Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 10
photos by Paul Newton
NRECA looks to the
next generation at
'18 annual meeting
Left: Chloe Momphord, who represents Missouri on NRECA's Youth Leadership Council, carries the state
flag during the annual Parade of States. Above: Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives, chaired the NRECA Resolutions Committee and led the discussion on resolutions during the
business session. These resolutions give the national association guidance.
about a management philosophy called Cathedral Thinking.
Most of the people who built the great cathedrals were not around for the groundbreaking,
nor were they there when the structures were
completed. They joined in the middle, picking
up where the previous generation left off.
"For generation after generation, workers
came to the jobsite and sacrificed their bodies to the grueling task at hand," Phil related.
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
"Then they left. Or retired. Or died. And the
next person took over.
lectric cooperatives were responsible for
"We could learn a lot from those cathedral
turning on the lights in rural America
builders. We weren't around for the start of
in the 1930s. But in the words of Jim
the electric cooperative movement. But after a
Matheson, CEO of the National Rural
few passes of the torch, we're now the ones
Electric Cooperative Association, "Our brightentrusted to keep the movement strong, to
est days are yet to come."
keep building, to envision new possibilities."
Matheson was one of many speakers as
He encouraged those in the audience to
NRECA held its annual meeting Feb. 25-28 in
consider the legacy they would leave for the
Nashville. The meeting gave more than 6,000
future, and to become leaders in deciding
leaders from the nation's electric cooperatives
what that future would be.
- along with 94 guests from six countries that
Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Mismodel electric cooperatives - an opportunity to
souri Electric Cooperatives, led the resolutions
consider their energy futures.
process that gives the association its marching
"We are national leaders with local impact
orders as the chief advocates for rural people
because you are local leaders with national
in Washington, D.C. He chaired the resoluimpact," Matheson told the 2018 annual meettions forum that gave everyone input into the
ing audience. "I believe our most prosperous
process, the resolutions discussion and voting
future is realized when all electric co-ops work
during the business session.
NRECA delegates voted to support all the
The theme of the meeting - "Leading the
recommendations - including support for
energy future" - provided an opportunity for
rural broadband and protection of federal
NRECA to look at challenges electric cooperahydropower projects - made by the Resolutives and their members will face moving fortions Committee.
ward. Across the country, leaders from electric
During the meeting NRECA quickly showed
cooperatives are pondering their future as a
its support for employee and public safety
new generation of members who have always
through a video that recalled the life of Jeremy
lived with electricity and perhaps don't think
White, a lineman from Southern Pine Elecof themselves as member-owners moves onto
tric Cooperative in Taylorsville, Mississippi,
who died after an accidental contact. (You can
Critical to meeting the needs of these future
watch the video here: http://s.coop/2687n).
generations is member engagement, Matheson
CEO Jason Siegfried spoke following the
pointed out. "Here's the bottom line," he said.
video, challenging the electric cooperative
"Engagement means the co-op and its members
leaders to make safety a priority.
care about each other. Engagement is all about
"If we decide to go home and weave safety
creating and nurturing a genuine relationship."
into everything we do we can achieve NRECA's
NRECA President Phil Carson, a director
goal of zero contacts. Let me repeat: zero confrom Oakdale, Illinois, said he takes great comtacts," he said in an emotional speech. "We
fort in knowing a strong national association
can and must honor the life of Jeremy White
exists to guide electric cooperatives into the
and all of the fallen linemen by going home
future. His address focused on the cooperative
and asking what we can do differently."
movement and what that means to members.
Also on the program were Navy Seal How"That expression - the cooperative movement - is so familiar to us that sometimes I NRECA's CEO Jim Matheson delivers his message during the 2018 annual meeting, ard Wasdin and CBS journalist and "60 Minthink we lose sight of what it implies," he said. declaring, "I believe our most prosperous future is realized when all electric co-ops utes" co-editor Lesley Stahl, who had a common theme in their messages about bringing a
"A movement: That's a powerful word and an work together."
divided nation back together.
even more powerful idea. Movement is a word
"It's not who we send to Washington, D.C.," said Howard, the author of "Seal
we set aside for things that really matter. Things that change lives. Things that
Team Six" and four other books. "What they are missing and what we are missalter the course of history."
Not long after taking over as president in 2017, Phil said he reached out to ing is love."
Added Lesley, "This group has an opportunity to teach the rest of the country
others in the program for advice. One of those he spoke with was Todd Culley,
manager of Boone Electric Cooperative in Columbia, Missouri, who told him what it means to get together and do a project that everyone would be for."
RURAL MISSOURI | APRIL 2018