Hometown Heroes

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    Hometown Heroes

    Mike Knotts, director of government affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Several months ago, I attended a speech given by U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. While most of the speech was geared toward the federal government’s involvement in farm policy and agricultural interests, he quoted some statistics that have really stuck with me. He said that while only 16 percent of America’s current population lives in areas that are considered rural, more than 40 percent of our nation’s military personnel come from those rural areas. That disproportionate level of enlistment says a lot to me about […]

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    Welcome back to Nashville

    By Mike Knotts, Director of Government Affairs One of the things that makes your cooperative different from “a regular old power company” is that it is owned and controlled by its individual members. Good people like you take time out of their lives and put themselves up for election to serve on the board of directors at your co-op. They are your neighbors, and that local connection is what makes a tremendous difference in the priorities that guide their work. While you might hear other utilities owned by huge, multinational corporations talk the talk about things like commitment to community, […]

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    What’s under the hood

    By Mike Knotts, Director of Government Affairs My first car was a 1965 Ford Mustang. My parents bought it for me, even though they were actually buying the same car for a second time. It had been purchased for my older sister, then eventually found itself parked in her driveway and needing work. We agreed to undertake a restoration, Mom and Dad signed what must have been a very bittersweet check, and I began pouring what little money I had into updates and upgrades for every part of the car. I had the keys to a classic machine and was […]

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    Freedom to choose

    Choices. Not quite as American as apple pie, but pretty close. Given the foundations and the relative wealth of our nation, we’re accustomed to having lots of choices in just about everything we do. We like to have choices, whether it’s selecting a movie to watch, buying a car, or deciding on chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or one of the 28 other flavors. Other choices are more complex and have long-lasting consequences. One of our most complicated choices involves producing enough energy and getting that energy into your home. This continuous process involves thousands of co-op member- owners and employees across […]

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    Electricity Comes to Us

    Always looking to expand my mind, I recently purchased an educational text on electricity. It is written on a level that takes this technically complex product and puts it on a down-to-earth level. The authors, both university professors, do a great job of explaining this innovative product and the ways it impacts people’s everyday lives. The book, “Electricity Comes to Us,” was published in 1937. Reading it today is a lot like opening a time capsule and trying to imagine what life was like in that era. The book, “Electricity Comes to Us,” was published in 1937. Reading it today […]

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    Federal Policy Updates

    Mike Knotts, director of government affairs While the Tennessee Legislature is in session, I focus much of my time on the goings-on at the Capitol in Nashville. While it’s nice to spend more time at home this time of year, there are some important developments in Washington, D.C., that impact your cooperative. Power Marketing Administrations In the August 2012 edition of this magazine, I discussed the threat to the future of the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). The PMAs, owned by the federal government, are a byproduct of the public service that a dam built to control flooding provides to all […]

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    Time is Precious

    Mike Knotts, director of government affairs Not too long ago, somebody repeated an interesting saying to me. I doubt it was an original thought; rather, it has been repeated over and over again and probably attributed to 20 different people. So I won’t try to correctly attribute the original author, but the meaning is excellent just the same. “Time is the only thing you spend that you can never get back.” I have been reminded of this indisputable fact over and over recently. Writing this very column is one example, as the staff of The Tennessee Magazine was kind to […]

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    Power’s Price Tag

    Mike Knotts, director of government affairs When you go to the store to buy something, you usually take a look at the price tag before you decide to purchase it, don’t you? Few of us can just buy what we want no matter the cost, so we have to consider price along with the other factors to help us decide whether to buy a product. Usually that price is clearly displayed for us to see. At the gas pump, the price towers in foot-tall numbers out by the street to make sure we don’t miss it. At the grocery store, […]

  • David Callis serves as Vice President of Statewide Services for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

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    Built to Last

    by David Callis, Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Management gurus James Collins and Jerry Porras penned a book in the mid-1990s titled “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.” The book, based on a six-year research project at Stanford University, examined 18 long-lasting companies. In the foreword the authors write, “… visionary companies distinguish their timeless core values and enduring purpose (which should never change) from their operating practices and business strategies (which should be changing constantly in response to a changing world).” Tennessee’s electric cooperatives aren’t quite as well known as […]

  • David Callis serves as Vice President of Statewide Services for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

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    Co-ops – Contributing to your community

    by David Callis, Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association As we continue to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives, we like to showcase other ways that cooperatives benefit your local community — not by delivering a product or a service but by delivering on a commitment. If we’re shopping, we tend to look for the best value for our money. It’s easy to think of a cooperative as a place where we shop or receive a service: seeds, fertilizer or electricity. But cooperatives don’t exist merely to sell a product — there are often […]

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