CEO Message — December 2021

We are thankful for your membership

Brandon Wittman headshotThe Holidays are often a time of reflection. Many of us pause and recall family gatherings or traditions that warm our hearts and evoke a sense of comfort and nostalgia. In the spirit of a quote by author William Arthur Ward who said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” I would like to thank you for your membership in our electric cooperative. Because of your connection to Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative (YVEC), we can make the communities we serve better places to live.

I generally use this space to provide updates on new projects or discuss our intense growth or report on initiatives that could affect our cooperative. We share these updates so that all our members have a window into our priorities, progress, and challenges. However, during the holiday season, I think it is equally important to let you know the impact you have on YVEC and the greater community, likely in ways you may not even realize.

As part of the cooperative business model, one of our core principles is “Concern for Community.” While our priority is always to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy, we view our role in the community as a catalyst for good.

We are purposeful in partnering with local groups like Family Service for utility and food assistance as well as other programs. We work closely with our local schools to provide safety demonstrations and award college scholarships. YVEC also participates in the annual Youth Tour where we take our communities brightest young people to Washington, D.C. for a week-long immersion to experience democracy in action. Additionally, our Operation Round Up program has provided over $200,000 in funding to over 40 local community charitable organizations. Ultimately, the larger community benefits from these programs because of you! You empower YVEC through your membership and through your participation and support of these programs.

When you attend co-op events, alert us to outages, provide suggestions to our employees or just participate by being a member in good standing, you help us improve operations and thereby better serve the entire membership. Because we are locally governed by members of our communities, we are able to get a first-hand perspective on community priorities, thereby helping us make more informed decisions.

We are thankful that our co-op board members carve out time to attend important training sessions, participate in planning meetings and keep abreast of industry trends. This investment in time results in better informed advisors that serve the co-op’s business interests in a way that our members expect and deserve.

On a more personal note, we appreciate the countless acts of kindness our employees receive when they work in severe weather and dangerous conditions. Our employees appreciate your patience and consideration during difficult times.

Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative was originally established over 80 years ago to bring electricity to our area when no one else would. This cooperative reflects our local communities and their evolving needs. Together we can continue to make our little corner of the world a better place. We certainly can’t do it without you. We are thankful for your membership. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brandon J. Wittman
CEO / General Manager