NRECA Board Wraps up Summer Meeting

The NRECA Board enjoyed a busy summer meeting helmed by new leadership.

NRECA President Phil Carson presides over the June 2017 meeting of the NRECA Board. (Photo By: Alexis Matsui)

NRECA President Phil Carson presides over the June 2017 meeting of the NRECA Board. (Photo By: Alexis Matsui)

NRECA President Phil Carson of Illinois, Vice President Curtis Wynn of North Carolina and Secretary-Treasurer Chris Christensen of Montana, all elected at the 75th NRECA Annual Meeting in February, led the meeting at NRECA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

The board heard a report on the National Resolutions Committee's June 23 meeting. The committee proposes new member resolutions on broadband, benefits for electricity end users and honoring co-op workers as first responders.

The committee also proposes amendments to existing resolutions addressing environmental regulations, among other items for discussion at the 2017 NRECA Regional Meetings.

Minnesota Director Ron Schwartau, chairman of the International Committee, reported on co-ops' electrification projects in underdeveloped countries.

Missouri co-op personnel will build power lines at 13,000 feet elevation in Bolivia in one of five projects planned in that South American country and Guatemala next year.

"It's important to spread to Congress the good work our members do overseas," Schwartau said. "We are the advocates. We must continue to build support."

Scott Peterson, the association's senior vice president, communications, outlined new communication tools available to co-ops for timely discussion of key issues and to share the value of the NRECA. They include a portal for board members at cooperative.com, CEO outreach, and an internal communications tool kit.

Mike Campbell, president of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), gave the board an update on governance.

The board meeting included a broad discussion of factors that electric co-ops should consider regarding the development of broadband services.

"There are a lot of approaches out there, and every NRECA member encounters different circumstances," said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. "There's no silver bullet, which is why we still have unserved and underserved communities with a need."

Sheldon C. Petersen, CFC CEO, discussed broadband financing, and Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NCTA—The Rural Broadband Association, urged co-ops to consider partnering with telecommunications companies to build broadband.

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended that broadband aid requests be made to Congress rather than the commission.


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