Electric cooperative leaders will gather for their 79th annual meeting under a new banner next year, symbolizing a future that serves the evolving needs of their members and communities.

“In 2021, the NRECA Annual Meeting is NRECA PowerXchange: Where Insights, Ideas, and Connections Converge,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “PowerXchange represents our long-term strategy, acknowledging the operational changes utilities are facing, the growing needs of co-op-served communities, and the technical and economic opportunities that lie ahead.”

The historic name change comes with a new logo and programming enhancements to include more opportunities to promote the exchange of ideas and solutions among co-ops, said Tracey Steiner, NRECA’s senior vice president for education and training.

“We’ve incorporated several initiatives that we’ve tried at NRECA’s annual meetings in recent years and expanded them to achieve our purpose for this event, which is to create a vibrant hub of engagement and discovery that will help our cooperatives lead their communities forward,” she said.

The rollout of the rebranding will continue despite an announcement by NRECA on Aug. 14 that the 2021 gathering will occur online amid continuing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re absolutely moving forward with PowerXchange even though we’ll be online,” said Steiner. “And, we’re excited about the fact that moving online means no space constraints that otherwise would limit the number of opportunities participants will have to network and learn.”

Kevin Kepple, NRECA’s manager of creative services, explained the thinking and artistic process behind the event’s new logo.

“The name PowerXchange and accompanying logo are meant to convey a powerful exchange and cross-pollination of ideas that happens at the event, both formally and organically,” said Kepple.

“The particular treatment of the ‘X’ symbolizes the coming together of NRECA’s diverse membership to lead the energy future,” he said. “The left side of the ‘X’ forms an arrow, signifying the event’s future-looking momentum and is also enveloped within the overall ‘X’ shape, symbolizing unification.”

Steiner said the central purpose of the event will remain the NRECA business meeting with its resolution votes, key issue updates and association governance obligations. But more focus will be placed on interactive engagement.

“Members have called for more opportunities to find solutions, get new ideas and learn from the experiences of their peers, industry experts and suppliers,” said Steiner. “The aim of PowerXchange is to bring our co-op network together to tap its collective wisdom.

“The annual meeting wasn’t broken, but we felt strongly it needed reinvigorating to deliver what our members want and need.”

She said that, with the shift to the virtual format, more sessions will be made available live online or recorded for later viewing, giving participants access to even more of the programming.

“This is exactly where our members want us to go,” said Matheson. “The new name, new features and renewed mission breathe new life into this annual gathering, driving more motivation, inspiring creative solutions to our challenges and creating a more exciting and meaningful experience for everyone attending from the co-op network.”