The Cooperative Story - A New Energy
By Sean J. Vanslyke
Thank you to the member-owners who were able to attend SEMO Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting. The annual meeting is an event that separates us from most other service providers. We welcome the opportunity to gather and visit about the work we do to make your life better with electricity and broadband services. It is always nice to see familiar faces and say hello to new friends. We serve you.
There’s a quiet transformation happening across the nation. America’s smaller communities are changing in remarkable ways—while holding steadfastly to the values that, for generations, have made them the places people choose to build a better life for themselves and their families.
To embrace the beauty of a simpler lifestyle. To live independently; yet, to also be part of a community that looks out for neighbors. To grow in new ways, in new directions. To feed the world, change the world, build the future.
Because America’s rural communities may seem quiet—but scratch below the surface and you’ll find a whole lot happening. There’s a new energy here to go along with the more affordable, down-to-earth way to live that’s been here all along. And the opportunities to create something new have never been greater.
These are the communities served by America’s electric cooperatives – such as SEMO Electric Cooperative. You might think of us as the local electric company, and you’d be right: We’re led by members like you, created by and for the communities we serve. Electric cooperatives are community-focused organizations who work to deliver affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to our members. And every co-op is as unique as the community that shaped it, changing over time as our communities grow and change.
We’re local and we’re independent. But together, we’re mighty: across the country, local cooperatives work together and learn from one another to develop new technologies and infrastructure. And in the process, we bring electricity to one in eight Americans and over 19 million homes, businesses, farms, and schools in 47 states. Co-ops themselves provide 71,000 great jobs, invest billions in local economies every year, and are a driving force in helping attract and grow business and industry in rural America.
And America’s electric cooperatives aren’t just economic engines. They’re innovators, developing new ways to incorporate the benefits of cooperative solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy into a balanced energy mix. And we’re always looking for new ways to help our members save energy, save money and take advantage of the technology – such as GoSEMO Fiber – that’s changed the way we live.
It’s all part of the cooperative spirit. It’s always been one of the best things about living in our community. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. People working for the common good. Even as we celebrate our differences and our individual achievements, knowing that we can’t do everything alone—we’re all in this together. And we are stronger and better for it.
That’s community. That’s what fueled the co-op movement so many years ago—and it’s the source of our new energy today. The power of community is what being an electric cooperative is all about.
Book of the Month
“Our advice is simple. Forget retiring to an easy chair. That’s crazy. Work hard at the rest of your life, but do it your own way. Get into good shape. Then go and take some chances. Get to know new people. Work hard at relationships, and get involved in your community or some projects.” Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge – Younger Next Year
Be smart. Act safe.
Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative.