Iowa’s electric cooperatives celebrate the power of cooperative commitment during association’s annual meeting
Dec. 6, 2019 - Des Moines, IA - With the theme of “The Power of Cooperative Commitment,” the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) conducted its 2019 annual meeting in West Des Moines with more than 400 attendees on Dec. 5 and 6. Board directors and senior staff from Iowa’s locally owned rural electric cooperatives attended the one-and-a-half day meeting, where they had an opportunity to hear from IAEC Board President Steve Seidl and IAEC Executive Vice President and General Manager Chuck Soderberg.
“Our cooperative commitment powers us to unify and strengthen the voice of our association members in an evolving industry,” remarked Seidl. “For me, the power of cooperative commitment means we achieve our goals by working together and following the cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives.”
Soderberg added, “While there are unique challenges to serving a diverse membership of 45 electric cooperatives, we hold true to our mission to support and advocate for our members by providing expertise and collaborative leadership. For example, Iowa’s electric co-ops joined forces with co-ops in Illinois and Wisconsin to form a team of 12 linemen who brought electricity to a rural Guatemalan village of 300 in October.”
On Thursday afternoon, attendees heard from three of the four Iowa electric co-op linemen who were randomly selected to serve in Guatemala for 16 days earlier this year. While the work and living conditions were difficult, each lineman would go back again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.
Student Sarah Herz from Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative in Albia, who represented Iowa’s electric cooperatives as the 2019 Youth Tour representative, addressed the audience during the annual meeting. She shared highlights of the Youth Tour trip in June and talked about how the opportunity has impacted her life.
The association honored several co-op employees and directors who celebrated 25 years of cooperative service in 2019. Co-op board directors who earned education certifications during the year were also recognized for their commitment to education and training. Several electric cooperatives were congratulated for completing the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) in 2019. RESAP is a national safety program that the co-op utilizes as a framework to improve safety performance and culture.
Additionally, the Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) held its annual Venture Awards luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 5 where it honored eight outstanding Iowa companies for entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and job creation.
On the evening of Thursday, Dec. 5, a live auction and silent auction of personally donated items raised more than $10,000 for the Iowa Friends of Rural Electrification (FORE) political action committee. The funds will stay in Iowa to aid state legislative candidates who support electric cooperatives.
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives represents the interests of locally owned electric cooperatives in the state, including 37 distribution co-ops and eight generation and transmission co-ops. Formed more than 75 years ago, IAEC provides many vital functions for its members including legislative representation, regulatory oversight, training and education services, safety programs, and communications support. Learn more at www.iowarec.org.
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IAEC Director of Communications