After college, Jason Clemmons, chief executive officer at Clark County REMC, worked as a high school guidance counselor in his hometown of Rushville. He also facilitated a young mothers’ group and worked with at-risk youth through the Mayor’s Youth Council at the Boys and Girls Club. He had a full plate.
These were 80-hour weeks, he said, giving him little time to spend with his wife and their young family. But it was important work – work to make the lives of others better. He was also a community volunteer for various boards and organizations.
Today, Clemmons is starting his second year as the CEO of Clark County REMC in Sellersburg. While leading an electric utility may seem a long way from his passionate community roots, for Clemmons it was part of a natural progression of growth. And it’s a step along the electric cooperative values he embraced when he took his first cooperative job in 2004.
“As I look back, each and every thing I did was not just about the job. It was about impacting people’s lives, making their life just a little bit better every day. Becoming a CEO gave me the ability to really work with the employees and work with the departments and just really try to affect their lives in any way we could.”
Clemmons’ first cooperative job was manager of member services at his local electric cooperative, RushShelby Energy in Manilla, Indiana. After seven years working for the school system, he loved what he was doing and wasn’t interested in applying. But Rushville’s then-mayor encouraged him to apply. He knew the electric cooperative was a great place to work and would provide job stability for Clemmons, still working year-to-year on a grant.
Clemmons did apply, and he got the job. It was life-altering, providing job security and more typical work hours. But, in many ways, he found the co-op values of commitment to the community and cooperation allowed him to continue his passion for community service.
At the cooperative, he continued his close ties to community organizations. He continued working with young people through the statewide electric cooperative network that included youth programs. Plus, he gained new experiences and leadership skills through educational opportunities the cooperative provided.
“What kept me there was just the cooperative spirit – the cooperative way of life. That’s something I just put a huge amount of value to, and each day I try to live those values,” he said.
As the years passed, Clemmons took on new responsibilities and roles. He rose to vice president of marketing/member services in 2015. When the CEO at Clark County REMC retired at the end of 2020, Clemmons was awarded the position.
“For me, the cooperative way of life is just part of everyday life,” he said. “Electric co-ops are here to make people’s lives better. We’re here to be a part of our communities and make our communities better.”