The event, at the Gaylord National Resource & Convention Center on the banks of the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Md., brought together about 300 co-op leaders and another 150 online from 15 states in the East and Midwest, organizers said.

The regional is a milepost in formalizing resolutions that are at the heart of co-op governance and policies. Committees from both regions approved a package of nine new and amended resolutions dealing with assistance to rural communities, carbon capture and storage, hydropower and other issues.

The resolutions approved at the five NRECA regionals this fall will come up for consideration as a governing document at the NRECA annual meeting March 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

“For the first post-pandemic regional meeting, it went very well and it was great seeing everyone in person,” said Brian Mosier, president and CEO of the VMD Association, the host statewide for the meeting. “We had strong representation with CEOs and directors from several of our co-ops, and we were able to share ideas and get updates on key issues that are important to our members.”

NRECA Virginia Director John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, delivers the invocation at the Regions 1&4 CEO Breakfast that featured a conversation with NRECA CEO Jim Matheson and CFC CEO Andrew Don. (Photo By: Steven Johnson)

Ordinarily, the host statewide hands out complimentary gifts at regional meetings, but NRECA opted out of that this year as a way of eliminating some face-to-face contact.

John C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and NRECA Virginia Director, delivered the invocation at a breakfast of CEOs. Olin Davis, a director at Choptank Electric Cooperative and NRECA Maryland Director, presided at the first general session on Sept. 8.

John Hewa, president and CEO of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, had a featured role on Sept. 10 as one of the presenters at a forum on “Strengthening Communities: Co-ops as Catalysts for Thriving, Not Just Surviving.”

Hewa outlined some of the steps that REC has taken to build communities in its sprawling service territory, focusing on how the cooperative has reached to members for traditional community programs, economic development and broadband. “It takes a lot of different partnerships at the table to make these things happen,” he said. (For more, see the October Cooperative Living.)

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative directors George Goin (l) and Frank Baber enjoy the regional meeting. (Photo By: Steven Johnson)

Meeting participants also heard from NRECA CEO Jim Matheson and NRECA President Chris Christensen on the common challenges facing cooperatives. Christensen emphasized the way in which ongoing training and education among co-op employees contributes to organizational strength.

NRECA Chief Scientist Emma Stewart also discussed the numerous threats of cyberattacks and ransomware, cautioning co-ops to be more vigilant than ever. “Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem and everyone’s challenge,” she said. “Think like a bad guy; protect your information.”


— Report by Steven Johnson, Staff Writer, VMDAEC

Above photo: NRECA Maryland Director Olin Davis, representing Choptank Electric Cooperative, presides over the Regions 1&4 meeting. (Photo By: Steven Johnson)