Message from the President
By Garry Clark, 2021 NREDA President

NREDA Family! As spring approaches, many of us have started to build with anticipation for better weather, and more vaccines for all to return to a normal and direct connection with our rural communities and families. In our last NREDA Board of Directors meeting, I found myself pondering the connection between Rural America, our American journey as citizens and of course…electricity! The NREDA family stems back to the late 1980’s but its partnership with the electric cooperatives and major member organizations like NRECA, NTCA, and Touchstone Energy has gone hand in hand with our growth and development as an organization. It is this relationship with members, power users, rural communities, and local economic development agencies, that has led to NREDA’s long history of resource and best practice assistance to Rural America. There is a connectivity in the NREDA message that our cooperative entities know all too well, that connectivity is the metaphoric analogy of electricity and a rural American relationship built through NREDA.
For instance, we have one of our founding fathers in Ben Franklin whose experiment with a kite which brought the implicit reality of electricity to life. We can push past this feat and look into the 1800’s as the synergy builds from rural hamlet to urban structures. Power! Electricity! From an external variable to the permeating feature, in our indoor housing structures and businesses. Creativity and ingenuity creating the catalyst for our family of NREDA members, developers, and Electric Cooperatives.
We are all bound by the courage and vision of farmers, and intellectuals, who could artfully experiment with a kite on a stormy night and still cultivate the earth with the fortitude of many of our rural leaders across the country.
NREDA members…we are family…we are bound by our history, the beautiful mess that has created a bond like atoms and electrons. The people are the nucleus; the center; the binding piece. And, when our “nucleus” of members, electric cooperatives, and rural populous are pushed by negative charges of supply and demand, population losses, food insecurities, rolling blackouts, and pandemic misfortunes; We are equally pushed by the positive protons of creativity that spans from the 1800’s to today. We are pushed by the positive entrepreneurial reaches of our small businesses and agricultural manufacturers. We are pushed by the necessity to build, to grow, and to sustain our food, our energy, and our people. This is the essence of NREDA, of Touchstone Energy, of NRECA, NTCA, many other rural organizations, people, and leaders, who believe in Rural America. Let us continue to push the positive and negative charges to create more energy! To create a vision for the future of rural America. We are Family. We are NREDA. National. Rural. Connected.
NREDA President – Garry Clark