Tri-State highlights strong financial and operational performance at 67th Annual Meeting
- Membership approves bylaw change to allow for new classes of membership
- Duane Highley joins association as CEO following Mike McInnes’ retirement
- Board elects Chairman, officers to executive committee
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association held its 67th Annual Meeting on April 3-4 in Broomfield, Colorado, with 525 electric cooperative representatives and invited guests in attendance.
The meeting included the transition of the association’s chief executive officer and the re-election of Executive Committee officers. Member system delegates approved changes to the association’s bylaws that increase flexibility and allow the board of directors to establish new classes of membership. The members also received reports on Tri-State’s financial and operational performance, which continued to be strong in 2018.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit association of 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million rural electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West.
Members approve bylaw change that increases membership flexibility
At the April 3 annual meeting, delegates of our member systems approved a change of the association’s bylaws that allows the board to create additional classes of membership and contracts for our members as well as those entities interested in power and services from Tri-State. Tri-State’s bylaws previously only provided for one class of membership, which required members to enter into an all-requirements wholesale power contract.
“The bylaw amendment could provide current and future members more flexibility, while still meeting their contractual obligations to the other members,” said Chairman Gordon. “Additional classes of membership could provide for partial-requirements contracts, municipal memberships or memberships from other utilities.”
A contract committee of the membership will convene in the coming months to begin reviewing the wholesale contract, options for alternative membership and contract structures, and the committee will ultimately make recommendations to the board of directors.
Duane Highley succeeds Mike McInnes as CEO
On April 4, the membership of the association convened for the annual membership meeting, where incoming CEO Duane Highley addressed the association’s members.
“Tri-State is on the ‘tip of the spear’ as our industry transitions, and we have the opportunity to lead and deliver solutions,” said Highley. “Together with our members and board, we will define a 21st century generation and transmission cooperative that is member-focused, increasingly flexible and increasingly clean.”
“With Tri-State’s diversity, flexibility and creativity, we are positioned to take full advantage of the disruptive opportunities ahead,” said Highley.
Highley, who served most recently as president and chief executive officer for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Inc., succeeds Mike McInnes on April 5, 2019.
The annual meeting was the last for Mike McInnes, who is retiring as CEO. “With the support of Tri-State’s talented management and employees, and a board dedicated and vigilant in their governance, I feel confident about the future success of the members of this association,” said McInnes. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve the association and be part of your lives, as you will always be a part of mine.”
Strong financial and operational performance in 2018
At the annual meeting, Rick Gordon, chairman of Tri-State’s Board of Directors, Treasurer Stuart Morgan and Mike McInnes, CEO, reported on the association’s performance in 2018 and the strength and value of the cooperative business model.
“Tri-State is financially sound, moving in the right direction and continuing to strive to meet our members’ needs,” said Chairman Rick Gordon. “As change comes, we will be ready, and together we are brighter, stronger and better, and can meet any challenge presented.”
“In 2018, Tri-State saw a significant increase in member sales growth, continued commitment to financial goals, steadfast focus on cost management, and no rate increase in either 2018 or 2019,” said Treasurer Stuart Morgan. “These successes not only position Tri-State for continued financial strength, but also to be a competitive power supplier for our members.”
“Even as our association’s loads grow, Tri-State decreased costs and continues to diversify our portfolio. Nearly a third of the energy consumed by our members comes from renewables,” said CEO McInnes. “We value the hard work of all of our valued employees. Safety continues to be one of our top priorities: in 2018, our safety record remined above national averages.”
Executive Committee officers reelected
Following the annual meeting, the executive committee of the association's board of directors was seated, including the six officers and three at-large positions.
Rick Gordon, representing Tri-State member co-op Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.), was re-elected chairman for a tenth consecutive term. Gordon originally joined Tri-State's board in 1994 and served as vice chairman for 13 years prior to first being elected chairman in 2010. He has served on Mountain View's board since 1992.
Scott Wolfe, representing San Luis Valley REC (Monte Vista, Colo.) was re-elected to his second term as vice chairman. Wolfe was elected to the San Luis Valley board of directors in 2006 and joined Tri-State's board of directors in 2008.
Julie Kilty, who has represented Wyrulec Company (Torrington, Wyo.) on the Tri-State board since 2012, was re-elected to the position of secretary.
Stuart Morgan, who has represented Wheat Belt Public Power District (Sidney, Neb.) on the Tri-State board since 2007, was re-elected treasurer – a position he first assumed in 2012.
Matt Brown, who has represented High Plains Power (Riverton, Wyo.) on the Tri-State board since 2010, was re-elected assistant secretary for his seventh term.
Tim Rabon, who has represented Otero County Electric Cooperative (Cloudcroft, N.M.) on the Tri-State board since 2014, was re-elected assistant secretary.
The Executive Committee's three at-large positions were seated with incumbents Wayne Connell representing Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative (Mountainair, N.M.) and Don Keairns representing San Isabel Electric Association (Pueblo West, Colo.), and Shawn Turner representing The Midwest Electric Cooperative (Grant, Neb.).