59 A COOPERATIVE SPIRIT CHAPTER THREE opers would rewrite the software in the new Java language in an endeavor known as Project Discovery. The name evoked the Lewis and Clark “Corps of Discovery” expedition, which began near St. Louis and traveled up the Missouri River, where the Mandan tribe helped them survive their first winter. The Board unanimously approved the plan in 2001, launching the software development that became iVUE. “Once we made the decision to write iVUE with the latest technology at the time, we truly became a software development company,” says Brent Roberts, a Sr. Manager of Research and Development. “That was a monumental decision. It became a part of our culture, constantly staying on top of technology.” Project Discovery began with a leap of faith. NISC didn’t have the deep cash reserves it needed to fund the rewrite, estimated at $10 million. The company secured a $6 million line of credit from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation but never used it. Instead, Members voluntarily loaned money for the NISC metamorphosis — totaling more than $8 million — the ultimate sign of trust in the cooperative way. Basin Electric Power Cooperative showed its support for the new venture by lending $1 million. Dan Wilbanks introduces iVUE at the 2003 Member Information Conference. Wilbanks was instrumental in the development of the code that would be at the heart of the newly formed NISC.