Va., Md., Del. electric coops association leader retires
Richard Johnstone worked for association for 36 years
Richard G. Johnstone Jr. handed over the reins of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives this week, retiring after 36 years.
Johnstone served as president and CEO of the 76-year-old, Glen-Allen based organization, which represents 15 member-owned electric cooperatives. His replacement, Brian S. Mosier, was announced in January and took over April 1.
Johnstone, 65, also held the position of executive editor at the association’s magazine, Cooperative Living. As its longest-tenured member editor, serving from 1985 to 2005, Johnstone tripled the association publication’s circulation to 600,000. (By comparison, the state’s highest-circulation newspaper, the Sunday edition of The Washington Post, with 355,100 subscribers, according to the Virginia Press Association.)
Johnstone holds a degree in journalism and speech communications from the University of Richmond, where he served as editorial page editor of the student newspaper. He edited the Virginia Bar News for nearly seven years before joining Cooperative Living.
He’s led the association since 1999, and served as president of the National Rural Electric Statewide Editors Association and the National Rural Electric Statewide Managers Association.
In his retirement announcement, the trade association cited Johnstone’s work in growing the Gaff-n-Go Lineworker’s Rodeo into one of the country’s largest regional utility rodeos, creating a scholarship foundation that’s helped more than 800 young people, and opening a regional training facility in Fluvanna County in 2019, which provides continuing education to line workers, board members and other co-op professionals.