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Editorial: January 2018

NDAREC: Our unity, strength endures


Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager
Josh Kramer


2018 gets off to an ambitious and momentous start for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC). This month, we welcome representatives of your electric cooperatives to our annual meeting. This venue provides an opportunity for valuable collaboration among our association members as we chart a course together for continuing to serve our consumer-members very well.

We are celebrating a milestone—the 75th anniversary of NDAREC. This organization was born at a meeting of the first five rural electric cooperatives in North Dakota, in 1942. Those cooperatives believed unity was a key to their growth, and to the emergence of more electric cooperatives in the state. “Grounded Through The Roots of Cooperation” is the theme of our 75th anniversary celebration, and the theme of our meeting.

The NDAREC record of accomplishment for 2017 mirrors the priorities of those five cooperatives acting together. Now, as in 1942, we seek excellence in the areas of legislation, pursuance of a culture of safety, health and progress for the cooperative workforce, a communications program aimed at cooperative members, and economic development for rural communities. Here are some of our 2017 highlights:

• Regarding legislation, we were effective in our work on both the state and national level. We worked closely with the decision makers to advocate for commonsense regulatory practices, and tax parity.

• Regarding a safe workforce, our NDAREC safety team conducted many training sessions, traveling to electric cooperatives all across the state to meet with employees and line crews. We conducted safety field visits, and equipment testing, while welcoming lineworkers to hotline schooling, and other safety conferences.

• NDAREC coordinated a full annual calendar of electric cooperative governance and business operation training for hundreds of cooperative directors and employees. Twenty-seven professional trainers were engaged to deliver this service to your cooperative directors and employees.

• Provided health care administrative and benefits services to the members of the NDREC Benefit Trust, which insures over 1,100 electric cooperative employee Trust members.

• On the communications front, NDAREC’s North Dakota Living magazine continued to be an effective monthly vehicle – in print and electronic mediums – for our cooperative members.

• For rural community and economic development, NDAREC sustains a professional outreach which features technical business assistance in accessing local, state, regional and federal financing. In 2017, we helped rural grocers and rural day care centers make significant progress.

At this start of 2018, reflecting on achievements of 2017 – and the last 75 years – it is clear NDAREC unity and strength endures, and cooperative members gain from our collective efforts on their behalf.

Happy New Year!

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Josh Kramer, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email