For years, NISC’s Board of Directors was presented books containing all of the required documentation for NISC board meetings.
In April, they were presented tablets.
When they entered the NISC Board of Directors meeting in mid-April, each board member was handed a new Apple iPad, including access to all required documentation at the touch of a button through NISC’s Board & Meeting App.
“It was great,” said Sue Johnston, Executive Support Specialist at NISC. “We started the meeting off by handing them all their iPads, and they opened them up and started clicking away. We already had the app loaded for them, so all of the materials were there, but we started training a little bit. It’s very intuitive. It’s very easy to use.”
While the NISC Board of Directors had a traditional board meeting, the kickoff was anything but traditional. After receiving the iPads, Johnston, Vern Dosch, President and CEO, Dan Wilbanks, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Research, Development and Quality, and Brent Roberts, Senior Technologist, gave the board members a tutorial on the app and the iPad.
“I’m one of those board members that resists the electronic age to a certain extent,” said Harry Barnes of 3 Rivers Telephone, Secretary of the NISC Board of Directors. “I’ve seen other board members that cling to that three-ring binder full of paper. I know there are a lot of directors out there, both electric and telephone, that think it’s too hard, but I found the board app easy to navigate and easy to get into.”
When heading to NISC’s Lake Saint Louis, Mo., office for the board meeting, Barnes grabbed the wrong board meeting book, so he had little choice but to jump right in. While he was apprehensive at first, he found that the app allowed him to find information just as quickly as he had with his paper copy.
“I always liked the fact that when I had my three-ring binder, I could grab a tab, flip to it and find something really easily,” Barnes said. “I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do that with the electronic version, but the board agenda and everything is laid out right there on the left-hand side. I can jump to any tab just as easily as I did before.”
While the app is great for the board members – keeping all of the documentation in one place, in the same format – Johnston says it’s really designed with the executive administrators in mind.
“The bottom line is that it’s an app developed for the admin people,” Johnston said. “It’s great for the directors, because it’s easy to use and their documents are all right there, but basically it was developed for people like me. It’s going to be a very big plus for those admin people that struggle to get everything done in their timeframe.”
In the past, Johnston would develop books for each board member that could be more than 250 pages long. On top of that, she would publish CDs with digital copies of the information and utilize collaboration software to reach everyone in the correct format. If a last-minute change had to be made, it had to be made to all documentation, in every format.
With NISC’s Board and Meeting app, if a change needs to be made, it can be uploaded and pushed out to the board members instantaneously, even during a meeting. During the April board meeting, Johnston had to upload PowerPoint slides from Lockton that had not been received prior to the meeting.
“I remember looking at the insurance section in the morning, and the slides weren’t there,” Barnes said. “When Lockton showed up I said I didn’t get any information on this, but I hit that refresh button, and the PowerPoint was right there.”
Once the training was over, the Board of Directors continued to use their iPads throughout the meeting, taking notes and accessing the meeting agenda and other required information.
“I’m really amazed and happy with this app,” Barnes said. “I don’t need another piece of paper sent to me.”
Aside from taking a test drive of the NISC Board & Meeting App, NISC’s Board of Directors did have other business to attend to. One piece of business was to recognize the new Executive Committee, which includes:
- Chairman – Roger Yoder, Union Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. – Marysville, Ohio
- Vice Chairman – John Smith, Pella Co-op Electric Assn. – Pella, Iowa
- Secretary – Harry Barnes, 3 Rivers Telephone Cooperative – Fairfield, Mont.
- Treasurer – Wayne Whitaker, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative- Texarkana, Ark.
NISC would like to welcome each of you to the Executive Committee.