co-op spotlight

Pence family

Popping along

One of Michael Pence’s earliest memories dates to the 1950s, when he traveled to the Indiana State Fair with his parents to sell popcorn. He was only 5 years old at the time — but his daughter, Leslie, got her start in the family’s mobile concessionaire business at an even younger age.

Pence’s Concessions originated in 1902, when Michael’s grandfather, Clarence Pence, started selling popcorn and peanuts from a pushcart at state fairs. Michael’s father, Don Pence, continued the business in home-built trailers that he towed to fairs and festivals. “My dad didn’t get a manufactured trailer until 1957,” recalls Michael. “I still have that trailer, but it doesn’t travel anymore because we use it for making candy.” In the 1980s, Michael decided to make the company’s concession trailers pink and green.

A photo of the outside of the Honda plant in Logan County.

Co-Op Spotlight: Logan County Electric Cooperative

Tucked against the base of Mad River Mountain in Bellefontaine is one of Ohio’s smallest co-ops, Logan County Electric Cooperative (LCEC). What the co-op might lack in size, however, it makes up for in service. General Manager Rick Petty and his staff prioritize connections with their more than 4,600 consumer-members in their mission to provide local, safe, reliable, affordable electricity.

A couple and their dog look at the forest from a cliff.

Co-op Spotlight: Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative

Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative (GMEC) serves 17,091 consumer-members in east-central Ohio. The unglaciated terrain doesn’t lend itself to wide swaths of farmland, but the hills make for fine pasturelands for cattle raising, and poultry barns fit nicely in the valleys. Because it’s situated in the midst of the Utica Shale, the oil and gas industry is a strong economic driver for the region.

The employees of Pioneer pose for a group picture.

Co-Op Spotlight: Pioneer Electric Cooperative

Pioneer Electric Cooperative, based in Piqua, is a celebrity among cooperatives, if there can be such a thing. On Nov. 14, 1935, just six months after President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order creating the Rural Electrification Administration, a crowd of more than 500 farmers, businessmen, and statesmen from around the country gathered in Piqua to watch workers set the first REA utility pole in the nation.