Well, that went fast. It was 10 years ago last month that the Cases rolled into Oregon from Washington, D.C., during one of the most historic blizzards to ever hit Portland—a welcome mat with 3 feet of snow on it.
At the time, our kids were small and wildly talkative. They are no longer small and sometimes barely utter anything to us at all. Teenagers do that.
Things change, but one thing has never changed during my decade at the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association: the commitment of our members to doing the right thing by providing affordable, reliable and safe electricity to Oregonians every single day. But it’s not the same people. Since I arrived in that storm, most of the original CEOs of our 18 co-ops have retired. A group of experienced, service-minded leaders has been replaced by the next generation of leaders who are becoming legends in their own right. Much credit needs to go to the co-op boards of directors who take their hiring responsibilities seriously.
During our annual meeting, I always say the most important business of the day is not the high-powered panels or expert speakers. It is our awards ceremony, during which we recognize our best and brightest. After all, it is not the co-op legacy or our hydropower that makes this program great. It is our people.
In 2019, I resolve to more fully appreciate and recognize those co-op leaders who go the extra mile for our members and ORECA. It is a long list. I can’t wait to see what this year—and the next 10 years—will bring. But I’d prefer to leave the snow shovel in the garage.