Hoosier Energy 2023 Annual Meeting Recap

Hoosier Energy Annual Meeting sign

The utility industry and the issues impacting it are ever evolving, and as of late, ever more complicated.

Hoosier Energy fittingly used the theme of “Complex Issues. Cooperative Solutions.” for its 2023 annual meeting in April.

With all 18 member cooperatives represented, though some less so due to recent storms at the time, a variety of speakers and panelists addressed that theme, including Hoosier Energy President and CEO Donna Walker.

“The energy sector has definitely undergone a fundamental change in the last few years, and we feel it and have been talking about it, especially just in the last year since we were together,”
Walker said.

Her opening remarks came on the heels of the meeting’s formal business, capped by recognition of outgoing Board of Directors Chairman Bob Stroup of RushShelby Energy, who celebrated 30 years as a Hoosier Energy director this year.

New officers elected to the board were Chairman Gary Waninger of Southern Indiana Power, Vice Chairman David Smith of Southeastern Indiana REMC, Secretary Jodie Creek of Whitewater Valley REMC and Treasurer John Edwards of Daviess-Martin County REMC.

Following Walker was the day’s first guest speaker, CoBank President and CEO Tom Halverson. The topic he spoke about was “Demography and Destiny: Population Trends in Rural America.” Halverson presented “nerdy but necessary graphs and data” to make the case for an increased opportunity to see real population growth in rural America with significant
potential benefits.

A panel of Hoosier Energy executive staff then offered cooperative solutions to various questions addressing affordability, reliability, sustainability and finances among other topics relevant to the assembled members.

The day continued with a panel consisting of NRECA VP of Legislative Affairs Hill Thomas, Indiana Electric Cooperatives CEO John Cassady and Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives President and CEO Craig Sondgeroth. The trio discussed the action and inaction going on in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and Springfield, as well as how co-ops can do their part to have a seat at the table in all three locations.

Molly McPherson of Indestructible PR concluded things with her session on “Communicating Complexity and Cooperation in a Rapidly Changing Energy Environment.”

McPherson addressed how complex issues were often weaponized against cooperatives from the outside while also noting the importance of establishing the right culture inside a cooperative to be able to withstand the misinformation that can be spread in communities.