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7/29/2019 to 7/30/2019
When: July 29 - 30, 2019
See event details.
100 Fourth Ave S.
St. Cloud, Minnesota  56301
United States
Contact: Gayle Karol, Marketing & Event Coordinator

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Energy Issues Summit pre-conference session:

New Director Orientation
July 29-30 (M 1-4:30pm, T 8-3pm)
Room: University B
BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelly Inn, St. Cloud

Other pre-conference meetings and training opportunities

Board Chair Round Table & Governance Workshop, July 30 (T 9-3:30 pm)

NRECA BLC 905.10 - Assessing Governance: Taking a Continuous Approach to Governing Your Co-op, July 30 (T 8-3pm)
Cooperative Network Sector Meeting, July 30 (T 4-5:30 pm)

Who Should Attend

Electric cooperative directors recently elected to their local board.



Day 1: Monday, July 29

Registration – meet and greet directors from other co-ops

1:00        Welcome, Introductions & MREA Overview  MREA’s director of education & communication, Krista Benjamin, welcomes new electric cooperative directors to the co-op family and provides an overview of MREA staff and services, including MREA’s education department.


1:30        Director Duties & Responsibilities  Attorney Chad Felstul from Pemberton Law provides an overview of director duties and responsibilities, fiduciary responsibilities to the organization you serve, a guide to policy making vs. implementation of policy, as well as communication roles you may need to handle as a director. (


2:15        STRETCH BREAK


2:30        Director Duties (cont’d)


3:15        Affiliated National Organizations – CFC  Regional Vice President Alison Deelstra introduces you to the electric cooperatives’ bank National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). (


3:45        Working with Your CEO: An Overview for New Directors  In this session Debra Englund, HRExpertiseBP, will help co-op directors learn best practices and principles for building and maintaining a healthy working relationship with your CEO / General Manager.


4:30        Adjourn


Day 2: Tuesday, July 30

8:00        Affiliated National Organizations – NRECA   Nobles Electric, MREA Director and Minnesota’s national board representative Ron Schwartau talks about the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and its membership programs. (



8:30        Electric Cooperatives & Politics   Darrick Moe, President & CEO of MREA will talk about the Cooperative Principles, benefits of local ownership and control, and some unique characteristics and statistics of electric cooperatives. We will also review a brief history of energy policy, including PURPA, PUCHA, PMAs and state service territory legislation and then have some time to discuss current political and regulatory challenges.  (


9:15        Affiliated Organizations: CoBank  Relationship Manager Cliff Bolstad introduces you to CoBank, rural America’s cooperative bank. (


9:35        STRETCH BREAK


9:45        Basic Co-op Finance  Connexus Energy Chief Financial Officer Mike Bash will discuss electric co-op finance and capital credits. The co-op board of directors is responsible for setting policy on equity levels and capital credit retirement strategies. (


11:00      STRETCH BREAK


11:10      Generation & Transmission   How does the generation and transmission cooperative fit into the picture? Andy Buntrock, Director of Strategic Planning & Communications at Basin Electric, will explain how electricity is generated, transmitted and distributed to the customer at the end of the line. (


12:15      LUNCH (Poolside)


1:15        Director Q&A Panel   MREA has invited a few seasoned directors to satisfy every question and curiosity you have about being on your co-op’s board.   

               - Tom Hayes, director, Brown County Rural Electrical Assn.

               - Deb Erickson, director, MN Valley Electric Cooperative

               - Joe Morley, director, East Central Energy


2:30        Review & wrap-up


3:00        Adjourn






This MREA seminar provides an orientation for new directors including an overview of board responsibilities, affiliated organizations, the rich history of co-ops and the rural electric program, legislative and regulatory concerns, and competitive pressures and changes occurring in the industry today. The orientation will help new directors understand industry terminology and issues discussed during the Energy Issues Summit.

BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelly Inn, 100 4th Ave. S., St. Cloud, MN  56301  320-253-0606

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