JUNE 19, 2017 – Last week, DMEA and more than 300 members came together to celebrate the spirit of rural communities at the 2017 Annual Meeting of Members. The event featured family fun, dinner, and educational booths. DMEA and Elevate Fiber representatives spoke with members about how to save energy, community programs, Gigabit speed internet, and much more. A highlight for many were the bucket truck rides, where attendees got a bird’s eye view of Hotchkiss High School and the surrounding peaks.
“We’ve worked to transform our meeting into a true community night: a time for friends and neighbors to gather together and celebrate. It’s an opportunity for our employees from operations to customer service to engineering to meet some of the people they work for every day. Likewise, our members get to see and experience all different aspects of the co-op. Of course, the bucket truck rides were my sons’ favorite part, as I’m sure was the case for most kids!,” said Virginia Harman, VP of Member Relations and HR.
The business meeting included brief updates from DMEA’s CEO, Jasen Bronec, and board president, Bill Patterson. They touched on DMEA’s continued efforts to diversify its power supply, control costs, and expand access to truly high-speed internet throughout the service territory. DMEA also announced an uncontested election for three seats on its Board of Directors, a situation that has occurred only two other times in the co-op’s 79-year history. The results follow:
- District 6: Damon Lockhart was elected as the District 6 representative. He replaces Terry Brown, who chose not to run for another term.
- District 7: Incumbent, Mark Eckhart was elected for his 2nd consecutive term.
- North Region: Incumbent, John Gavan was elected for his 2nd consecutive term.
The meeting also featured a keynote speech by Diane Smith, a rural entrepreneur who spoke about how important rural Americans are to the success of our country. Diane recounted her experiences working in corporate America and Washington D.C. and her transition to living in the small town of Columbia Falls, MT. Her main point: the people who live in rural communities already know how to get the important things done.
“We all know that the people who live in our communities have always accomplished tremendous things. Our members are resourceful, determined, and spirited. It’s those qualities that drove our first members to found DMEA and today, it’s those qualities that have brought Elevate to life,” said Harman.