4 Empowerment HOW CAN WE HELP? The rain began falling Saturday evening, August 18, 2007, a deluge of historic proportions that descended from a stalled thunderstorm over southeastern Minnesota. As much as two inches poured on the town of Rushford each hour, swamping roads and breaching levees on Root River. At 5 a.m., Kaye Bernard’s phone rang. “Kaye, we have a problem,” CEO Brian Krambeer told his Chief Operating Officer of Tri-County Electric Cooperative. (After a merger, it is now called MiEnergy Cooperative.) “I’ll be right down,” Bernard said, springing out of bed. “Well, that’s the problem,” he said. “We don’t have an office anymore.” They drove as close as they could to their facility and saw linemen in duck boats, retrieving tools from the warehouse. Water submerged the cooperative’s basement and rose three feet high on the main floor. Twenty-five vehicles were engulfed in water — cars, bucket trucks, pickup trucks. While linemen took trucks from outlying warehouses and began a herculean effort to restore power — leaving behind disastrous flooding in their own homes — Bernard and Krambeer moved to high ground where they could receive cell service. One of their first phone calls was to NISC. The story of NISC’s response illustrates the cooperative’s core value of empowerment — the support for employees to make decisions in the best interests of Members. NISC’s other core values — integrity, relationships, innovation, teamwork and personal development — played a role as well. In Mandan, North Dakota, Mike Weber, today Sr. Manager in Member Support, had just turned on the Weather Channel as he fixed waffles for his family’s Sunday breakfast. He saw a report about the major storm and SHARED VALUES