Member care is about how you help your members with their needs and assist them in solving problems.
Melinda Kinney has been taking good care of Eastern Illini members for 17 years and she recently has been promoted to a new position at EIEC taking care of employees as Human Resources/Payroll Assistant.
Her years of experience have taught her a great deal about business and working with people. She strives to troubleshoot problems before they happen and uses her expertise to resolve situations before they escalate. Her extensive knowledge about electric service terminology, billing practices and cooperative policies and procedures provide powerful insights that benefit members.
Melinda has made a career at Eastern Illini because she enjoys the family-like work environment. Everyone knows everyone, and we work together to help members. She wants members to know that being part of a cooperative and being member-owned does make a difference. Every member has a vote and they can vocalize their comments and concerns with the board of directors and vote at annual meetings.
During her career, Melinda has seen the greatest change in technology and how members interact with EIEC. In 2001, she processed paper payments, opened bills and handled checks. When power bills were due each month, member care representatives’ work load transitioned from answering calls to opening envelopes. These days, members communicate with the cooperative in whatever way works best for them – email, online, phone call or face-to-face. Melinda predicts that technology will continue to progress, and members will be interacting with Eastern Illini in new and innovative ways in the future.
One of the more challenging aspects of Melinda’s work as a member care representative had to do with members who struggled to make ends meet. She often suggested they contact external resources that may be able to provide financial assistance. She also offered energy audits from the Eastern Illini energy specialist who provided energy efficiency recommendations.
Melinda lives in Paxton with her husband, Randy. She has two children, Josh (Laura) and Rachel (Chris) and two grandchildren, Marilyn and Lantz. In her spare time, Melinda enjoys spending time with her
grandchildren and traveling. One of her most recent adventures was an unforgettable, high-flying journey on a zip line. She says it was thrilling, but she prefers keeping her feet in the white sands of the beaches in Destin, Florida.
Melinda likes vacations that are relaxing. She recommends a trip to Beaver Island, Michigan via the ferry as it is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy life. Her bucket list includes a trip to Alaska and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Melinda’s next adventure is a weekend trip to Grafton, Illinois to take in the autumn leaves, tour a winery, and spend quality time with her sisters.
uring the holiday season, Melinda can be found baking cinnamon rolls with family and friends. Near Christmas, they all gather at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and start the process of baking 24 dozen cinnamon rolls using a favorite family recipe. It is an all day event that takes all hands on deck.
This family tradition started in 2003 and creates not only 288 cinnamon rolls, but lasting memories, that draws her six siblings closer together. She jokes about the time the cooks got ahead of themselves and delivered a pan of frosted, uncooked cinnamon rolls to a neighbor who was surprised when she bit into the raw dough!
Melinda’s mom, Betty, the family matriarch, always taste tested the first cinnamon roll out of the oven. Betty passed away earlier this fall, so the custom of baking cinnamon rolls this Christmas will be bitter sweet, but in honor of her mother, the tradition will continue on for years to come.