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Editorial: July 2016

Thanks for the help along the way


After 34 years, I’ve made the decision to retire from my position as executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC). In my role, I’ve also served as editor-in-chief of our magazine, North Dakota Living. Thus, this will be the last editorial I’ll write for this magazine.

I want to thank our readers who’ve read these editorials. I know there are some, as I’ve gotten a fair amount of feedback over these years.

A favorite quote of mine is one I read at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visitor center a few years ago. It reads: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

In this last column, I want to thank so many others who have helped me “go far, together.”

The directors who govern this association are first. The makeup of the NDAREC board would change each year. But no matter the makeup, the boards I have worked for in 29 years as manager have been a solid foundation for all that we do at NDAREC.

My staff colleagues (past and present) deserve huge kudos because they are superstars in their various professions. My philosophy has always been to call them colleagues rather than employees, because indeed, they are. The success we’ve enjoyed at NDAREC is largely because of their efforts.

The members of NDAREC also deserve thanks. The state’s 16 local electric cooperatives and the five generation and transmission cooperatives that belong to and support this association are the state’s best electric utilities. These members believe wholeheartedly in cooperation. The state’s RECs have been improving the quality of life of their members for the past 80 years. Through good times and bad, the state’s RECs have worked together to build, own and operate an electric delivery system that is second to none.

My final observation is that noted historian Elywn B. Robinson got it right. In Chapter 20 of his book, “The History of North Dakota,” the first sentence of the first paragraph reads: “The great change, however, was rural electrification.” His reference was to the ways that North Dakota was trying to fight its way out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. And nothing, in his view, had a greater impact on improving quality of life, increasing agricultural productivity and stirring economic vitality, than rural electrification. That’s still true today.

Again, my sincere thanks to our readers, our directors, my staff colleagues and our members. The support I’ve received over these years allows me to resemble that cowboy logic that says, “If you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.”

Dennis Hill, 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 Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email