By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist
The 58th Annual Meeting of the Montana Council of Cooperatives takes place January 11-12, 2018 in Great Falls. The event will kick-off with a presentation of the second “Montana Co-ops 101” educational video. The documentary will feature several leaders from MCOC member cooperatives discussing co-op principle 2, “Voluntary and Open Membership.”
In the first session, MCOC Board Member Ryan Hall will discuss the importance of communications branding in online and social media, based on his experience as the Communications Director of the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association (MECA). MCDC Communications Specialist Guy Gregory will join Hall in that discussion. After the communications presentation, MCDC Executive Director Janice Brown will talk about the new “Montana Cooperative Impact Week” project. MCOC/MCDC, the CHS Foundation and the Montana Farmers Union jointly fund the project. The program focuses on informing youth and young professionals about co-op careers and the positive impact cooperatives have on the state’s economy. Brown will introduce Marilyn Besich, MCDC’s new Program Director, who will highlight the Center’s recent work in creating worker, housing and consumer co-ops and the new Unleashing Local Capital Initiative. The evening begins with a no host cocktail hour followed by a buffet dinner at the Celtic Cowboy in downtown Great Falls.
The second day of the event begins with a co-op industry sector panel that will discuss current news and events affecting the various industries. The panel will include representatives from the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association, Montana’s Credit Unions, the Montana Telecommunications Association, and the Farm Supply/Fuel sector. Featured morning speakers include Bob Manning of CHS Insurance discussing human resource issues and just before lunch, State Budget Director Dan Villa, who has been invited to speak. The MCOC Annual Business Meeting will commence at 1:00 pm with a call to order by President Keller. Board officers will present their official reports to MCOC Members throughout the one-hour meeting and follow-up with an election of new directors for 2018.