• apogee
  • apogee
  • apogee
  • empty

09-Mar-2021BARC Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies

BARC ranked No. 7 in the Most Innovative Company North America category 

Millboro, VA -- BARC Electric Cooperative has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021. 

The list honors businesses that have not only found a way to be resilient in the past year, but also turned those challenges into impact-making processes. These companies did more than survive, they thrived—making an impact on their industries and culture as a whole. This year’s MIC list features 463 businesses from 29 countries.

 “To even be recognized on the national stage, let alone rank seventh, is an extraordinary honor for our cooperative,” said BARC CEO Mike Keyser. “Innovation is truly in our DNA at BARC. For Fast Company to see that and consider us worthy of this distinguished list validates the determination of all our staff who are constantly striving to improve the quality of life in our community.” 

BARC’s naming to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies was based on its accomplishments from the past 18 months. In 2020, BARC launched SolarizeBARC, a comprehensive set of affordable solar energy solutions for its customers, including rooftop solar, community solar, and utility scale solar, as well as EV charging and battery storage solutions. Through this program, BARC's electric consumers have the flexibility to have all or a part of their energy mix come from renewable sources, with onsite solutions, subscription to a central solar garden maintained by the cooperative, or in the form of renewable energy credits. SolarizeBARC is the cornerstone of BARC's Sustainability Plan, also adopted in 2020, which is the first and only voluntary carbon-neutral public commitment of any utility in the Commonwealth of Virginia. By 2035, BARC has committed to 100% carbon-neutral energy sales. 

In 2020, BARC continued its commitment to provide world-class broadband service through expansion of its award-winning fiber-to-the-home project, bringing high-speed Internet, telephone and TV services to the Shenandoah Valley and Appalachia region of Virginia. To date, BARC has brought broadband over its all-fiber network to more than 2,500 previously unserved homes and businesses in the region, including all 13 public schools in Rockbridge County, the City of Lexington and City of Buena Vista. BARC is building 500 miles of fiber in 2021 and bridging the digital divide by connecting thousands of consumers per year as its network expands. 

BARC was a pioneer in the rural broadband movement. BARC's CEO was part of a very small group of leaders advocating for electric cooperative access to FCC funding. BARC is showing others in the industry that a business case for high-speed Internet services exists in rural areas, and that rural consumers deserve access to the same broadband speeds as urban areas. 

Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out the most groundbreaking businesses across the globe and industries, and considered the impact of each company on both industry and the larger culture. 

The World’s Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy. 

“In a year of unprecedented challenges, the companies on this list exhibit fearlessness, ingenuity, and creativity in the face of crisis,” said Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky, who oversaw the issue with Senior Editor Amy Farley. 

To coincide with the issue launch, Fast Company will host its first-ever Most Innovative Companies Summit on March 9 and 10. This virtual, multiday summit will celebrate the Most Innovative Companies in business, provide an early look at major business trends, and offer the inspiration and practical insights on what it takes to innovate in 2021. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March/April 2021) is available online, as well as in app form via iTunes and on newsstands beginning March 16, 2021. The hashtag is #FCMostInnovative. 

About BARC 

BARC Electric Cooperative is a customer-owned electric cooperative serving 13,000 residents, farms and businesses across five counties in Virginia. To continue to serve and meet the needs of its members, BARC constructed the first community solar garden in the Commonwealth and provides high-speed Internet, telephone and television service through BARC Connects, its wholly-owned fiber-to-the-home subsidiary. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more about all the exciting things happening at BARC, visit www.barcelectric.com and www.barcconnects.net. 


Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at www.fastcompany.com.