CEO Message — March 2021

Posted: Thursday, April 1, 2021, 12:00 am

Thank a Lineman

Brandon Wittman headshotNational Lineman Appreciation Day is April 12th, 2021!! Once a year, we set aside a day to reflect and appreciate the dedication and service of linemen. Called to work in brutal weather conditions, linemen are often the first responders during storms and other catastrophic events. Regardless of the time of day, having to brave challenging conditions, linemen do whatever it takes to get the job done ensuring our communities have reliable power. Being a lineman is not a glamorous or easy profession. It takes years of specialized training, ongoing education, and a true sense of service and commitment. How else can you explain the willingness to leave the comfort of your house to tackle a challenging job, when most are sheltering comfortably at home? This dedication and service to community is truly what sets them apart. That is precisely why we take April 12th to celebrate and recognize those who work around the clock to keep the lights on.

Having said that, I am especially proud of our entire group of employees as they showed true loyalty this past year. During this past year in the pandemic, they all stepped up to make sure service at Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative (YVEC) continued to be second to none. While linemen work in highly visible settings and are the "face of the franchise", there are many people behind the scenes that also labor tirelessly to keep the lights on. Our Engineering and Operations department works to ensure our entire system is operating efficiently and remains well maintained. This team plans for future needs and load growth by constantly monitoring equipment and resources.

The Customer Service Representatives (CSR's) answer phone calls and numerous questions regarding billing and energy use. They assist during outages and schedule new service appointments along with work orders for both commercial and residential members. Our CSR's typically answer about 40,000 phone calls annually.

The Member Service and Communications department is responsible for the various programs we offer our members from rebates to scholarships and much more. They are also responsible for our monthly newsletter, annual membership meeting, community outreach programs, branding, and external communications.

The Accounting department helps with the financial well-being of the cooperative. This includes paying invoices, loans, power bills, equipment, technology, capital credits, and other expenditures. Financial planning and investing are also key to this department.

Many different people from all of our departments work closely together to serve you, our members. You are at the heart of everything we do. Unlike other types of businesses, as a cooperative the member is always our mission. Our concern for our members and their communities sets us apart. Additionally, our Board of Directors are all members of the cooperative. When our Board approves a policy, procedure, or new technology, they do so knowing it will affect their own homes and businesses.

On April 12th, and any time you see a lineworker, I hope you'll join me in thanking them for their exceptional service. I also hope you'll remember that you have a dedicated team of professionals working behind the scenes at YVEC whose commitment to service runs just as deep.

Brandon J. Wittman
CEO / General Manager