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Commentary Next generation workforce at co-ops E


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


lectric coopera- tives are anchors in their commu- nities. They not


only provide vital electric service to homes and busi- nesses, they also employ local men and women, giving them the opportu-


nity to attain lasting career paths. Nationwide, electric cooperatives employ 70,000 workers, and in our state they provide jobs to over 2,500 Okla- homans. Locally based and governed by mem- ber-elected boards, co-ops hire local citizens to serve those they know best: their neighbors. Seventy-fi ve years ago when most electric co-


ops were formed, each co-op had a handful of positions available. In most cases, they would hire a general manager, a secretary, and a few linemen. Today, most co-ops offer career oppor- tunities to engineers, line workers, accountants, HR professionals, IT personnel, administrative assistants, marketing and communication coor- dinators, and more. Co-ops offer a stable, professional and ser- vice-driven environment for employees; in addi- tion, most co-ops are located in small towns,


which are suitable places to raise a family. Co-ops strengthen local economies by invest-


ing in their local communities. From grants, Operation Round Up programs, energy educa- tion in local schools, effi ciency rebates, special services and youth programs, co-ops are commu- nity pillars. Through the years, advances in tech- nology have shaped the programs and services provided by your co-op.


Several co-ops are experiencing a surge of sea- soned personnel approaching retirement. Today’s co-op leaders are looking to the next generation workforce who will build on the legacy of co-op pioneers. Recruiting and retaining talented, young professionals is a priority for co-op man- agement. This new generation will become vital players in an ever-evolving industry. They will guide co-ops in delivering safe, reliable, and af- fordable electricity to over 42 million consumers nationwide. In Oklahoma, you can be assured your local electric cooperative places a high value on each employee. They are responsible for the quality and dependable electric service you and your family enjoy each day. New generations of co-op employees will continue to empower Oklahoma communities. I believe they will fi nd their career paths enduring and rewarding.


Supporting local businesses G


Kendall Beck President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


rowing up in the small east- ern Oklahoma town of Spiro,


I remember shopping downtown at local stores with my mom and dad. We knew the stores’ own- ers and the families behind each business. We went to


church and school with them, and I played sports with their kids. Even though gasoline was fairly cheap, we did not go out of town to shop much. My folks valued shopping locally to support our community. It was the small town environment of helping each other; we would consistently choose to stay home for our needs in order to help our friends make a living. Today, the advancement of big retail stores and


the revolutionary use of the Internet have brought countless ways to shop online or in ma- jor retail store chains. It is important, however, to remember local businesses and to do our part in supporting them. This edition of Oklahoma Living focuses on strengthening local economies


4


by shopping locally. The day of Nov. 28, 2015, has been designated “Small Business Day” and consumers will be encouraged to shop at small businesses. By nurturing connections with small town enterprises, we are helping our communi- ties thrive. Electric cooperatives understand the impor- tance of sowing seeds in their communities. Co- op employees, management and boards of trustees have a genuine interest in keeping their communities strong. Serving their neighbors— who are co-op member-owners—is at the core of each rural electric cooperative’s mission. Co-ops strengthen local businesses by providing avail- able grants, effi ciency rebates, special services and products and by empowering businesses with the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable electricity. In the month of November, I challenge you to shop locally. Find one or two businesses in your community that could use your support. Local stores will have products that are useful to you and your family. Remember that even if you spend a little more, your community will be bet- ter for it.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Chris Meyers, General Manager Kendall Beck, President


Gary McCune, Vice-President Scott Copeland, Secretary Larry Hicks, Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry, Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano, Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Daniel Yates, Advertising Manager dyates@ok-living.coop


Kirbi Mills, Offi ce Manager kmills@oaec.coop


Hillary Barrow, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. hbarrow@oaec.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Taryn Sanderson, Editorial Intern intern@oaec.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154 Phone (405) 478-1455


Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members.


$6.00 per year for non-members. Cooperative Members: Report change of


address to your local rural electric cooperative. Non-Cooperative Members: Send address


changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968),


USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 320,755


Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Association of Electric


Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley,


Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork,


Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest


Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


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