Since 1972, the Annual Meeting of Members of Horry Electric Cooperative has been hosted at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. In the early days, we were able to hold the event in one exhibit hall. As our membership grew and we added activities to our event to encourage members to attend, we expanded our event into a second exhibit hall.
The Convention Center has suited our needs well and space in the facility has never been a problem. The geographic location of the facility, however, has become a bit of a problem.
Our service area is primarily on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The Convention Center is located just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. Surveys of members in 2005 and again in 2008 indicated that traffic, the distance and the potential of traveling after dark were among the reasons members did not attend the Annual Meeting. We have been proactively searching for alternative locations for the past several years, but just couldn’t find a venue available to meet the needs of our members.
New venue for 2013
When Coastal Carolina University began talking about plans for a new Student Recreation and Convocation Center, we began talking to them about the possibility of hosting our Annual Meeting of Members. After careful consideration by our Board of Trustees and the leadership at Coastal Carolina University, the decision was made to move our event from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to the Student Recreation and Convocation Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.
Moving the location of the Annual Meeting of Members is a huge undertaking, and we have been working on plans since the decision was made. We have one planning team focusing attention on parking, shuttle service and traffic logistics and another working on ‘people traffic’ for the registration and voting area, as well as the meeting space. As decisions are made and plans are put in place, we’ll be keeping members informed through all of our communications outlets, including South Carolina Living magazine. By the time Tuesday, May 14, 2013, rolls around, members should be well informed about what to expect, how to get there and where to go once you get on campus.
We’re excited about this change and are confident this will be a positive move in the long-term. There is no doubt it is going to take a lot of work and coördination on our part and some patience on the part of our members for it to be a successful event. It won’t be our first time planning an Annual Meeting, but it will be the first time at a new site. A few bumps along the road can be expected, but we hope to minimize that with a great deal of planning and a lot of communication, well in advance.