Robert J. “Bob” Occhi will complete a 42-year electric cooperative career when he retires in March 2017, as President and CEO of Coast Electric Power Association.
During his distinguished career, Occhi has been a strong advocate for electric cooperatives at the state and national levels. He became a well-recognized champion for electric cooperatives.
Occhi recently completed 11 years of service as Mississippi’s representative on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) board of directors and has served on the statewide association board for 30 years.
Occhi’s long career in rural electrification began in 1973 when he took a job as an engineer at Coast Electric after serving as an oﬃcer in the U.S. Army. In 1986, he was chosen to lead the cooperative as chief executive oﬃcer. Throughout his stellar career, Occhi has supported and fostered a culture of safety, innovation, social responsibility, member best interest, reliability and quality service.
Under Occhi’s leadership, Coast Electric has become one of the most progressive co-ops in the state and in the country. The cooperative boasts some of the nation’s highest member satisfaction and reliability ratings. Those things will certainly be part of the legacy Occhi leaves. In his time as the leader of the company, Occhi was known as being an advocate for employees and members of the co-op.
“People say some coaches are players’ coaches,” Mr. Occhi said. “I hope I have been an employees’ manager. And that our members know we always worked to do the right thing for them.”
The Louisiana State University graduate has been very active throughout his career in civic and community aﬀairs. He has served on several industry and professional boards.
During his service to the NRECA, Occhi was a dedicated advocate for rural economic development and a visionary supporter of emerging technologies that have helped drive growth in communities served by Mississippi’s 26 electric power associations.
He and his wife, Gail, are residents of Gulfport. They have five daughters, one son and 18 grandchildren.