Dave Cooke, CEO and Founder, grew up in Lovingston, Virginia, the son of the manager of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. From a very early age, Dave started learning the ins-&-outs of electric utility inventory management, product usage and field application. After ten years of service in the United States Marine Corps (6 active, 4 reserve) flying jet airplanes, with a tour in Vietnam and the final rank of Major, Dave took his lifelong passion for utility service and an engineer’s mind to Wake Forest, NC. In 1978 he and his wife, Mary, commonly known as ‘Pinky’, opened the Utility Service Agency, Inc. in two small rooms on South White Street. In 1982 they moved the office to a historic building at 501 North Main Street known as the Old Medlin Store, and in 2014 moved across the road to the Gulley-Mackie house which has much more space.
While raising three children (Jim, John and Sydney), the couple assembled a team of top-notch salesmen with over 50 years of experience at what were then Carolina Power and Light and Duke Energy separately. Dave was the primary outside salesman and Pinky, with the help of friend Linda Nelson, acted as account rep, finance manager and office manager. They took on manufacturers and began representing products to distributors, end users, co-ops, municipalities and investor-owned utilities.