Don McQuitty

NW Electric Power, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Macon Electric - Inducted in 2015

Don McQuitty has been called a legend in the rural cooperative movement. He had an unprecedented career, serving rural electric cooperatives at all levels. It was natural for Don to choose a career with cooperatives. He was born into a family well known in the trenches of the effort to bring electricity to rural areas. His uncle, Roy McQuitty, was lineman, foreman and operations manager for Macon Electric. Don’s father also served as a lineman for Macon Electric.   


Don started as a lineman for Macon Electric Cooperative, building and maintaining power lines for seven years. He then moved to Associated Electric Cooperative where he mined coal used to generate electricity. Next he was elected as a state representative in 1984, where he proved to be one of the strongest supporters of electric cooperatives. So strong was his support that he was offered a position as the legislative director for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in 1988. Don proved extremely effective in this role, using his many contacts and diplomacy skills to pass legislation that previously stalled in one or both chambers. During his first year as legislative director, he worked to pass House Bill 813, which allowed utilities to sign territorial agreements for the first time – to bring the legislative relief sought to avoid costly duplication of lines. Starting with a test between Boone Electric and the City of Columbia, dozens of these agreements have been signed, saving millions of dollars for Missouri citizens and protecting the safety of those working on the lines.


Don’s next role was as CEO of NW Electric Power Cooperative, one of six regional transmission cooperatives in Missouri. Here he proved to be a champion of employees not just at NW but also at the Association. Don served in his CEO role from 1991 until his retirement in 2014. During this time, Don served on the board at Associated Electric Cooperative and was largely responsible for bringing wind energy into the Associated grid. Rounding out Don’s service, he represented Missouri on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board. He led the search committee that selected Missouri’s Jo Ann Emerson as CEO of NRECA, helping to ensure the future vision for electric cooperatives nationwide.


Don’s community service outside the cooperative world could also fill volumes. He served as mayor pro tem in Macon while simultaneously serving as chair of the police and fire departments. He helped organize the Macon County Economic Development Corporation into one of the state’s most effective job-creation agencies. In October 2014, he was appointed to the State Fair Commission.


Don never forgot his humble roots and remains dedicated to improving the quality of life for rural people.


leadership through service and diplomacy; problem solver; visionary; a legend in his own time; champion of the cooperative way