Photo of Ted CaseAny organization is smart to look ahead, but occasionally you also need to return to your roots.

In January, the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board of Directors undertook a strategic planning session to look at the association’s future. ORECA is involved in a wide range of activities: legislative and regulatory advocacy, education and training, and safety programs for our cooperatives. We discussed these programs at length and evaluated some important recommendations going forward. We also decided to add a program to our plate that is a throwback to an earlier time.

At our meeting, the ORECA board approved an initiative to begin raising funds and securing crews for an ambitious rural electrification project in Guatemala in 2019–2020. As stated by ORECA President Dave Schneider in our feature story this month, this project is an attempt to return to our roots: bringing electricity to those who wouldn’t otherwise have it, just like it was for Oregon’s electric co-ops 80 years ago.

I have no illusions that our Guatemala project will be easy or without complications, but I suspect that when the lights are turned on in these villages, it will be one of the most worthwhile endeavors we’ve ever been a part of.

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

A few weeks ago, the Oregon electric cooperative family lost one of its great thinkers—and gentlemen—when former Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative Director Ed Dowdy died.

Dowdy was a nuclear engineer and former U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Energy science adviser, including during negotiations of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. He was also associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. In addition to being whip smart, Ed was a great friend of ORECA.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Ted Case
Executive Director