Outgoing NRECA President F.E. “Wally” Wolski spoke about his observations as a national co-op leader over the past decade. Image copyright NRECA 2011.
Several Tri-State directors and staff members are in Orlando this week attending the events of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) annual meeting. The opening general session featured singer Lee Greenwood, the Youth Leadership Council and presentations from NRECA CEO Glenn English and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.
A highlight of the annual event took place on March 6, when NRECA president and Tri-State director F.E. “Wally” Wolski completed his two-year term and chaired his final NRECA Board meeting. Board members elected Michael J. Guidry of Louisiana to serve as president for a term starting when the NRECA annual meeting concludes. “It’s been an honor and a privilege,” said Wolski, who received two standing ovations from board members and NRECA staffers.
Image copyright NRECA 2011.
On Tuesday, Wolski delivered a keynote speech to approximately 8,200 attendees from 47 states. He spoke about his two years as NRECA president being both the most rewarding and most intense of his life and underscored the unique model and benefits of the rural electric
The NRECA Annual Meeting got off to a spirited start with the Youth Leadership Council representing each state during the national anthem. Image copyright NRECA 2011.
cooperative program. “It allows ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things on behalf of others. I am living proof – a grassroots co-op member from Yoder, Wyo., from a small rural co-op, Wyrulec Company, having an opportunity to represent Wyoming on our national association. And then having the distinct honor of being elected by my peers to serve as the 34th president of NRECA is a humbling experience and one that I will always remember,” he said.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010, marked a significant milestone for the nation’s rural electric cooperatives. It was on that day 75 years ago that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that created the Rural Electrification Administration.
REA is hailed as having the greatest impact on rural American, credited with transforming a life of challenges into one of productivity and prosperity. Today, REA’s successor, the Rural Utilities Service, continues that mission by focusing on rural develop projects, financing electric, telecommunications and water and waste systems across the country.
“With the help of REA, electric cooperatives changed the way rural America works and lives,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s rural electric cooperatives are innovative leaders, delivering smarter infrastructure to deploy broadband and develop renewable energy.”
For the nearly 60 years of Tri-State’s existence (incorporated in 1952), the Westminster, Colo.-based wholesale power supplier to 44 electric co-ops and public power systems, has relied upon government-backed, guaranteed loans from the REA, and its successor the RUS, to help it fund needed power supply infrastructure to meet the growing requirements of its member systems.