Feb 2015 - Empire Electric Association, Inc.

[Echoes of the Empire]
Farewell and Thanks
As you know, I retired as general
manager on December 31, 2014.
After 35 years of working for
Empire Electric Association (28 as
general manager), I find it particularly humbling to offer a final
After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1979 with
a Bachelor of Science degree in
electric engineering, I was offered a
job to go to work for a rural electric
cooperative in Cortez. I had no
Neal and Becky Stephens leave Cortez after 35 years.
idea what a nonprofit cooperative
was or that I was beginning a 35Electrification Administration. The best
year career. I eventually accepted
business model recommended by the
the engineering manager’s job when Vic
REA was a not-for-profit cooperative
Jacobs retired in 1983 and the general
model. Members organized and formed
manager’s job when Everett Johnson
Empire in 1939, and Empire has provided
retired in 1986.
electric utility service for over 75 years
One of my favorite mission statements
came from the Montezuma-Cortez School now. Keeping members first has worked
well for Empire.
District. It was simple, yet picture-perfect
Without question, our members have
with respect to focusing the mission of
elected “best-in-class” directors for
the district. “Kids First” resonated with
I am honored, privileged
me, and I adopted a similar internal
worked for so many
mission statement as I managed Empire
excellent directors (28) over the last 28
Electric. My internal mission statement
became “Members First.”
Without question, our most valuable reEmpire exists for one purpose. Rural
is our employees. Empire is what it
residents in southwestern Colorado and
is because of the dedication and commitparts of southeastern Utah wanted elecment employees make every day to keep
tric utility service and the only organizathe lights on, and to do it safely, efficiently
tion willing to finance it was the Rural
and reliably. Keeping the power on
99.9 percent of the time for almost
two decades is incredible, and it
has everything to do with our most
valuable resource. It has been a
pleasure working with professional
best-in-class employees over my
tenure with the cooperative.
Together, we (members, directors and employees) accomplished
much during my tenure, and dealt
with some very serious issues as
well. I am confident the current
board and new General Manager
Josh Dellinger will continue in this
tradition and continually improve
the cooperative’s mission as they deal
with the uncertainties of the future.
Empire’s members own a best-in-class
quality organization worthy of your support. The future will not be easy as many
regulatory mandates are on their way
that will ultimately impact electric rates.
I encourage all of Empire’s members to
stay involved and support the positions
developed by your new management and
I am thankful I had the opportunity to
work for an excellent organization and to
raise a family in the Cortez community
for 35 years.
I conclude with a generous thank you
and a humble goodbye. May God bless all
of you.
“It has been a pleasure working with professional best-in-class
employees over my tenure with the cooperative.” — Neal Stephens
[Echoes of the Empire]
My Co-op Message
Visit www.eea.coop to see how you can save on your
energy bill by replacing incandescent bulbs with other
energy-saving lights such as LEDs. Click on Save Energy at
the top of the home page; go to the Energy Calculators,
then Lighting. While you’re there, check out the other
calculators and the Analyze Your Bill link to find out how
your whole house can become more energy efficient.
My Co-op Calendar
February 2...........................................................Groundhog Day
February 13................................................ EEA’s Board Meeting
February 14...........................................................Valentine’s Day
February 16............................................................Presidents Day
February 16.............................Scholarship Applications Due
My Co-op Reminder
Student and adult scholarship applications are due
February 16, 2015. Applicants must be members of Empire
Electric Association. Scholarship application forms are
available on the Empire Electric Association website at
www.eea.coop or at Empire’s headquarters, 801 N. Broadway, Cortez. High school students may also pick up forms
at their high school guidance counselor’s office. For more
information about Empire Electric’s scholarship program,
contact Ginny Johnson at 970-564-4490 or email ginny.
[email protected]
March 8
Energy Efficiency Tip
of the Month
Did you know that 90 percent
of the energy used to operate
a washing machine comes
from using hot water? A simple
switch from hot to cold can
Bull Kissing Kitty by Judy Malarchick
“What do you call a very small valentine?”
