Curtis Nolan, president of the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) Board of Directors, delivered a poignant message as he spoke to high school scholarship winners at the 2023 Annual Meeting in Benson.
“Don’t drop the knife,” he urged the scholars.
The statement drew chuckles from the gymnasium crowded with SSVEC members attending the event. His message was also a clear expression of Nolan’s priorities and his commitment to his community. .
The backstory started when Nolan was 12 years old, fishing with is father. The knife was a family heirloom of sorts, handed down from generation to generation. On that special day, Nolan’s father told the story of the knife and related its personal value as he handed it to his son. .
Unfortunately, Nolan dropped the knife and it quickly sunk to the bottom of the lake. .
Relating that experience to the group of high school seniors delivered an important life-lesson. .
“Don’t forget the past,” he said. “treasure those experiences and appreciate your history.” .
Nolan was speaking to the entire audience with the parable, emphasizing the history of the Cooperative has shaped its present and future. .
He should know. Nolan is now in his 30th year on the board and in addition to his current role as president he has held numerous prominent positions on state and national cooperative boards during his lengthy tenure. .
Nolan’s personal history is deeply tied to his family. Curtis and Julie Nolan, along with Julie’s brother Gary and his wife Jilene Hatch, came to Willcox from Gilbert AZ, in the early 1980s. They partnered with Orland Hatch, Nolan’s father-in-law, forming Hatch Nolan Farms. They started an orchard producing apples, watermelon, and pumpkins. In 1994, Curtis and his wife Julie moved to a home on Fort Grant Road where they operated a retail apple outlet they named “The Apple Barn.” There, the family of nine – parents Curtis and Julie with their seven children – learned the skills of running a business, managing a orchard operation, and working with customers. .
After years of success, the family decided to get out of the business and Curtis entered into a partnership with Mark Fenn building homes. Nolan soon secured his general contractor’s license and eventually started his own business, Nolan Builders, Inc., doing remodeling and building of new homes. .
In addition to his commitments working in church leadership and with the Boys Scouts of America, Nolan has been instrumental in setting the path forward for SSVEC during the past three decades. .
“Serving on the board is a change to give back to the community we part of,” Nolan said in a recent interview. .
Curtis Nolan represents District 2 on the SSVEC board, which includes areas in Willcox, Stewart and Cascabel. .