Editorial: August 2017
Reflections at one-year milepost
It’s been about a year since I took this executive leadership position with the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC).
When I began, I knew I was fortunate to be joining a great group of people committed to their work. One year with them has certainly fortified this assumption. Every day in our electric cooperative family, I witness powerful drive and the embodiment of service for the benefit of cooperative members.
In early years, it was farms and ranches that experienced the life-changing miracle of electricity through cooperation. Today, the commitment of reliable, affordable cooperative power is extended to city neighborhoods, shopping centers, industrial parks, hospitals and other businesses. The cooperative way of doing business, focusing on people committed to serving one another, is unique and indispensable to prosperity for all parts of our state.
During my first year, I have had the opportunity to visit and learn from hundreds of cooperative members, employees, directors and other leaders in our industry. My goal is always to learn something from every interaction. I have learned a great deal, and have become even more committed to our cooperative community.
Over the course of my many visits, there have been some consistent themes I’ve heard:
*The commitment among cooperatives to continually improve and evolve, to meet the future needs of our members, embracing new technologies and identifying how electric cooperatives can better assist you, the member.
*The desire to improve our relationships with consumer-members, engaging you, and achieving your active participation and greater understanding of your electric cooperative.
*Our commitment to continue providing the affordable and reliable electric service you receive.
*And, our commitment to improving the quality of life for the people in the communities and places where all of us live.
This last theme - concern for community and the members - is embodied by our cooperatives and extends well beyond what is delivered across power lines. It is shown through the support and the human connections our cooperatives have with our members.
Our cooperatives take great pride helping others. For sources of this pride, we need look only to things like: cooperatives assisting another cooperative with power recovery after a severe storm; members assisting those in need through local programs like Operation Round Up; cooperatives providing economic and community development support; and cooperatives sharing the time and talents of their employees through participation in community improvement activities.
As my first year at the helm of NDAREC draws to a close, I’m happy to report I’m sure feeling that cooperative pride. As a member in our electric cooperative family, I hope you feel it, as well.