“A valentiny!”
save a great deal of energy.
Also, consider air drying or even
line drying to save even more
household energy.
— U.S. Department of Energy
[Echoes of the Empire]
Announcing the 2015 Youth Trip Winners
Each year, Empire Electric sponsors students for state and national youth trips to deepen their knowledge of electric cooperatives, boost their leadership skills and help them interact with
local, state, and national government officials. All interested
juniors from local schools are eligible.
Students are encouraged to creatively promote themselves
when sharing their desire to attend the trips. The selection committee of board directors and staff considers other criteria that
includes the completeness of the application, school activities
and community volunteering. The high-point scorer is selected
for the Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., and one junior from
each school is selected to attend the Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs.
The 2015 Youth Tour winner is Jessica
Gutierrez. Jessica attends Mancos High
School and will join more than 1,500 other
students from across the United States in
June during the Washington, D.C., trip.
She is inspired by her parents, Rogelio and
Teresa Gutierrez, who came to the United
States because of the opportunities available
for their children. Her career objective is to become an immigration lawyer. All of Jessica’s activities can’t be listed here, but they
include an internship at Colorado Legal Services, drama, sports,
leadership roles and community service. A recurring theme
in Jessica’s application was giving back, as expressed here in a
direct quote: “I believe that when something is offered to you,
it isn’t just for the taking. In my mind, one of our hands is to
receive and our other hand is to give.”
Congratulations to the following students selected to attend
the Leadership Camp held in Steamboat Springs in July.
The Dolores High School representative is Larissa Umberger, the daughter of
Jason and Jill Umberger. Her community
involvement includes the Salvation Army
Thrift Store, flood clean-up with Outdoor
Colorado, a Thanksgiving food drive,
Christmas shopping for children, PTA
family craft night and blood drive. Larissa
is active in sports, student government and leadership roles. She
is a National Honor Society student. Her future plan includes a
bachelor’s degree in math, science or education.
Case Baughman, the Dove Creek High
School representative, is the son of Shane
Baughman and Kim Bailey. Case excels
both in the classroom and on the playing
field. His extracurricular activities include
National Honor Society, Future Business
Leaders of America, Students Taking Action against Underage Drinking, football,
wrestling, baseball and track. Case wants to get his master’s
degree in history with a career goal of becoming a writer and
The Mancos High School representative is
Anna Cox, the daughter of Terry and Dana
Cox. Anna is involved at school and still finds
time to volunteer in the community. She participates in basketball and volleyball and manages the boys basketball team. Her leadership
roles include student council, Youth Adult
Partnership Training, class officer positions
and Omni Institute. Anna was inducted into the National Honor
Society in February. Her community service includes the Sugar
Pine bike rally, Grace’s Soup Kitchen, elementary mentoring, assisting with toy and food drives and other community functions.
As Anna mentions in her application, living at the Cox Family
Ranch also entails chores like moving side rolls during the irrigating season and feeding livestock year-round.
The Montezuma-Cortez High School
representative is Judy Ha, the daughter of Chi
Ha and Lisa Yang. Judy is an honors student
interested in government, history, psychology,
philosophy, music, cross-country track and
the Panther Press. Her other interests include
Upward Bound, dance, traveling, origami,
magic, drama, swimming and reading. She
also volunteers for Trails 2000, Durango Food Bank, Shop with
a Cop, Teen Maze, Adopt-A-Highway, Santa’s Helpers and Salvation Army bell-ringing. Judy is looking forward to building her
leadership skills and sharing her experiences and knowledge
with new acquaintances.
The Monticello High School representative
is Lashay Lewis, the daughter of Kurt and
Tamra Lewis. Lashay is a high achiever, not
only in academics, but also in leadership and
citizenship activities. She is a National Honor
Society member (and actively participates in
its fundraising), the junior class vice president, on student council and an eight- year
member of Fair Farmers Lamb Club. She also participates in
several other organizations. Lashay has a long list of citizenship accolades related to livestock competitions and community
service. In addition, she is a team player in basketball, volleyball
and golf. In 2014, Lashay entered the cedar chest competition at
the San Juan County Fair and won a blue ribbon. Her outside interests include sports, four-wheeling, swimming, hiking, boating
and service to her community.
