Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 14

photos by Zach Smith and Heather Berry

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs the bill officially creating the state's new lineworker license plates during the annual meeting of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

Taking care of business
Co-op leaders gather for the 82nd AMEC Annual Meeting

by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

Bolivia. He was on hand to present the first plate to Parson, who had the young
lineman autograph it.
While the governor was speaking, the first lady held a tea and answered
eaders from all of Missouri's electric cooperatives gathered in Branson
Oct. 3-4 to take care of the business of the Association of Missouri questions about being in the spotlight during the meeting of the Rural Electric
Electric Cooperatives and hear from Gov. Mike Parson, first lady Tere- Auxiliary. The group held a raffle and raised $800 that was donated to Friends
sa Parson and industry leaders who spoke on the future of the rural of the Missouri Governor's Mansion in appreciation for her visit.
In closing, the governor thanked the electric co-ops for being a vital part of
electric program.
The gathering was the 82nd annual meeting of the association, which was Missouri's infrastructure. "No one in the utility industry sets a better example
organized in 1937 to help the state's electric cooperatives better serve their than the electric co-ops," he says. "You are the heart and soul of this state."
Those gathered at the meeting also heard from author and film producer
members. The meeting was the last presided over by President Jack Baker, a
cattleman from Butler and a director for Osage Valley Electric Cooperative. He Robert Bryce, who spoke about energy poverty, citing the 3 billion people in
passed the gavel to new president Carmen Hartwell, CEO of Gascosage Electric the world who use less electricity in a year than his refrigerator. Yet efforts
Cooperative, Dixon. It marked the first time a woman has headed the associa- to expand energy production frequently run into protests, making it almost
impossible to meet the energy needs of those who need it the most.
tion in its history and is just another in a long list of firsts for her.
This includes California, where the wind energy industry has all but given
"The last two years have been a challenge and a lot of fun," Baker said in
his president's report. "Our organization is a lot more efficient, a lot leaner and up on citing new projects in the state, despite its goal of 100 percent renewbetter able to serve our systems. I am constantly reminded that AMEC exists ables. It's not just wind. In New York a solar project was canceled because it did
not meet zoning requirements.
for one reason, to provide the services we can't do on our own."
He called these issues "the new norm" for renewable energy. He says it would
He pointed out many changes that took place during his term, including
the hiring of a new CEO, Caleb Jones. "I thought we have a wonderful staff cost each American $35,000 just to rebuild the electric grid to integrate 100
so there's no trouble there. One of them was Caleb Jones. That's been a good percent renewables. Meeting current electricity consumption would require a
decision and it has worked out well. Caleb is a lot of fun to work with and he land area twice the size of California, and that's just the electric side.
One of the most popular presentations was from Makenna Baker, a senior
has a lot of new ideas."
"We have had a lot of changes in the past two years," Jones added. "But one at Savannah High School and the Youth Leadership Council representative for
thing that has stayed in the front of everything we do and that's to serve you. Missouri this year. She was one of more than 100 rural youth who traveled to
Washington, D.C. on the annual Youth Tour. "Without your help so many in
Whatever changes at AMEC, that will not change."
Gov. Parson, no stranger to Missouri's electric co-ops, spoke on the work- rural communities would never have electricity," she said. "You have no idea
force development and infrastructure bills passed last year by the state legisla- how much impact you have made in my life and for so many others."
The meeting closed with a panel discussion on solar power and the challengture and the affect these measures have had on the state's economy. "What we
did last year was unreal," said Parson, who is a member of Southwest Electric es it presents. The panel featured two electric co-op CEOs, David Deihl from
Cooperative. "There will be over $1 billion in construction in Missouri in the Platte-Clay and Todd Schroeder, Macon and Lewis County electric cooperanext five years. That's never happened before. Since June 2018 companies tives. Joe Wilkinson from Associated Electric moderated the panel.
The association presented several awards. Honored with its Distinguished
have committed $3 billion in the state. We have added 43,000 jobs in less than
Service Award were Chris Cariker, retired
a year. I want to make sure people know we
CEO of KAMO Power, and the late Ronnie
are open for business in Missouri."
Cornett, a director from Farmers' Electric.
He also spoke about work being done
Also honored were two state lawmakers
to bridge the digital divide in rural areas
who received the association's Legislative
and the importance of making sure this
Leadership Award. These were presentgets done. "How can you possibly compete
ed to Sen. Lincoln Hough and Sen. Justin
whether you are a farmer or a kid in school
Brown, two strong supporters of the electric
if you can't get to the internet in this day?"
cooperative program.
he asked.
The meeting concluded with election of
During the meeting, the governor signed
officers for the association. Besides Presia bill officially creating the new lineworkdent Carmen Hartwell, Gascosage Electric
er license plate. Shown on the new plate is
they include Vice President Darrell Atchithe silhouette taken from a photo of Hunter
son, Ozark Border Electric and SecreIvie, a lineman from SEMO Electric Cooperative in Sikeston. The photo was taken Teresa Parson answers questions about life as Missouri's first lady from Nancy tary-Treasurer Loren Haines, North Central
Missouri Electric.
while Hunter was building power lines in Baker, left, and Lindsey Jones.

L

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RURAL MISSOURI | NOVEMBER 2019



Rural Missouri - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 8
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Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 38
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover4
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