Co-op Spotlight: Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative

Grob Systems employees standing in front of its North American headquarters in Bluffton
Germany-based Grob Systems, served by Hancock-Wood, Grob makes machines and automation for the automotive, aerospace, medical, and die/mold industries.

Serving more than 11,000 members in portions of 10 counties, Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative is located in the northwestern quadrant of the state, roughly centered around the city of Findlay. Hancock-Wood has a quirk to its service territory, though: Kelleys Island in Lake Erie is served by the cooperative, receiving electricity from two underwater cables that run from the mainland to the island.

Diverse consumer base

Findlay has been named the No. 1 “micropolitan” (a city between 10,000 and 50,000 people) five years in a row by Site Selection magazine for its ability to attract new business and expand existing ones. Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative works to be a partner in driving economic development in Findlay and the surrounding region. Employees establish and maintain strong ties with local and state government officials and cultivate relationships with business partners.

Like most Ohio electric cooperatives, Hancock-Wood serves farms and homes in its rural territory. Over the years, though, it has seen an increase in suburban development and has several notable commercial members. A few of the largest:

  • Keystone Foods, which, among its many accounts, supplies chicken to Tyson and hamburger patties to McDonald’s;
  • Mars Petcare, which makes some of the most recognizable pet-food brands in the country;
  • Grob Systems, a German company whose Bluffton plant is its North American headquarters. Grob makes machines and automation for the automotive, aerospace, medical, and die/mold industries, including for Honda.

Modern home, linked to the past

The cooperative office is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment designed to provide its members with the best possible service. Staff are alerted to outages in seconds, and crews are dispatched to correct the problem. The warehouse is hung with banners reminding employees and visitors of pivotal moments of the cooperative’s history, including the 1967 merger with Lake Erie Electric Cooperative that brought Kelleys Island to the service territory, and the blizzard of 1978, during which every single member of the cooperative experienced an outage and every single one was restored within six days.

Helping communities

Hancock-Wood employees demonstrate the cooperative principle of Concern for Community by volunteering and donating to numerous local charities, such as Habitat for Humanity, schools, churches, and community events. The co-op also has distributed grants and Operation Round Up funds totaling nearly $500,000 in the last decade to individuals and organizations in need.