Jens Brewer, a Monticello High School
senior, is representing Empire Electric as an
ambassador at the Leadership Camp this
year. He attended camp in 2014 and was
selected by his peers to return and assist new
campers when they arrive and encourage
their involvement throughout the week. Jens
is the son of David and Marti Brewer.
[Echoes of the Empire]
Empire Electric Association 2015 Annual Meeting
Members of Empire Electric Association, Inc.: Pull out your 2015
calendar and enter Thursday, June 18, as the date for Empire’s 2015
annual meeting. It is currently scheduled to be held at Empire
Electric’s Calvin Denton Room, located at 801 N. Broadway, Cortez, Colorado. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. with the meeting
beginning at 6 p.m. This will be a business meeting only. Members
who attend will get a $10 credit on their electric bill. If it becomes
apparent that a large number of members will attend, the location may change and you will be notified of the change.
If you are interested in serving on Empire’s seven-member
board of directors, the bylaws require the following qualifications
to become or remain a director. The director shall:
• Be a member of the cooperative.
• Be a bona fide resident of the district represented.
• Be a citizen of the United States of America.
• Be at least 18 years of age.
• Not be an employee of the cooperative.
Two district seats are open for election in 2015. They are
District 5 (Kent Lindsay, incumbent) and District 6 (Dave Sitton,
incumbent), broadly described as follows:
istrict 5 is generally the southwestern portion of Empire's
service area including Towaoc and the western part of the
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, a portion of the city of
Cortez, McElmo Canyon and part of Empire's Utah territory.
istrict 6 is generally the southeastern portion of Empire's
service area including the town of Mancos, a portion of the
city of Cortez, the eastern part of the Ute Mountain Ute
Tribe Reservation and all of Mesa Verde National Park.
The map on the right will give you an idea if your bona fide
residence is within District 5 or 6. If you are interested, call 970565-4444 or stop by Empire’s headquarters at 801 N. Broadway in
Cortez (ask for Josh Dellinger or Denise Rosenbaugh). Once you
are assured you qualify, pick up an official nominating petition
form to get your name on the 2015 ballot.
Nominations are by petition only and must include the signa-
ture of at least 15 members of the cooperative whose bona fide
residence is within your district. Qualifying candidates must file
the official nominating petition with the cooperative’s secretary
within a 45-day window beginning March 20, 2015 and ending May
4, 2015. The secretary will post a list of qualifying nominees at the
end of the work day on May 4, 2015.
Each member of the cooperative is entitled to one vote on
all issues properly brought before the membership, including
the election of directors. Members may vote either in person at
the annual meeting or through mail-in ballots. Mail voting shall
be through ballots provided by the cooperative and shall be
received by 5 p.m. June 12, 2015. All members are strongly encouraged to vote.
Again, please contact Josh Dellinger or Denise Rosenbaugh if
you have any questions. We hope to see you at the meeting.
Each year, co-op members volunteer financial assistance to those in need through
the Energy Outreach Colorado program. This nonprofit organization raises money for
energy assistance and energy efficiency measures that reduce energy costs for Coloradans. Empire Electric provides matching energy assistance funds up to $20,000. Empire’s
members voluntarily donated $1,814.13 in 2014 to assist those requiring help with their
heating bills.
The Piñon Project provides a helping hand to families in need by providing selfsufficiency programs. The organization has grown to 50 employees and celebrated its
20-year anniversary in 2014. Donated funds are administered by a group of like-minded
agencies called the Montelores Energy Assistance Coalition, whose mission is to assist
local families in need. This coalition group reviews applications on a weekly basis.
General Manager Josh Dellinger presents a donation check in the amount of $14,387.26 to the
Piñon Project’s executive director, Kelly Willis.