Skip to main navigation.

Editorial: September 2018

Locker decor and lifelong learning


Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager, NDAREC

In the Kramer household, the last few weeks have been spent ramping up our back-to-school lives. What’s different for us this year is we now officially have a teenager in our house. Yes, our oldest of five is now a teen, although it feels like I have been observing the pre-teen tell-tale signs since she turned 6 or so. Don’t get me wrong—she is a charming, thoughtful, sweet, strong young woman. But, holy smokes! We can go from a laugh to a cry to a scowl back to a smile and then to a glare in under a millisecond!

This has been evident as we try to equip our daughter and her two brothers with essential school items. From my teen daughter’s perspective, those essentials are (in order of priority): phone, multiple clothes and shoe combinations, locker décor, expensive double-lined steel water bottle that has the ability to keep water cold for weeks at a time, a homework holder (note: not cool to refer to it as a trapper keeper or a binder), colorful pens, pencils, markers and a gaudy backpack.

For her younger brothers, school essentials are much simpler. For them, it’s mesh shorts, a T-shirt, a box of pencils and a football. As we discuss the school year, my kids tell me how nice it must be to be an adult and to not have to worry about school or homework anymore. Ha! I reply by telling them that their years in school will be the easiest most worry-free years of their lives and the only time when learning can be their number one focus.

The truth is, we never stop learning and should continue wanting to learn. Education is central to the mission of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC). I am proud of the role we play in providing flexible top-quality education and valuable training to cooperative employees, directors and members. Year-round, we host several in-person, online and on-site training courses, classes and seminars.

Just recently, NDAREC has provided a variety of educational offerings including hotline education sessions for more than 60 electric lineworkers and coordinating education modules for summer meetings of the financial and member services professionals affiliated with our cooperatives. In mid-September, NDAREC will host a key educational orientation on our cooperative way of doing business, targeted at the new employees and new board members from our cooperatives.

These professional development and lifelong learning opportunities enable electric cooperatives to further the development of their workforce and leaders. The current focus is on new technologies and industry issues; the review and enhancement of safety practices and procedures; obtaining performance certifications; and interacting and building relationships with other professionals and leaders.

The continued development and education of our employees and local leaders is essential in ensuring that the members of electric cooperatives continue to receive exceptional service and reliable electricity, now and well into the future.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to