CEO’s Message – May 2023

Doing the Right Things

Headshot of Clay FitchThe strength of your cooperative lies within its team.

A team is often defined as a group of people working together for a common purpose. For your employee team at Wells Rural Electric Company, 1 of our key purposes is to serve our members with safe, reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity. Beyond that purpose, we have worked to push ourselves to grow, think outside the box, communicate respectfully, work collaboratively, keep our word and operate within an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. This is expected of everyone, including me.

The team dedicated to representing your interests—the board of directors—is adamant that we do the right things. The policies the board adopts, the affordable rates you pay for electricity, and the strategic plan and annual budgets all reflect that commitment.

Early in my career, I was asked about the difference between a manager and a leader. At the time, I came up with a few examples, but I didn’t have a solid understanding of the difference. This conversation led to an influential colleague telling me that managers are fairly easy to find, but true leaders are hard to come by.

How could this be? Through further conversation, ups and downs, personal reflection and studying management experts like Jim Collins, I learned managers do things right, but leaders do the right thing. Since then, I have worked to improve myself and those around me, knowing leadership skills take work and practice. We are not perfect, and this change does not happen overnight, but we continually work to improve ourselves as we strive to do the right things for you, our members.

I often use this column to report what we are doing right, from achieving another flawless annual financial audit to holding electric rates flat since 2018, paying out more $690,936 in capital credits and investing approximately $2 million into infrastructure through a construction work plan that continually improves our distribution system. I have also shared information with you about things that are going well but are still cause for concern, such as vegetation management and wildfire mitigation; legislative and regulatory over-reach; the movement to breach hydroelectric dams; and, most importantly, your safety as you use electricity or come near our power lines.

Working in a member-owned, locally controlled, not-for-profit electric cooperative has many benefits. Your board and cooperative team work hard to improve and deliver results now and into the future. While there is still much to be done, we are working to do the right things when it comes to providing safe, affordable, reliable and carbon-free electricity.