Earlier this month, NRECA hosted their annual CEO Close-Up Conference in Palm Desert, Ca., bringing together hundreds of CEOs/General Managers and industry partners to collaborate and discuss key areas of concern for electric cooperatives across the country. It was a great week of leadership and insight, with many innovative ideas shared.

On the first day of the conference, NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch sat down with Jim Bagley, CEO of United Electric Cooperative, Ryan Hentges, General Manager of Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative and Ron Salyer, President/CEO of Pioneer REC for a breakout session focused on technology management. The group shared their thoughts on adopting new technologies and ensuring efficiency and customer satisfaction in the process.

To hear portions of the session, please click the links below:

Management Challenge with Today’s Technology – Vern Dosch
Vern opens the session with a quick historical overview of simple billing systems and how smart phones are changing co-op’s consumer relationships. He describes how CEOs, without technology backgrounds, are having to make sense and manage technology solutions to keep their co-ops current.

Broadband – Jim Bagley, CEO, United Electric Cooperative (MO)
Jim talks about United Electric Cooperative’s broadband deployment, and how broadband is meeting the connectivity needs of more than 5,000 consumers and 900 local businesses in a sparsely populated area of northwest Missouri. He discusses both the benefits and challenges of United’s commitment to broadband service.

Investing in Technology, Culture & Member Experience – Ron Salyer, President/CEO, Pioneer REC (OH)
Ron describes himself as a non-technical CEO who is a “member services experiences guy.” Pioneer has made significant investments in technology to boost reliability and give consumers a great experience. Ron talks about investing in great tech talent, the payback of tech investments, collaboration within the industry, and how Pioneer has moved from being reactive to using technology to get ahead of system issues.

“A Member Class of One”: Managing Data & Consistent Business Processes – Ryan Hentges, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative (MN)
Minnesota Valley’s data resources have increased a thousand times in ten years, with the co-op now capturing 480 million records a year from its business. Ryan describes how technology helps the co-op meet the diverse urban and rural needs with the philosophy, “a member class of one.” He talks about the co-op’s focus on gaining value from its data, managing the challenges of “blinks,” technology for consistent business processes and how technology is guided by its strategic plan.