From snacks to member engagement to the latest in electrical equipment, the 78th annual meeting of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives had a little bit of everything for everyone.

Judging by the smiling faces at the July 24-26 meeting, that diverse mix, held under the theme of “The Power of Us,” was a success. Some 300 participants attended the annual meeting, held at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.

The crumpets and lemonade served every afternoon represented a pleasant diversion from the serious business of the meeting, which featured the election of new officers and discussions of topics critical to electric reliability.

A golf tournament and a hospitality reception preceded the meeting kickoff on July 25, when outgoing VMDAEC Board Chairman Russell G. “Rusty” Brown turned the gavel to Wade C. House, a director at NOVEC. C. Michael Sandridge, representing BARC Electric Cooperative, was elected as vice chairman and George N. Goin, representing Central Virginia Electric Cooperative was elected as secretary-treasurer at the board meeting. Read the whole story here.

“This has been one of the highlights of my life,” said Brown, vice chairman of the board at Northern Neck Electric Cooperative. Brown also noted the association’s scholarship foundation, which he chairs, has now allocated nearly $1 million in awards to deserving high school students. “That makes a difference in the lives of rural youth,” he said.

The VMD board also heard reports from committee chairs and from CEO Brian S. Mosier, who discussed initiatives in safety and training, advocacy and communications. The association was pleased to receive checks for $95,000 from Federated Rural Insurance Exchange, $26,000 from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and $25,000 from CoBank.

The meeting’s attention turned to inspiration as Merril Hoge, a former running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, described his effort to get to the National Football League and then overcome cancer. He urged audience members to strive to be the best they can be.

Following Hoge’s speech, participants heard a discussion of supply-chain issues and then headed to an awards lunch, where Sheila Switzer, a stalwart at Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative, received the Distinguished Service Award. Read the complete story.

During breaks, participants toured the first VMD Vendor Expo, where they got a look at cutting-edge solutions and services.

An evening banquet full of laughs, a raffle and a silent auction raised about $63,000 for the scholarship foundation, as Sam Brumberg, association general counsel dressed in a ranger outfit, gently chided CEOs and staffers to give more and more to a worthy cause.

The 2023 annual meeting is scheduled for July at Lansdowne Resort in Northern Virginia.