Communicators from 14 electric cooperatives met Nov. 17-19 at the Electric Cooperative Training Center in Palmyra, Va. for the first VMD Association Communicator Workshop in several years.

The event featured a variety of speakers, roundtables and presentations on issues affecting communicators. From NRECA, Maura Giles discussed the Young Adult Member Engagement Project-Phase II, while Lori Everhart of Touchstone Energy outlined current developments in member engagement and brand loyalty, as well as several programs that TSE offers.

Longtime journalist and co-op communicator Michael W. Kahn offered insights into effective writing, while Heather Holbrook, a consultant and former co-op communicator, presented a morning-long media training session on Nov. 19.

Also speaking were Carrie Schweikart, sales rep for Quad, which prints Cooperative Living, and Mark Adeszko, CEO of American MainStreet Publications, who stressed the importance of written publications to rural audiences.

Communicators offered their experiences in roundtable formats that touched on press releases, social media, community engagement, social media and broadband and crisis communications. The VMD Association thanks all communicators for their participation, as well as ODEC for sponsoring the Nov. 17 dinner and HALO Branded Solutions for sponsoring the Nov. 18 lunch.

Presentations from the conference are available for review at

—Report by Steven Johnson, Vice President, Communications, VMD Association

Above Photo: VMD Communicators meet in front of the Storm Soldier statue at the Electric Cooperative Training Center. (Photo By: Jim Robertson)