The first NRECA Annual Meeting of the new decade will be in New Orleans, where electric cooperative leaders will gather to celebrate the strength of the co-op network, deepen knowledge of industry issues, and conduct official business.

The 78th NRECA Annual Meeting and Expo will be Feb. 27 to March 4 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the site of the 2016 meeting. The early bird registration fee expires Jan. 22, which is also the last day to secure group rate housing.

This year, organizers have structured programming around three key topics: beneficial electrification; digital and data transformation of the industry; and consumer engagement and expectations. Breakout sessions and one-on-one learning opportunities will go into detail on these and other important issues.

“Annual meeting participants have told us that in the time available, we only scratch the surface” of important co-op issues, says Tracey Steiner, NRECA’s senior vice president for education and training. “For 2020, participants will be able to dive deeper and explore these three topics from different angles.”

Changes to the 2020 annual meeting schedule include “Spark Sessions,” which will allow participants to engage in small group discussions with their peers. Facilitators will help run the 30-minute sessions, which will take place at the NRECA and Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives booths.

Also of note:

  • The rebranded TechAdvantage® Experience 2020 will run concurrently with the annual meeting. The Expo opening reception will be March 2, and the TechAdvantage conference sessions will end March 4.

  • NRECA’s Next Generation Leaders Experience turns five this year. This year’s program is similar to years past, but organizers are putting a stronger focus on leadership development.

  • Tickets are still available for the International Luncheon (March 2), ACRE® Breakfast (March 3) and Entertainment Night (March 3).

Each general session will be livestreamed on, and there will be frequent updates on NRECA's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts on the highlights of the gathering, using the hashtag #NRECA20.

Matheson, a Futurist and Secrets to Productivity

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson will kick off the opening general session on March 2.

Keynote speakers for the three general sessions are:

  • Inventor, technology futurist and former hacker Pablos Holman, who will talk about embracing the future in “Innovate or Die Trying” (March 2).

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg, who will talk about the differences between being busy and being productive in “The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” (March 3).

  • Harvard psychologist and best-selling author Susan David, who will discuss “Emotional Agility—The Gifts and Power of Emotional Courage” (March 4).

Entertainment Night on March 3 will feature Wynonna & The Big Noise, country music singer Wynonna Judd’s band and the title of her eighth studio album.

Other Meeting Highlights

NRECA President Curtis Wynn will address the second general session on March 3. That session will include introductions of the Youth Leadership Council and the address of this year’s council spokesperson, Kade McAdams, a member of Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Azle, Texas. The Touchstone Energy Annual Meeting and the NRECA business meeting will follow.

"Touchstone Energy’s annual meeting is an opportunity to focus on our brand and the trusted partnership it represents,” said Jeffrey Connor, interim executive director of Touchstone Energy. “Our members show tremendous leadership in the communities they serve, creating an important standard of service to identify electric co-ops throughout the nation.”

And during the March 4 closing session, the association will honor the recipient of the Electric Cooperative Purpose Award.

Other national cooperative organizations will hold their annual meetings in New Orleans that week:

2020 Community Service Project

Annual meeting participants will have two opportunities to demonstrate their concern for community, the seventh cooperative principle.

Touchstone Energy will sponsor its 12th community service project on Feb. 29, at Rebuilding Together New Orleans, where co-ops volunteered in 2016. A few spots are still open, and organizers recommend that volunteers bring work clothes and close-toed shoes. Take a look at this video for highlights from the 2016 project.

Can’t volunteer Feb. 29? Keep an eye out for upcoming information on another service project at the convention center in the Expo on March 2 and 3.