At just 57, Bill Conine is ready to retire — again.
The former CEO of Petit Jean Electric Cooperative in Clinton announced his retirement from that job last year.
But he was pulled back in February to be interim president and CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. after Duane Highley departed for a job in Colorado.
Conine told Whispers last week that this time he expects retirement to take.
“There’s a national search underway and I fully expect the board to announce a new CEO by November. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my kids and grandkids.
“I still love dirt-track racing,” he said, describing a decades-long stock car hobby, “but I’ve kind of turned the driving over to my son.”
He’ll have plenty of other activities. “Boating, skiing, anything having to do with a lake,” he said. “I play a little bluegrass music on guitar, and I just bought an upright bass that I’m trying to figure out.”
He said stepping in for Highley, now CEO of Tri-State Generation & Transmission of Westminster, Colorado, was a chance for him to see the electric co-op business more intimately from the wholesale side. AECC provides power to the state’s 17 distribution cooperatives.
Rob Roedel, the AECC communications chief who was in on the conversation, recalled that Conine had caused a stir by arriving in his race car for Roedel’s son’s fifth birthday party. “You should have seen those 5-year-olds go nuts,” Roedel said.
“That was a long time ago,” Conine replied. “Rob’s son is now like a sophomore in college.”
Roedel also reminded Conine of the license he had on the racer.
“Electric Bill,” Roedel said with a laugh. “I asked him what circuit he ran on.”