The Powder River Energy Corporation Annual Meeting brings its members, directors, and employees together to discuss the cooperative’s performance in the past year, elect board members, and hear reports on other cooperative activities. The 2018 Annual Meeting was held Saturday, August 25, at the Gillette Cam-Plex. The 2019 Annual Meeting date and location will be announced later this year.
WATCH VIDEOS OF THE 2018 ANNUAL MEETING:
- Regular Meeting: President's Report; Financial Report; Legal Report; Special Guests
- Foundation Report
- CEO Report and closing
More than 220 PRECorp Members registered for the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting at the Gillette Cam-Plex on Saturday, August 25.
Thank you to all the members and their families who attended. This is the highest attendance at a PRECorp Annual Meeting in at least 20 years!
The event featured voting for three seats on the Board of Directors. Paul Baker (Crook County), Mike Lohse (Johnson County), and Jim Baumgartner (Sheridan County) were re-elected to three-year terms.
Many members took advantage of free wellness blood draws provided by Wyoming Health Fairs, and body scans from Spiral Health. Another group of members went on a special tour of the Dry Fork Station Power Plant north of Gillette.
More than 400 members were treated to a special barbecue beef lunch from Sue Collins Catering and pre-meeting entertainment from Brian McCollum. Special guests included U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Wyoming State Treasurer (and PRECorp member) Mark Gordon.
There was some cooperative business to accomplish during the day, including the delivery of reports from PRECorp Board President Walt Christensen, Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Geis, and CEO Mike Easley. Videos of these reports are available for viewing online at www.precorp.coop/annual-meeting.
PRECorp Board Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Geis presented information on the cooperative’s finances. "We sold 2.27 billion kilowatt hours, which is a lot of electricity. In our sales we’re in the top four percent of the 800 coops in the nation so we’re real proud of that. All of our members are the ones that make that work," Geis said.
Geis highlighted the cost of purchased power and the amounts of Capital Credits that are returned to members each year. He also pointed out the cooperative’s support for the community through donations, sponsorships, scholarships, and other support services. "That’s our mission, to be reliable and affordable for all of our members," he said.
CEO Mike Easley delivered a forward-looking assessment of not only the electric cooperative, but the energy industry in general. He also discussed PRECorp’s work to adapt to changing economies and technologies to bring down costs to the end consumer. "Many of these opportunities aren’t available to us today, but should we let today be what sets the limits for our tomorrow, for our future? I say ‘no’," Easley said. "It’s our responsibility to do all we can to position PRECorp for the future by setting a clear vision."
Easley said PRECorp is working to expand thinking beyond what has been traditional and prepare for the rapidly increasing rate of change. "Much like Wyoming, we are diversifying the way we think about things. Our goal is to be ahead of the curve, not behind it."
Cooperative Attorney Mark Hughes informed the members of a review of the alignment of PRECorp bylaws with state statutes governing the bylaws for energy cooperatives. Depending on the outcome of this review, additional information will be shared with the membership in the coming months regarding a potential vote on bylaw changes at the 2019 meeting.
PRECorp Foundation Executive Director Jeff Bumgarner also gave a brief update on the Foundation’s activities since 2017. Since inception the Foundation has given $875,000 back to communities and charitable causes. The funds are distributed to four main focus areas of health and human services; arts and education; scholarships; and civic and community needs. "Key focus areas continue to be on feeding the hungry, veterans and veterans services, emergency services, at-risk children and families and other community needs as they come up," Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner also announced that the Foundation made a $10,000 donation to the Campbell County Hospital Foundation toward the fund that will enable the hospital in Gillette to no longer have to rent cancer treatment equipment for residents of northeast Wyoming. CCHF Executive Director Nachelle McGrath said, "With the support of this grant… we are so close to getting that equipment permanently placed in our cancer treatment center, so everybody in Campbell County and the rural areas that surround us won’t have to travel for their cancer treatment. Thank you very much!"
Earl Christensen Award
In a surprise to finish out the day, Walt Christensen presented the Earl Christensen Award to Mike Easley for his demonstration of the cooperative spirit. Christensen highlighted Easley’s work in local, state, and national initiatives and strategic planning for the good of northeast Wyoming.
"Mike has been an active advocate for the energy industry… by bringing diverse interests to the table for creation of worthwhile projects for the benefit of all," Christensen said. "There are times when Mike is the lone voice at the beginning, but his ability to bring people together and move interests in the same direction, truly demonstrates his commitment to the cooperative spirit."
"I’m so honored to be given this award because of the folks who have been given this award - and its namesake - are true icons in the coop world," Easley said.