Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative recently announced that senior vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer Campbell Hawkins will lead SMECO’s newly created Strategy and Innovation Department.

Hawkins has been tasked with evaluating emerging technologies and developing strategic initiatives that promote an innovative approach to customer service.

“The utility industry is changing, principally driven by new technologies and higher customer expectations.” Sonja Cox, SMECO president and CEO, said in a news release. “With innovations such as electric vehicles, solar panels on homes, and increasing battery storage capabilities, SMECO is looking forward to implementing the kinds of products and services that will benefit our members.”

Hawkins will investigate and identify areas of opportunity to improve SMECO’s product offerings and to expand and improve upon SMECO’s technological capabilities and customer-centered services.

“Electric co-ops are innovative by their very nature,” Hawkins said. “Our founders saw a need in their communities and created customer-owned co-ops. They provided their friends and neighbors with the electric service that has become vital to everyday life. I am looking forward to carrying on that tradition by working with the talented team at SMECO, an electric co-op that is taking the lead on progressive and forward-thinking initiatives.”

Hawkins has more than 20 years of utility experience, most recently as senior director of the Innovation and Transformation Office at Xcel Energy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also served as vice president of customer service at Duquesne Light in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and director of customer operations for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.