Bill Fleming awarded Order of the Palmetto
William L. “Bill” Fleming, Sr., was presented The Order of the Palmetto by Ambassador David H. Wilkins on behalf of Governor Nikki Haley at a luncheon of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina’s Winter Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenville, S.C.
“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award and I thank Governor Haley and her entire staff for this recognition,” Fleming said. “I am proud of the opportunities that the cooperatives have provided for the people and the communities in South Carolina, and I look forward to seeing the continued growth and success for many years to come.”
The Order of the Palmetto is the state’s highest civilian honor awarded to citizens of South Carolina for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance. The Order of the Palmetto is a once in a lifetime achievement.
Fleming began working in the electric industry in 1970 with Carolina Power and Light Company. In October of 1971, Bill began working with Pee Dee Electric Cooperative in Darlington, S.C., and served there for 24 years as Vice President of Office and Customer Service and Government Relations.
In January of 1996, Bill became President and CEO of Marlboro Electric Cooperative in Bennettsville, S.C. until his retirement on August 1, 2014. During his tenure at Marlboro Electric, revenues for the cooperative more than tripled, and he played a crucial role in bringing over 1,800 jobs and $636,185,000 in capital investment to Marlboro and Dillon counties.
Also during his time as President and CEO, Bill was instrumental in the implementation of the Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership Board, where he served as chairman from 1997-1999 and 2003-2005. He also served as a member of the Dillon County Economic Development Public-Private Partnership, the Carolinas I-95 Mega Site Board, the Palmetto Economic Development Corporation Board, the Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply Board, the Central Electric Power Cooperative Executive Board, and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina Board, where he was the secretary/treasurer in 2013-2014. Bill was instrumental in the development of Marlboro Development Team, a subsidiary of Marlboro Electric which has as its main goal to provide economic growth for South Carolina, especially in the Marlboro and Dillon County areas.
In his community, Bill served as a member of the Darlington County School District Board of Education for 10 years, as chairman for many years, and played a vital role in founding the Mayo Magnet School for Science and Math. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for First Citizens Bank of Darlington, Darlington County Chamber of Commerce, Marlboro County Chamber of Commerce, and the Kiwanis Club of Darlington, Rotary Club of Bennettsville, and the Darlington County Airport Commission where he now serves as Chairman. In 2000, Bill was also named the South Carolina Ambassador for Economic Development by Governor Jim Hodges.
Bill has been active in churches in Darlington and Bennettsville as a Sunday school teacher, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon and Elder. He is currently a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Darlington. Bill and his wife, Jenny, have three children and four grandchildren.