XI T H E P O W E R O F P O S S I B I L I T Y FOREWORD It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and this phrase in so many ways describes the beginning and history of NISC. I think often of the original group of Board Directors who understood that for electric and telecommunication systems across the country to deliver on their mission, they needed to embrace technology with the promise of greater efficiencies and better services for their members and customers. While it was impossible for those Board Directors in the 1960s to fully foresee the impact technology would have on their industries, they believed in the power of the cooperative business model. And so, the story of NISC — a story of determination, of what it means to be a technology trailblazer and pioneer — began in the most unlikely of places: St. Louis, Missouri, and Mandan, North Dakota. While many technology startups call Silicon Valley home, it is fitting that our technology startup began in the heartland of America and has remained here. As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we marvel at the wisdom of those original Directors, and gratefully acknowledge our present and past Board Directors and our Member systems who have collaborated with us to build NISC and accomplish what many said could not be done. We also humbly acknowledge the many employees who have devoted their entire careers to serving our Members and their colleagues here at NISC. This milestone provides us a moment to take a brief pause and revisit what has come before. But it’s just a brief pause, as we maintain our focus on the future and are excited about the challenges and opportunities it brings. We look forward to continuing to collaborate and work with you to build this technology cooper- ative and to do all we can to help your organization thrive through changes and deliver quality services. We hope you enjoy this book as much as we have enjoyed reliving the experiences to capture the story. Andwetrustthestorywillstirwithinyouaquietconfidencethat,together,wewillsuccessfullytacklethefuture. Take good care, Vern