BY ROGER SOLOMONSON
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) recently held its 2022 annual meeting in early December. As the IAEC board president, it was my honor to review achievements and share accomplishments with our member cooperatives who attended from across the state. While preparing for the event, we selected an annual meeting theme that we thought best represented the keys to our success through the decades. It all boils down to these three factors: People. Power. Purpose.
The people who form a local electric cooperative must be united in achieving a common goal. It then takes leaders from that group to stand up and govern the actions of the co-op as directors of the board. And only through effective management can a team of mission-driven professionals work every day to serve the co-op members with excellence. It all starts with the right people at every level.
At the statewide association, we are blessed with a dedicated and knowledgeable staff who provide valuable insight and leadership in several ways. Your local cooperative is receiving best-in-class services regarding education, safety training, advocacy, regulatory guidance, communications services, employee benefits, youth programs and more.
Our electric cooperative business model is focused on providing power that is safe, affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible. Each co-op must determine the best way to balance these four priorities to best serve its member-consumers. On the statewide level, we will continue to advocate for the cooperative business model, which champions local ownership and governance.
And in today’s world, utilizing a diverse portfolio of electric generation assets has become paramount in ensuring reliability as electric co-ops embrace an “all-of-the-above” approach to keep the lights on.
What sets cooperatives apart from other electric utilities is why we’re in business. Electric cooperatives exist solely to serve their member-consumers. We are committed to powering lives and empowering communities to improve the quality of life for our members.
IAEC coordinates several programs that provide value to our local communities. Our Iowa Youth Leadership Academy virtual sessions in October and Iowa Youth Tour trip to D.C. in June are great examples of how Iowa’s electric cooperatives invest in the next generation of co-op leaders. Our statewide Shine the Light contest in June highlights our cooperative commitment to community as member-consumers and employees of Iowa electric co-ops are invited to nominate local volunteers who are making a positive difference.
As I reflect on the electric cooperative accomplishments of 2022, it all ties back to People. Power. Purpose.
Finally, I would like to personally wish you and your family a blessed Christmas holiday. May you celebrate the season in good health with family and friends.
Roger Solomonson is the board president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives and a board director for Heartland Power Cooperative in Thompson.