Pride in Performance

CREA Maintains Core Services Throughout 75th Year

By Kent Singer

Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director

We often talk about the seven cooperative principles when describing how electric co-ops are different from other electric utilities. Whether it’s our commitment to community, our belief in autonomy and independence, or our faith in cooperation among cooperatives, we hold these principles as the core values of our program.

One of the principles that is not as frequently mentioned is principle #5: how electric co-ops focus on education, training and communication. Principle #5 is the one that falls into CREA’s wheelhouse. The electric utility business is complicated and increasingly dynamic; CREA’s job is to provide opportunities for education and training for Colorado’s electric cooperative directors and staff members. We also do our best to inform our members about new developments in safety, government affairs and everything else that can impact day-to-day co-op operations.

For 75 years, CREA has supported Cooperative Principle #5 through in-person communication with our members: safety sessions, board meetings, the Energy Innovations Summit, annual meetings, peer group conferences, director training and national conferences and more. Then along comes 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly could have sidetracked CREA, a trade association that specializes in facilitating in-person meetings.

But it didn’t. Like all of your co-ops, we regrouped. We brainstormed about how we could continue to educate, train, inform and communicate with our members. We hosted weekly teleconferences with all of the co-op general managers. Liz set up myriad opportunities for remote director training. Dale and his team conducted frequent Zoom trainings with line crews. Geoff and Tim kept in frequent contact with members of Colorado’s General Assembly. Mona and the communications team supported all of CREA’s departments as they communicated new ways of delivering services while also making sure that Colorado Country Life maintained its publishing schedule.

In short, CREA didn’t miss a beat. We continued to provide the services you, our members, have come to expect from CREA, but in new and innovative ways. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with such great people, people who were determined to make it work. The CREA team is outstanding and completely dedicated to supporting Colorado’s electric co-ops.

In 1942, Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England, gave a speech in London just after British forces drove German troops out of Egypt. The victory provided a beacon of hope to a beleaguered British public. Churchill was asked if he wanted church bells to ring out across the city. Churchill declined, stating:

“Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

As I write this report, many thousands of Coloradans are being vaccinated against COVID-19 and many thousands more will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. While the supply of the vaccine is not yet adequate, it appears that more and more companies are developing effective vaccines for the current strains of the virus and perhaps those vaccines will be effective against the newer strains as well. We can all be hopeful that these vaccines signal the “end of the beginning” of the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado and around the world.

Until our world gets back to normal, CREA continues to do everything possible to find alternative ways of providing education courses, safety training, communication services and legislative advocacy. In the meantime, we want to thank all of you, the directors and staff of Colorado’s electric co-ops, for continuing to support CREA. We look forward to the day when we can all get back together in person and celebrate our co-op program, but more importantly rekindle friendships and make new acquaintances.

That’s the Co-op Way.