Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 7  -  July 2018

CEO Report


We often think of the linemen when the phrase comes up about keeping the lights on.† There is a mountain of work that goes in at the office to keep the lights on, paying bills, billing accounts, filing reports, balancing accounts, HR, payroll, contracts, workorder closes,† and the list goes on and on and on.††We have a group of employees that handles all this heavy lifting in stride!††Great job and thank you for all that you do. After the annual meeting the board gathered to have the organizational meeting.† The officer positions have remained the same this year.† Larry Salmela President; Terry Schmitz, Vice President; Lloyd Kongsjord, Secretary; and Roy Bain, Treasurer, congratulations to you.† I have worked with our board of directors since last August.† I am proud of the work we accomplish together.† There is a great amount of experience and knowledge at the board meetings, these guys know their business.† The board always has you in mind when making decisions!† Thank you, gentlemen, for the excellent work you do on behalf of our Member-Owners.

I want to talk about a few changes we are working on at North Itasca Electric Cooperative.† My biggest responsibility to you and the employees at North Itasca is safety.† I am proud to say NIECI has gone over 100 thousand hours without a lost time incident.† This is a number to be proud of, but it isnít good enough.† There have been several contacts over the past year in Minnesota.† The cost of an electrical contact is substantial, but to heck with the money right now.† I couldnít imagine having someone under my watch have a life altering injury.† We have changed work practices to prevent something like this from happening.† We train in safety often and talk about safety every day.† We have limited the number of hours the crews can work in any given period.† This may not get the lights on as fast as we would like but please consider the lives of your lineman working out in the field.† We need our field crew to be sharp, and to be aware of their surroundings.† We can test for electricity, but we canít see, smell, or often hear it.† Line work is unforgiving, we need to be as cautious as possible to make sure everyone goes home at the end of the day.

As Iím writing my article this month, we are preparing for the Fatherís Day open house.† My intention was to have the open house from 11-2, through the lunch hours.† This will work just as well having it open all day.† Iím guessing weíre going to get a shocked look or two: what are they doing?† Weíre having a keg, yes you heard it right.† 1919 Root Beer will be on tap at the office for the event, weíre going to roll out one of our new grills and make a little lunch for everyone that stops by.† We talked with Jeff of Creek Bank Printing to help us out with some nice can coolers, we donít want your root beer getting warm, you know.† All in all it should be a very fun Friday, I hope to see you around the Bigfork office.

By your side,

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