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General Manager's Message - January 2019

That great philosopher Yogi Berra is credited with saying, "It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future." While Yogi’s twisted logic is amusing, it does point out a fundamental truth that is especially applicable to the current state of the electric utility industry. Economic pressures; regulatory pressures; federal, state, and local policy initiatives; and member/customer preferences all combine to make long range planning an especially daunting task. And that is especially true for an entity like STEC that is seeing consistent and strong annual growth in terms of energy sales and new demand.
 
"Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success." Yogi Berra
 
While this "Yogiism" may not be as comical as many of his quotes, it is absolutely true. Businesses can either proactively plan for success or fail to plan and be forced to react to circumstances as they develop. STEC’s planning efforts take place in three time frames.
 
Long range planning - 10+ years into the future - focuses on projected member growth over an extended period of time and preliminary plans for power supply, power delivery, as well as the manpower and financial resources that will be required to meet that growing need. Given the extended timeframe involved in long range planning and the potential that planning assumptions can change based on a number of factors, long range plans tend to be more general in nature and primarily help inform management and the Board of Directors on the direction the cooperative is heading. The primary vehicle used at STEC for long range planning is our Long Range Financial Forecast. This is a 10 year plan that is updated annually to account for any changes in assumptions.
 
Intermediate range plans - 3 to 5 years into the future - are much more focused than long range plans, involve much more concrete assumptions and desired outcomes, and include projects and activities that take some time to complete. The Strategic Plan that was developed in 2018 is a good example of an intermediate range plan. That plan includes vision statements, strategic considerations, and methods that the Board can utilize to monitor progress in achieving the desired outcomes. Key initiatives that will need to be achieved in performance of the plan, then become inputs for the shorter-range planning effort - goal setting.
 
On January 11th, staff members from all STEC Divisions met to review the progress made in achieving the goals established for 2018 and to develop goals for 2019. This is the fifth year STEC staff has engaged in a formal goal setting process, and I am very pleased with the increasing level of staff involvement and ownership in the process. Once the goals for each year are established, they are presented to the Board of Directors for review and approval. Status reports of progress made toward achieving the established goals are then provided to the Board periodically throughout the year, and a final status report is provided at the end of the year.
 
On January 24th, the STEC Board of Directors formally approved the 2019 STEC Goals. The approved goals have been incorporated into one document and will be distributed to all employees. I urge you to review these goals, and consider your part in helping to meet them. If you have any questions about a particular goal, please contact your supervisor, Division manager, or feel free to reach out to me. The goals set for 2019 are ambitious and will require the efforts of each employee if we are to be successful in achieving them.

 

I leave you with a final Yogi Berra quote, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." The significant effort that we place on planning helps ensure that we do indeed know where STEC is going and that we are putting in place an effective roadmap to get us there.

 

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