It was, as they say in Hollywood, a production nearly two years in the making.
While that was the promotion for Cecil DeMille’s epic 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments”—featuring the incredible special effect of the parting of the Red Sea—I am writing about something different: ORECA’s 79th annual meeting in Salem.
While we did not have a cast of thousands, more than 100 co-op leaders met at the Salem Conference Center in October to hear from industry experts on a variety of pressing issues. It was the first time we had been together as a group since late 2019, when no one had heard of the coronavirus.
The journey to get back together seemed epic enough for ORECA. While our information did not come down from the mount on stone tablets, we heard outstanding speakers on topics from cybersecurity to electric vehicles to hydropower.
I am proud of our agenda, but I was perhaps more excited to see members of my board and other co-op leaders, most of whom I had only seen virtually since the advent of the pandemic. It was great to honor some outstanding co-op leaders, such as Midstate’s Dave Schneider and Wasco’s Jeff Davis, who retired earlier this year and did not have the farewells they deserved.
There was a time we took these meetings for granted, and perhaps we will again. But getting together in person these days is not something we take lightly. I want to thank the Oregon co-op leaders and our associates who made the pilgrimage to Salem. It was great to see everyone. But I also want to recognize those ORECA members who could not make it or were not yet comfortable with this sort of gathering. We will get everyone the material from the conference.
Hopefully, we will meet again soon. ORECA will try to put on a great show, just like the legendary Cecil B. DeMille. Just don’t ask us to part the Red Sea.