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NRECA BLC 919.1 Cooperative Structure - A Strategic Advantage
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When: February 4, 2020
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Where: Stearns Electric Association
29643 Frontage Road
St Joseph, Minnesota  56374
United States
Contact: Gayle Karol

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NRECA BLC 919.1 Cooperative Structure: A Strategic Advantage

February 4, 2020 (T 8:30-4)
Stearns Electric Association, St. Joseph

The cooperative business model provides unique advantages to electric co-ops in today's challenging and shifting energy environment. Electric cooperatives that live their purpose and operate in accordance with the cooperative business model empower their members to improve their quality of life. This course is designed to help directors tap into the strategic advantage of the cooperative structure through greater understanding and use of the cooperative principles and values.


  • The meaning of a "cooperative culture" and the board's role in shaping it
  • Using a cooperative culture as a key component in your co-op's member engagement strategy
  • Moving from a monopoly mindset to a competitive one through the advantages of the cooperative structure
  • How the cooperative structure can attract and retain the next generation of co-op employees and leaders
  • Using the cooperative structure as a key driver of economic development in their service territory


“Cooperatives are the best business model on earth.”  —Adam Schwartz

Adam Schwartz, Founder, The Cooperative Way in  a strategic alliance with CDS Consulting Co-op

As the founder of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting all types of cooperative businesses succeed, Adam Schwartz is a passionate advocate for cooperatives. The Cooperative Way is a strategic partner with CDS Consulting Co-op, a shared services cooperative of 35 cooperative consultants.

Adam provides strategic guidance (for employees, boards and members) for organizations seeking to utilize cooperative principles and values as a primary force in serving their members and the community. He works with co-ops in all sectors from startups to very mature co-ops. In March of 2017 he spent 3 weeks in Madagascar working to help start a new vanilla farmer’s co-op.

He is an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington – College of Business in Fredericksburg, Virginia teaching about the cooperative business model. He teaches at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) executive training program about how to create a cooperative culture in your organization. He has guest lectured at numerous universities including Princeton, Ball State and University of California- Davis.

Prior to founding The Cooperative Way, Adam served as vice president for public affairs and member services from 2005-2011 for the National Cooperative Business Association.  From 2001-2005 Adam was Vice President of External Affairs for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative.  From 1992-2001, Adam was a senior legislative representative for the NRECA.

He is a frequent speaker and author on cooperative business. He writes a monthly column #Gocoop-The Future of Co-ops in NRECA’s RE Magazine. Adam has appeared on MSNBC and CNN to promote cooperatives as the better business model for economic and social change.

Adam on MSNBC:

Adam on CNN:

Cooperative directors, GMs/CEOs, IT managers and supervisors, managers of finance, accounting, engineering, and administration, budget analysts and statewide training coordinators.

Member: $571
Non-member: $671

Fairfield Inn & Suites
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$96/night  Ask for the MREA block rate

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