Adam Schwartz leads training at the Spring RoundUp in Virginia Beach. (Photo By: Jim Robertson)

Cooperative directors gathered in Virginia Beach April 14-15 for valuable training at the annual Spring RoundUp hosted by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. The interactive two-day event included roundtable discussions and thought-provoking topics.

Scott Peterson, senior vice president of communications for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, led off the training with a presentation describing the various social media platforms and explaining a co-op director’s role within them.

The remainder of the training was provided by Adam Schwartz, founder of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting all types of cooperative businesses. A passionate advocate for cooperatives, Schwartz focused heavily on values during the first day. While earning NRECA credit, directors were challenged the next day in the NRECA Board Leadership course with analyzing the advantages of the cooperative business model, co-op culture and engagement, and ensuring their co-op is a key driver of community development.

“Training opportunities like this allow me to be the best representative I can for the members of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative,” said Mary Catherine Jones, NNEC director. “It will help me in my role to help the co-op in its mission to improve the quality of life in our communities. I am thankful to have had this opportunity and experience through the VMDAEC.”

Prince George Electric Cooperative director Herbert Patrick was thrilled with the training. “It’s been a blast. This is a good training process. Everybody’s involved. We’re learning a lot,” he said.

Jim Belote, director at A&N Electric Cooperative, said, “It was very informative and made you think. Everyone was a participant, not an observer, and I gained the knowledge I needed to help make the right decisions in the future.”

Opportunities like this are consistent with the cooperative principle of Education, Training and Information. Education and training for members, directors, CEOs and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives.

—Report by Jim Robertson, Director, Special Projects, VMDAEC