Flathead Electric Cooperative announces changes to its Annual Members’ Meeting. This year, the Co-op’s Annual Meeting & Energy Expo will be held Thursday, April 18 at Flathead Valley Community College’s Wachholz Center. The meeting is an open house-style event. Doors are open to members from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Members are encouraged to attend at any point in that time frame and to review the agenda to determine which events are most alluring to them. 

A bucket truck waving the American flag is always present outside of the Co-op’s Annual Meeting.

“Flathead Electric Co-op turns 87 this year, and for almost every year we’ve distributed electricity in the greater Flathead Valley, we’ve held a traditional breakfast business meeting for our members,” shares Katie Pfennigs, Community Relations Manager. “It’s time to change the meeting up! We want to meaningfully connect members to the not-for-profit electric Co-op that they own and help to govern.” 

The new Annual Meeting & Energy Expo is designed to offer something for residential members of all ages and nonresidential members, too. The Expo will feature interactive booths, activities, and subject matter experts suited to address a variety of energy interests. Linemen will conduct electric safety demonstrations outside the Wachholz Center. Staff members will man booths explaining the Co-op’s business model to members. Information about the Co-op’s many community giving programs will be available. A hydroelectric generation model is also included in the Expo. 

Co-op Operations Superintendent Allen Thorsen shows a young member the protective gear that linemen use for working on high-voltage power lines at the 2019 Annual Meeting. The 2024 Annual Meeting & Energy Expo will have many interactive and educational experiences for kids and adults alike. 

“There’s something for everyone,” shares Will Tutvedt, Community Outreach Specialist, “including Dan the Magic Man’s Electric Magic Show for kids of all ages, and a booth explaining what it means to be a cooperative member, with information about how excess revenue is returned to members as capital credits.” 

Pfennigs expands, “There’s also a booth exploring the Co-op’s responses to increased demand for electricity as our area’s population grows and changes the way it uses electricity. This growth means it’s essential for members to begin to work with their Co-op as active grid partners who help to manage electric demand. The re-imagined Annual Meeting and Energy Expo gives us an opportunity to re-visit that relationship.” 

A brief business meeting featuring expert energy industry speakers will begin at 5:30 p.m. Mark Johnson, General Manager of Flathead Electric Cooperative, and Patrick Barkey, Director of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, will discuss the state of the electric industry and specific issues impacting the greater Flathead Valley.  

Tia Robbin, Assistant General Manager—Administrative Services, summarizes, “After 86 years of traditional business meetings, the Co-op is reaching out to all ages and interests to make learning about the electricity that powers our area educational and fun. The Expo is open house-style, meaning you can drop by over several hours to check out the interactive booths staffed by Co-op experts. At 5:30 p.m., we’ll hold our short business meeting featuring speakers who are energy industry experts. Then, we’ll gather as a cooperative for dinner.” 

In addition to these learning opportunities, eligible high school seniors and current FVCC students may enter to win one of six $500 scholarship drawings. All members may enter to win prizes, including a Community Solar panel, Nest thermostat, Roomba, electric leaf blower, electric weed eater, outage prep kit with battery bank, and iPad. The grand prize is a $500 electric bill credit. Dinner will be served after the business meeting concludes.  

To enter the April 18 meeting, members should bring their Annual Meeting Notice, sent the week of March 25 via e-mail or postcard. The open-house style Annual Meeting and Energy Expo is open to members from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. FVCC’s Wachholz College Center is at 795 Grandview Drive in Kalispell. Learn more and RSVP at Annual Meeting – Flathead Electric Cooperative.

Co-op members can expect to receive the official notice of the Annual Meeting either by email or by postcard the week of March 25, 2024. Bring your email or postcard with you for ease of registration.

Courtney Stone

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