If you’re planning to attend the 2018 NRECA Annual Meeting and Expo in Nashville, Tennessee, act soon. The early bird registration fee expires Jan. 17, which is also the last day to secure group rate housing.

Nashville is a popular spot among members, and organizers expect high registration numbers for the Feb. 22-28 event at the Music City Center. This year's theme is "Leading the Energy Future."

Entertainment Night is back, after taking last year off for the NRECA 75th anniversary celebration in San Diego. Nashville icon and award-winning country music singer Trace Adkins will take the stage Feb. 27, and tickets are selling fast, according to NRECA meeting organizers.

This year's keynote speakers include a futurist, a former top Navy SEAL sniper and a well-known broadcast journalist:

  • Feb. 26: Jeremy Gutsche, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of TrendHunter.com

  • Feb. 27: Dr. Howard E. Wasdin, a twice-decorated veteran for service during the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia

  • Feb. 28: Lesley Stahl, longtime CBS News "60 Minutes" correspondent

As of press time, organizers are planning a hands-on "Lab" for co-op leaders to experience trending technologies on Feb. 26 and 27. In addition, NRECA is expected to unveil the new cooperative.com that week.

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson will kick off the opening general session on Feb. 26. NRECA President Phil Carson will deliver remarks the next day.

The NRECA Board will hold the proposed resolutions forum on Feb. 25 prior to the general sessions and conduct its business meeting Feb. 27.

Spots are still available for NRECA's Next Generation Leaders Experience, which provides special programming for co-op employees who have demonstrated leadership potential or management capabilities and show a strong interest in the co-op business model.

Also of note:

  • Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives and Middle Tennessee EMC will sponsor the 10th annual community service project Feb. 24. More than 100 volunteers will conduct energy efficiency upgrades and home improvement projects through the Wherry Housing Co-op in nearby Smyrna. Lynn Moore, Touchstone Energy's executive director, promises "a great day of demonstrating the cooperative difference to members of Middle Tennessee EMC." NRECA will host another service project at the convention center during the week.

  • TechAdvantage, the annual technology event for co-op professionals, will run Feb. 26-28, with more than 250 vendors and exhibitors showcasing the latest in products and solutions. The expo opens with a reception Feb. 26; exhibit hours will be 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 28.

  • Tickets are on sale for the NRECA International lunch Feb. 27 and the annual breakfast and business meeting of ACRE® Feb. 28. The business meeting will include the 2017 Annual Report and elections of ACRE's executive committee.