wilderness with snowy mountains in background

October is National Co-Op Month

Posted: October 1, 2018

Celebrating our Co-op Membership

Mark Hayden
Mark Hayden

I generally use this space to provide updates on new projects, developments in the energy industry, and report out on the progress of ongoing initiatives affecting the members of Missoula Electric Co-operative (MEC). I share these updates so that all members have a window into our priorities, progress and challenges. Each October however, my focus shifts toward celebrating the business model that makes us great. That’s because October is National Co-op Month, and it is an excellent opportunity to share the impact your co-op has on the communities we serve, likely in ways you may not even realize.

As part of the cooperative business model, one of our core principles is “Concern for Community.” While our priority is always to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, we view our role in the community as a catalyst for good. MEC and its employees intentionally partner with local groups such as Habitat for Humanity, local food drives, and Energy Share to assist those that need a helping hand. We also work hard to provide support to local civic and service organizations that make our communities a better place.

Your co-op works closely with our local schools to provide safety demonstrations, award college scholarships and provide thousands of dollars of equipment. MEC also participates in an annual Youth Tour where we take our community’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C. for a week-long immersion to experience democracy in action. The trip is inspirational for many students, and we are both humbled and honored to be a part of this leadership development journey. Ultimately, the larger community benefits from these programs because of you! You empower the co-op through your membership and through your participation in and support of these programs.

When you attend co-op events, alert us to problems, provide suggestions online or to our employees, you help us improve operations and thereby better serve the larger co-op membership. Because we are locally governed by members of our community, we are able to get a first-hand perspective on community priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments, such as the MEC Solarshare Community Solar programs, and emerging technologies like electric vehicle charging.

Our co-op leaders are locally elected, and attend important training sessions, participate in planning meetings and keep abreast of industry trends. This investment in time results in better informed advisors that serve the co-op’s interests in a way that our member owners expect and deserve.

We also appreciate the countless acts of kindness our lineworkers and other employees receive when they are working in severe weather and dangerous conditions. Our employees are thankful for your patience and consideration when we are trying to restore power during challenging situations and prolonged periods.

Missoula Electric Cooperative was originally established more than 82 years ago to bring electricity to our rural areas when no one else would, and thus the cooperative is a reflection of our local communities and their evolving needs. Together, let’s continue making our corner of Montana a better place, and take a moment to celebrate the business model that helped make it happen. We can’t do it without you, and for that, we’re thankful for your membership.