Iowa’s electric cooperatives gather in West Des Moines to celebrate 75-year legacy
With the theme of “Building Legacy through Leadership,” the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) celebrated its milestone 75th anniversary with more than 600 attendees at its annual meeting in West Des Moines on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Board directors and senior staff from dozens of Iowa’s not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives attended the one-and-a-half day meeting, where they had an opportunity to hear from Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who was introduced by EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford on Friday morning. Pruitt sat with IAEC Executive Vice President Chuck Soderberg on stage for 45 minutes, answering questions about how the EPA is providing flexibility and certainty to power suppliers through a common-sense regulatory framework under the Trump Administration.
“We were honored to have Administrator Pruitt address our 500 attendees during our statewide annual meeting this morning,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Iowa’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives are committed to providing power that is safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible. Hearing from Administrator Pruitt today made us feel confident the EPA is listening to our needs and concerns. We commend him for working to provide a common-sense regulatory framework that gives electric co-ops flexibility and certainty to meet the needs of our member-owners. We thank him for meeting with rural Iowans who are concerned about ensuring affordable and reliable electricity for the long-term.”
Attendees also heard from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds who provided an update on the Iowa Energy Plan, NRECA CEO Jim Matheson who briefed attendees on national electric cooperative advocacy efforts, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Additionally, atttendees enjoyed presentations on Iowa electric cooperatives’ commitment to cooperation among cooperatives, the future of safety in the electric cooperative industry from Richard Hawk, the relevance of electric cooperatives in the next 50 years from Lowell Catlett, Ph.D., and a motivational message on building successful teams and organizations from Jake Wood.
The association recognized Marion Denger, current IAEC board member and past board president, for his years of distinguished service on the statewide board. Several co-op employees and directors were honored for 25 years of cooperative service while co-op board directors who earned education certifications were also recognized. The Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) held its 30th annual Venture Awards luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 30 where it honored several distinguished Iowa companies for entrepreneurial leadership.
On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 30, a live auction and silent auction of personally donated items and pies raised more than $9,000 for the Iowa Friends of Rural Electrification (FORE) political action committee.
IAEC also published its 2017 annual report, which includes a 75th anniversary timeline and can be downloaded at https://www.iowarec.org/publications/annual-report/.
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives represents the interests of not-for-profit electric cooperatives in the state, including 36 distribution co-ops and eight generation and transmission co-ops. Owned by the members they serve, Iowa’s electric cooperatives power the lives of 650,000 Iowans throughout all 99 counties and are committed to delivering power that is safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible. Formed 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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Erin Campbell, Director of Communications