Season 6

Feb. 13, 2024: The electric utility industry is in the midst of a “skills and people shortage," brought on by a steady stream of senior leaders reaching retirement age, a marked increase in non-retirement turnover and an evolution toward more advanced technologies that's making it more difficult to find qualified employees. Electric co-ops are responding with creative initiatives on succession planning and employee development. Learn more from NRECA's Delaine Orendorff and Wells Rural Electric's Clay Fitch.

This episode is sponsored by Power & Tel.

Jan. 16, 2024: Artificial intelligence is poised to have a rapidly expanding impact on many facets of our lives—and the power industry is at the tip of the spear. How are electric co-ops already using AI, and how will it shape and change the way we approach operations, member services and our workplace culture in the years to come? Hear from Mike Walsh, a futurist, author and the founder and CEO of the consulting firm Tomorrow as well as a keynote speaker for NRECA's 2024 PowerXchange and TechAdvantage.

This episode is sponsored by Stem.

Season 5

Dec. 18, 2023: The Achieving Cooperative Community Equitable Solar Sources (ACCESS) project, a three-year, Department of Energy-funded effort in which electric co-ops have worked on innovative ways to bring the benefits of solar power to their low- and moderate-income members, is winding down at the end of the year. Learn more about ACCESS from Lisa Slaughter, NRECA research engineer, and Marshall Cherry, president and CEO of Roanoke Cooperative.

This episode is sponsored by NRECA PowerXchange and TechAdvantage.

Nov. 20, 2023: A key piece of the broadband puzzle is the “middle mile," which connects local networks to the broader web—a particularly critical facet for rural areas. Many electric co-ops in the broadband space are finding it difficult to access reliable, affordable third-party middle-mile networks, and some are starting to take matters into their own hands. Learn more from NRECA's Katie Culleton as well as Steven Bandy, general manager of OzarksGo, the broadband subsidiary of Ozarks Electric Cooperative.

This episode is sponsored by Tyndale Company.

Oct. 26, 2023: The Commitment to Zero Contacts program, a joint effort of NRECA, Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange and statewide co-op associations to eliminate injuries and deaths caused by accidental electrical contacts, hit its five-year mark earlier this year. Phase 2 of the program includes a VR training kit that's being rolled out to statewide associations across the country. Learn more from NRECA's Bud Branham, Federated's Corey Parr and North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives' Farris Leonard.

This episode is sponsored by NRTC.

Sept. 25, 2023: In November 2021, Delta-Montrose Electric Association was hit with a ransomware attack that quickly spread through the co-op's network and took over key systems like phone and email, customer information and meter data management. It took months of work to re-create and restore DMEA's network, build new cyber protections and get back to a new normal. Hear from DMEA Chief Information Officer Bob Farmer and IT Manager Jay Suckey on the details of the attack and the valuable lessons learned.

This episode is sponsored by NRTC.

Aug. 24, 2023: The EPA's proposed power plant rule is set to go into effect in the spring of 2024. This sweeping set of new restrictions on emissions from new and existing power generation facilities is being criticized by many in the industry for setting unrealistic timelines, relying on untested technologies and threatening the affordability and reliability of electricity. Hear from Ashley Slater, NRECA's vice president for regulatory affairs, on the proposed rule and the electric cooperative response.

This episode is sponsored by ENGIE North America.

July 25, 2023: A pandemic-era trend has many Americans relocating from urban areas to smaller cities and towns, but they're facing a growing shortage of available, affordable housing. What's causing this unprecedented housing gap, and what are rural leaders, including electric co-ops, doing to fix it? Hear from Alex Horowitz, project director of the Housing Policy Initiative at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Lea Hoover, director of member and strategic services at Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative.

This episode is sponsored by GridLiance.

June 22, 2023: The reliability of America's electric grid is no longer a guarantee amid government regulations forcing the disorderly closure of always-on power plants in favor of renewables and demand exceeding supply during critical times in several regions of the country. What have electric co-ops been doing to raise the alarm and offer solutions? Hear from NRECA CEO Jim Matheson and Associated Electric Cooperative CEO David Tudor.

This episode is sponsored by OutSolve.

May 15, 2023: Tony Anderson, general manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative in Michigan, recently kicked off his two-year term as NRECA president. He’s a familiar figure in the electric cooperative program, with a career that has included working at five co-ops in five states and a high-profile charitable campaign that involved running a marathon in every state. Hear from Anderson about his career track, what he’ll focus on as NRECA president and what his priorities are going forward.

This episode is sponsored by OutSolve.

April 13, 2023: Electric school buses are becoming a more common sight in rural school districts, thanks in part to new federal funding created by the bipartisan infrastructure law. For electric co-ops that serve these districts, what are the opportunities and challenges posed by this new demand for electricity? Hear from NRECA's Stephanie Crawford, Bradley Cherry of Grayson Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. in Kentucky and Travis Mathes of Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative in Missouri.

This episode is sponsored by Pivot.

March 23, 2023: Over the last 50 years, the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has sent over 75,000 rural teenagers to Washington, D.C., for the “trip of a lifetime,” where they meet with their elected officials and build relationships. Through the Youth Tour and Youth Leadership Council, NRECA works to cultivate our next generation of co-op leaders. Learn more in this episode from NRECA Youth Programs and Training Manager Beth Knudson and 2023 Youth Leadership Council national spokesperson Rukaya Alrubaye.

This episode is sponsored by Meridian Cooperative.

Feb. 21, 2023: Electric co-ops saw a major victory last year with the inclusion of direct-pay incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. The law gives co-ops and other tax-exempt entities the ability to receive reimbursements from the government for deploying new energy technologies, putting them on a playing field with for-profit providers. How does this change the game for co-ops going forward? Hear from NRECA's Paul Gutierrez, Minnkota Power Cooperative's Mac McLennan, and Northeastern REMC's Eric Jung.

This episode is sponsored by Power & Tel.

Jan. 24, 2023: More than 200 electric co-ops have already built or started work to offer broadband either on their own or in a partnership, and that number will only grow with billions in funding on the way to help close the digital divide. But what does it take for a co-op to create and run a broadband business? Hear from Craig Eccher, former CEO of Tri-County REC in Pennsylvania and its broadband subsidiary, Bill Gerski of Beacon Broadband, a subsidiary of Coos-Curry EC in Oregon, and NRECA's Paul Breakman.

This episode is sponsored by Calix.

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