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2017 Education Programs

Professional Development

Our services include professional development programs for directors, managers and employees. Please click on the service below to find out more. Send us an e-mail if we can be of service to you.

2017 Education Programs PDF Version

*Dates may have changed on the above pdf for the education menu, for an updated and current list of dates click on this link: NDAREC Association Dates

For program content, associate memberships services and customized programs contact:
Pamela Clark-Stein, Director of Education & Member Services


October 7 — Mandan

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NRECA and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation developed a publication titled, “Rate Strategies for 21st Century Challenges: A Guide to Rate Innovation for Cooperatives,” which is featured in this course. Directors discuss the complex issues they must balance when considering business plans, financial policies, and alternative rate philosophies and strategies. This course addresses how current rate methodologies affect rising power costs and the current focus on energy efficiency and conservation. Attendees will use case studies and problems to analyze and discuss issues such as equity goals, long-range revenue requirements, achieving fairness for multiple rate classes, and dealing with proposed rate increases.

Key Topics

- Basic functions and cost components of generation, transmission and distribution - Current and emerging technologies that are impacting utility operations and policies
- Components of a rate philosophy
- Key steps in the rate-making process
- Effective rate design that will support financial and other strategic goals

Instructor: Rod Crile retired from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) in 2015, after serving 13 years as a regional vice president. During this time, in addition to his normal CFC duties, he also served as an instructor for NRECA.

Prior to joining CFC, Crile was Vice President of Business and Engineering Systems and Support for the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC). Other positions held with NISC included member support director, industry advancement manager, and cost/general accounting administrator.

Combining his tenure at NISC, CFC and two Ohio rural electric cooperatives, Crile brings more than 36 years of cooperative experience to the classroom.

November 14 — Mandan
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Boards have ultimate responsibility for ensuring and evaluating the long-term health of the organization. They help fulfill this duty through strategic thinking; identifying goals through strategic planning; and authorizing the appropriate allocation of resources through the adoption of financial policies, budget review and approval; and monitoring management’s progress toward strategic goals. This course teaches directors how to participate effectively in strategic thinking and planning processes.

Key Topics

- Basic functions and cost components of generation, transmission and distribution - Current and emerging technologies that are impacting utility operations and policies
- The difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning
- Analysis of your cooperative’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- The board’s oversight responsibility
- The strategic plan as an evaluation tool for the cooperative’s accomplishment of goals and as the foundation for the CEO’s performance appraisal

Instructor: Since 1991, Scott Luecal has been providing consulting and training services to consumer-owned utilities, their business subsidiaries and community-directed organizations, the leading insurance company to the consumer-owned electric and telecommunications industries, water companies and economic development agencies. As a trainer to the rural electric industry, Luecal delivers courses related to strategic planning, financial planning, cost of service and rate design, equity management and capital credits, understanding financial statements, board and management roles and responsibilities, technology planning, and understanding the electric utility business. He also served as the Manager of University Programs for NRECA for eight years. Luecal has held various executive-level positions with Central Area Data Processing and NISC. In 2007 he left NISC to start his consulting business.

December 1 — Mandan
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Registration Form
Electric cooperative boards face a rapidly evolving energy landscape where power supply decisions are more complex, involve greater risks, and have greater cost consequences for members than ever before. The low price of natural gas, the combination of state renewable portfolio requirements, the falling prices of wind, solar and environmental regulations are leading a fundamental shift in the U.S. electricity generation portfolio. This shift has significant implications for electricity suppliers and consumers. This course focuses on strategies boards can pursue in the face of this uncertainty including understanding what members want, working closely with power suppliers, communicating with members, and being their trusted energy advisor.

Key Topics

- Basic functions and cost components of generation, transmission and distribution - Current and emerging technologies that are impacting utility operations and policies
- Brief history on “how we got here”
- Regulations
- Transmission/markets
- The electric cooperative today

Instructor: Kevin Sump retired in January 2013, following 24 years as the president and CEO for South Central Indiana REMC, an electric distribution cooperative in Martinsville, Ind. He has 40 years of electric cooperative experience, 33 of those years as a general manager/CEO. Sump was an original member of the Brand Steering Committee that began developing an electric cooperative brand initiative in November 1996, which resulted in the formation of Touchstone Energy®. He was also instrumental in forming the Circle City Group, LLC, a cooperative effort among five distribution cooperatives to provide their systems with joint and shared services. During his electric cooperative career, Sump was actively involved in generation and transmission, statewide association, Touchstone Energy, and NRECA boards and committees. His extensive experience includes working with board members, particularly in the areas of board governance, corporate restructuring, disaster recovery plans, the CEO appraisal process, strategic planning, board self-evaluations, and development of succession plans.


Oct. 11 - Bismarck - Oct. 12, Fargo
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Registration Form
The cooperative business model provides unique advantages to electric co-ops in today’s challenging and shifting energy environment. Electric cooperatives that “live” their purpose and operate in accordance with the cooperative business model empower their members to improve their quality of life

Key Topics
- Ways co-op employees may tap into the strategic advantage
- Increased understanding of the cooperative principles and values
- Assessment of how and why a cooperative culture is key to member engagement

Instructor: Adam Schwartz is the founder and principal of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm dedicated to helping cooperative businesses succeed. Schwartz has served cooperatives from different sectors for more than 20 years and has extensive knowledge of the key factors that lead to high-performing, sustainable success for cooperatives from all sectors. Prior to founding The Cooperative Way, Schwartz served as vice president for public affairs and member services from 2005 to 2011 for the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), the only national cross-sector member association with a mission of developing, protecting and advancing cooperative businesses. His responsibilities included directing public policy, communications, marketing and strategic alliances. Prior to his service at NCBA, he served as vice president of external affairs for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative in Herndon, Va. and a senior legislative representative for NRECA in Washington, D.C.

November 14 - Mandan
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For most business enterprises, collecting past-due debts is time-consuming, stressful and subtracts from the organization’s overall productivity. There are federal and state laws with which to comply, as well as the overall customer and public relations issues to consider. This program is designed to assist utility service providers in collecting past-due accounts with a maximum of return on resources invested, minimal hassle, and in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. Using class discussion, small-group activities and practice sessions, attendees will gain insight into the following key topics:

Key Topics

- Key provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and applicable terms of the Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1977
- Rules and regulations covering service discontinuance/ disconnection
- Collections from estates and bankruptcies
- Small claims courts and collection agencies
- Tips and techniques designed to maximize the effectiveness of communication regarding cutoffs and past-due bill collections

Instructor: Debra Ballard founded her consulting company, the Ballard Group, in 1996. She conducts training and consulting services in leadership, planning, change management, customer service and communication. Her major clients are electric cooperatives, municipals and investor-owned utilities throughout the United States, as well as the U.S. Air Force, the Boeing Corporation, small businesses, non-profit organizations and technical schools.


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