Commentary

Visiting co-op youth helped senator take on challenges

One of the greatest pleasures of my job as a state senator is meeting with my constituents. I realized at a very young age how important it is to meet with folks and talk to them one-on-one. As a teenager, a number of my ­siblings and I, walked door-to-door with my Dad as he helped […]

Cooperatives: A constant in a changing industry

Outside the Illinois Agriculture Association (IAA) building in Bloomington is a bronze statue of a man pushing a plow. Inscribed on a tablet nearby is the quote: “to plow a furrow, you must look ahead.” I’ve always liked that statue, and think often of the meaning behind that statement. If we as a cooperative, as […]

Overcoming challenges and changes is what co-ops do

“We had a simple mission and still do – ­provide reliable electric service to our ­cooperative members at an affordable price.” I have enjoyed my 36 years with Wabash Valley Power Association and rural electrification with the last 10 years as its CEO and I confess I’m also looking forward to enjoying my family more now […]

The Cooperative Way

During October we celebrate Cooperative Month. But why? Are cooperatives still relevant? Do they impact your life today? Do they help improve life in the communities they serve? Since you are reading this column in an electric cooperative sponsored magazine, I’ll assume you belong to at least one cooperative. Electric service came first to rural […]

Creating jobs in the heart of the heartland

I attended a conference at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on economic competitiveness in the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana region — yet downstate Illinois was never mentioned. The focus was on that great ­metropolitan region of about 12 ­million people, centered in Chicago. In addition, four major economic development plans have been done solely for that […]

We can all make a difference

In June I had the privilege of ­chairing a panel discussion that I wish all co-op members could have heard, especially our young co-op members. At a national electric cooperative meeting in Chicago, I sat down with two political veterans from both sides of the political ­spectrum, David Axelrod, who served as a Senior Adviser to President […]

Bluer skies, cleaner water and new technology

I recently retired from Menard Electric Cooperative after ­serving 16 years as General Manager, and wrapped up a 47-year career as a Professional Engineer and Manager for four different organizations. Illinois Country Living Magazine’s editorial staff asked me to write this article about “how things have changed over my career” because they know I must […]

County fairs contribute to community

I have been attending county fairs for over 65 years in one aspect or another. There could be a misperception out there that county fairs are just for farmers. That is the furthest from the truth of any statement ever printed. From the beginning of county fairs in Illinois it was a highlight of the […]

Planting seeds for the future

As spring arrives we immediately think about blooming flowers, corn planting season and planting seeds in our gardens. The legis­lative session also blossoms in both Springfield and Washington D.C. But I want to talk with you this month about the co-op programs that help plant the seeds of future leadership – the scholarship and youth […]

Five things I’ve learned about saving energy

It wasn’t long ago we were in the throes of below zero weather. While your heating bills this winter probably weren’t as bad as the ones we all experienced a few years back when fuel prices spiked, it is ALWAYS a good thing to plan a bit ahead and consider improving your home’s energy efficiency. […]