September 2019

Rocky Raider

POTUS’ Cabinet Member Visits Cooperative

By Sean J. Vanslyke

Regardless of politics, it was a rare opportunity for us to host the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Andrew Wheeler, a direct report to the President of the United States (POTUS) – for an agriculture round-table. We appreciate Congressman Jason Smith asking us to hold the event. It’s important elected officials in Washington, D.C., see the heartland of America and support rural Missouri. It’s important for us to stay connected to those who have the authority to make laws.

Did you know the President’s Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of the 15 executive departments – the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General? Additionally, the Cabinet includes the White House Chief of Staff and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Management and Budget, United States Trade Representative, Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Small Business Administration.

Smith Wheller Visit

The event was a good learning experience for Team SEMO. Wheeler’s advance team arrived six days prior to the event for a facility walk-through, to plan the layout of the meeting room and to a conduct a security risk assessment. Special Agent Brian, Special Agent Nick and Special Agent Jeb were serious about all matters related to visitors’ access to doors, gates, etc. Advance Associate William focused on the meeting room, tables, chairs, microphones and backdrops.

On the day of the event, Special Agent Brian arrived early to ensure all instructions were being executed as planned. Advance Associate William also arrived early to check the position of flags and to make sure the green room was ready. The cooperative’s boardroom served as the green room, which was a private area for Wheeler and Smith to collect their thoughts and for us to mic both men prior to the round-table.

In the end, Smith, an avid supporter of rural America, was able to show Wheeler the role southeast Missouri, home to the most diverse agriculture found anywhere in the country, plays in feeding the world. We are important to the world.

Book of the Month

“The first rule of Advance – Advance men are supposed to be invisible.”Steven Jacques – Advance Man

Be smart. Act safe.


Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative. The photo is Sean greeting Andrew Wheeler, the 15th Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as he arrives at SEMO Electric Cooperative.

Ps; We are installing fiber-fast internet in the Benton-Kelly area.