59th Annual Meeting Focuses on Economic Impact of Montana’s Cooperatives
By Guy Gregory,
MCDC Communications Specialist
The second day of the MCOC 59th Annual Meeting began with a panel of co-op industry leaders briefing members about their respective sectors. Panel Speakers included Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association Interim CEO Gary Wiens, Montana’s Credit Unions VP of Relationship Management Ranel Smith, Montana Telecommunications Association General Manager Geoff Feiss, and Farmers Union Oil Company CEO/General Manager Cory Vorderbruggen.
Following the panel, MCDC Executive Director Janice Brown discussed the most recent Economic Impact Study of Montana’s Cooperatives. She highlighted the findings from MSU’s analysis of 2017 economic data from the 100 cooperatives that completed the survey… Here is a summary of the results:
Table 1. Montana Revenue, Jobs, and Wages Created and Membership in Cooperatives
After Brown’s presentation, Marty Tuttle, Acting Director of the Montana Department of Commerce, and Kim Mangold, Deputy Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture, explained the proposed legislative re-authorization of Montana’s 2019 Economic Development Programs. An additional perspective on the proposed 2019 state budget was then shared by Governor Steve Bullock’s Budget Director Tom Livers.
Following lunch, Janice Brown briefed the audience about the ongoing Montana Cooperative Impact Project, an educational program for the next generation funded by the CHS Foundation. She presented an illustrated slide show of the five Cooperative Impact Weeks that were held across Montana during 2018.
MCOC members then convened their Annual Business Meeting to conduct elections and hear management updates for the year. Re-elected to the board of directors were:
District 1: Tom Dedman, Southeast Montana Federal Credit Union
District 3: Dave Kelsey, Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative
District 5: Ben Boreson, Nemont
District 7: Remains vacant due to no nominees
The members were briefed on a proposal to more closely integrate the educational work of the Council with that of the Montana Cooperative Development Center, and to develop one marketing brand called the “Montana Cooperative Alliance”. The members voted to table proposed changes to the bylaws that would have removed specified dues amounts and reduced the number of directors on the board. The majority of those voting wished to have more time to study the proposed changes.
Once the Annual Business Meeting concluded, the MCOC Board of Directors convened their reorganization meeting to elect officers for 2019. Ben Boreson was elected President, Clarence “Fritz” Keller was elected Vice President, and Dave Kelsey was reelected as Secretary/Treasurer. The board agreed to move ahead with integrating MCOC and MCDC outreach and educational efforts under the “Montana Cooperative Alliance” brand, which will include greater coordination between websites and social media development.
The MCOC Board adjourned before the Council’s Legislative Dinner, held that evening in the Delta Hotels Helena Colonial Ballroom. The popular reception and dinner, held each Legislative session, set a record in attendance. More than 100 people gathered for cocktails and a free plated buffet dinner to network with MCOC members and learn about the latest Economic Impact Report on Montana’s Cooperatives.