The GridI don’t have much time to read books these days, but when I find a good one, I want to let my colleagues know about it! Presently, I’m halfway through a book called The Grid by Gretchen Bakke, Ph.D., a cultural anthropologist. The author provides a play-by-play of America’s electric grid, including its fascinating history, its problematic present, and its bright potential. If you have time to read it, especially if you’re new to the electric industry, I highly recommend it; the book covers all of the wild anomalies of working with electricity, of which the average consumer is simply not aware. The book also tackles some recent issues within our industry (deploying smart meters and load control programs, etc.) where solid, proactive communications can make or break a utility’s effort. Now more than ever, the work of a cooperative communicator is of utmost importance; strategic communications can turn these potentially confusing messages into opportunities to extol the cooperative advantage, gaining more trust with our member-owners.

Our numbers of active Certified Cooperative Communicators is now over 220 strong all across the country and growing steadily each year. CCCs often ask me how they can get involved with the CCC Program and give back to a program which has helped them professionally. Here are two great ways you can help:

  1. Advise a CCC candidate

The CCC Program has about 40 CCC candidates in the program “pipeline” at any given time, who are in various stages of earning their credential. When candidates submit their initial applications, we ask if they would like to be paired with a CCC Peer Advisor. The Peer Advisor contacts the candidate throughout the process of submitting the portfolio and preparing for the exam, offering helpful advice and support along the way. We can always use more Peer Advisors, especially newer CCCs who have vivid memories of going through the program! Contact Sheila Glenn at NRECA ( to sign up.

  1. Nominate yourself for the CCC board

The CCC Program is governed by an active board of elected CCCs who volunteer their time and strategic wisdom. We maintain the extensive Body of Knowledge document and CCC Program Manual, review the program’s operating guidelines and actively promote the program throughout Co-op Nation, among other things. You recently received information via email about our upcoming spring election. There will be six seats up for election, and I hope you consider serving on the board; we work hard to continually improve the program, and we could use your help! Board members must cover their own travel expenses, and there is a significant time commitment, so please check with your supervisor before sending in your nomination form.

Fellow CCCs, we’ve got work to do! I hope you find a way to elevate the role of communications as a strategic management function within your sphere of influence. Thank you for supporting the CCC program and your CCC board!

Erin Campbell, CCC
Chair, CCC Board of Directors
Director of Communications for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives