always been a part of that.”
Gwynne has attended the June board meeting and is in training this week in Colorado along with board members of other electrical cooperatives. The next meeting of the local group is July 26.

“There’s a lot to learn about the financials and other things,” he said. “It is a lot different than running a business, given that it is a nonprofit.”
Gwynne said that it is still too early for him to know what the board’s priorities are and he expects to learn much more from existing trustees during future meetings.
Gwynne lives in the Artesia area with his wife, Nita. They have three children, including one who will soon start college. Gwynne said that Patterson Welding started as an oil and gas industry services firm but has expanded to work with other businesses, including dairies and feedlots.
Former trustee Case, a retired oil and gas industry leader and former Chicago Cubs minor league baseball player, first joined the CVEC board in May 1977, according to a CVEC newsletter. He represented District 2, the Loco Hills area. After 10 years, he moved west of Artesia and was reappointed to the board as District 1 representative in October 1988 following the death of trustee B.C. Aaron. Case, an Army and World War II veteran, also served as board president from 1998 to 2004.
Formed in 1937, Central Valley Electrical Cooperative serves rural areas of Eddy and Chaves counties, as well as portions of Lea and Otero counties with its 4,008 miles of distribution lines. Its major suppliers of power are Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and Southwest Public Service Co., a subsidiary of Xcel Energy.
Senior writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.