Rob Ardis - President and CEO
President and CEO
As a proud native of this area, he oversees planning, organizing and directing the day-to-day operations of the cooperative. Santee Electric provides power to nearly 45,000 accounts in Clarendon, Florence, Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties.
Ardis joined Santee Electric in August 2015 as the President and Chief Executive Officer bringing 14 years of experience in engineering, operations, management and leadership positions from neighboring Pee Dee Electric Cooperative.
Ardis is a licensed professional engineer and holds a bachelor's degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Francis Marion University and a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He also has a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Francis Marion. He is a member of both the South Carolina and National Societies of Professional Engineers.
He has served as chapter president for the SC Society of Professional Engineers and has also served as a board member for the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as chairman of the Industrial Engineering Advisory Board for FMU. Rob and his wife Shannon have a son (Cade) and a daughter (Ava).
Ryan Cooper - Vice President and CFO
Vice President and CFO
Ryan Cooper serves as the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Santee Electric Cooperative, Inc. serving 45,000 accounts across Clarendon, Florence, Georgetown, and Williamsburg Counties.
A native of Cordesville, S.C., Cooper joined Santee Electric in 2013 as a Project Engineer after earning his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Shortly thereafter he moved to the position of Manager of System Engineering. During this time, he was responsible for the planning and construction of the cooperative’s substations and distribution system. Cooper’s Engineering and Operation experience brings additional value in his new role as CFO in the long-range financial forecasting, budgeting, and load forecasting processes.
Along with his diverse experience, Cooper also brings a very diverse educational background to the Cooperative. In addition to Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Citadel, he also holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Auburn University, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Mississippi. Cooper is also a licensed professional engineer in the state of South Carolina.
Ryan and his wife Brittany reside in Kingstree with their two daughters, Emma and Ava.
Rob Higbe - VP of Engineering
Vice President of Engineering
Robert Higbe serves as the Vice President of Engineering for Santee Electric Cooperative Inc. and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of South Carolina.
As the VP of Engineering he is responsible for overseeing the planning and construction of the cooperative's substations and distribution system. This includes long range plans, work plans, load forecasts and operation and maintenance studies to meet Rural Utilities Services (RUS) compliance. He is also responsible for warehousing, purchasing, information systems and technology integration at the cooperative.
Higbe worked as a part time employee in the engineering department from 1990 to 1995 while he attended college. He became a full time employee in 1995 after graduating from Clemson University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science from Newberry College.
Higbe was raised near Andrews, SC and still lives in that area with his wife, Dawn, daughter, and two sons.
Adam Johnson - VP of Operations
Vice President of Operations
Adam Johnson serves as the Vice President of Operations for Santee Electric Cooperative Inc.
As the VP of Operations he is responsible for overseeing the planning and construction of the cooperative's substations and distribution system.
Johnson worked as an electrician at Sampit Lumber in Georgetown, S.C. for five years while attending college. After graduating from The Citadel, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, he went to work for Federal Mogul in Orangeburg S.C. for three years. He came to Santee Electric in 2006. He brings diversified experience within the electric industry.
Johnson was raised in Georgetown, S.C. and currently lives in Summerton S.C. with his wife, Melissa, and two sons.
Jay Kirby - VP of Public Affairs
Vice President of Public Affairs
James W. Kirby Jr. (Jay) serves as Vice President of Public Affairs for Santee Electric Cooperative, Inc., headquartered in Kingstree, South Carolina.
As the VP of Public Affairs he is responsible for overseeing the relationship between the Cooperative, politicians and the community. This includes the areas of marketing, community relations, economic development and government relations.
Jay earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina - Coastal. He began his career at Santee Electric in the IT department. Later he became a Marketing Specialist and then the Manager of Marketing. After more than 32 years of service to the co-op, Jay has worked in almost every aspect of the department he oversees.
A native of South Carolina, Jay has always lived in Kingstree. He and his wife Catherine have two sons, Tripp and Tyler, and one daughter, Taylor.
Ardweena Bluefort - VP of Member Services
Vice President of Member Services
Ardweena Bluefort serves as the Vice President of Member Services for Santee Electric Cooperative Inc.
As the VP of Members Services, she is responsible for overseeing the general operation of the Member Service department. This includes the management of employees in areas of billing, member service, cashier, and member support who are responsible for providing front line service to our member-owners. This may include supporting and overseeing, problem solving, developing and implementing plans, and meeting goals. Santee Electric’s district office is in Kingstree, but there are branch offices in Georgetown, Lake City, Hemingway and Manning.
Bluefort worked at Santee Electric as a college student in 2001 as a summer worker. Working during the summer and winter breaks in various positions including operations, engineering, accounting and serving as administrative assistant to the CEO when needed. She became a full time employee in 2006 as a Distribution Engineer and worked her way up to Information Systems Analyst – Convergence Systems. Bluefort holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology from South Carolina State University. She also has a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA).
Bluefort is a native of Georgetown County and resides in Nesmith with her husband O’Neal and their son Preston.