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DeFuniak Springs (July 7, 2022) – Southland Utility Services Chief Operating Officer Mike Morris retired on June 30 after nearly 17 years of service.

Morris led Southland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CHELCO, with safety as the top priority at all times. He says he is proud of the safety culture that CHELCO and Southland have built over the years.

“At Southland, we went six years with no lost-time accidents,” Morris said. “We never wanted anyone to be injured, and we always wanted everyone to go home safe at the end of the day.”

Morris joined Southland in October 2005, when it was still known as CHELCO Services, Inc. (CSI). In his time with Southland, he managed a team of hardworking employees dedicated to performing utility construction work for CHELCO, as well as commercial businesses, residential developers and individual homeowners throughout Northwest Florida.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Mike for nine years,” CHELCO CEO Steve Rhodes said. “During that time, I’ve been impressed with his dedication to Southland as well as CHELCO. As the COO of Southland, he built an employee and management team second to none in the industry. Mike is a true leader, and I’m fortunate to have had him on my team over the years. I will miss his sound decision-making skills, wisdom and sense of humor on my team. That said, he has earned his retirement, and I wish all the best for Mike and his wife, Pat, as they journey into this next chapter of their lives.”

Southland Board President Brady Bearden commended Morris on his thorough leadership and transparency with CHELCO and the Southland Board.

“I’m excited for Mike in his retirement planning,” Bearden said. “Mike has been with Southland for nearly 17 years and is responsible for what the company is today. He has seen and led the organization through major changes over the years. We wish Mike all the best in his retirement. He and his leadership and professionalism will be missed.”

CHELCO is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving more than 60,000 accounts in Walton, Okaloosa, Holmes and Santa Rosa counties.