Building Catherdrals

Next month’s national cooperative annual meeting will mark the end of the two-year tenure for Board President Phil Carson, who is a member of the Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Phil is a super person, who is very humble, with many redeeming qualities (perhaps the best of which is that he is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan). Phil has also never met a stranger. He is the first person from Illinois to lead the national organization – quite an honor. Below is a portion of his last column published in the national cooperative magazine.

“At last year’s Annual Meeting, I talked about Cathedral Thinking, a philosophy based on the workers who helped build the world’s magnificent cathedrals but weren’t alive to see the final product.

Instead, they found satisfaction in their legacy – in the knowledge that they were part of something bigger than themselves. Our cooperative movement began 80 years ago to improve the quality of life for people in rural communities, and we continue to advance that mission every day, though it may look slightly different as our world evolves.

And as things change, we should remind ourselves what makes up the rock-solid foundation of our co-op cathedral: transparency, honesty, and doing things right. These will serve as the base for our cooperatives no matter what the future holds. They, along with an ongoing commitment to good governance and regular self-examination will help ensure we’re living up to the principles on which our movement was founded.
Remember that governance is not something you ever finish.”

Phil, on behalf of the members, employees, and directors of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, thank you for your commitment and service to the nation’s electric cooperatives.

Indeed, governance is something that is continual. EIEC undergoes an annual audit from an outside accounting firm. The auditors are just completing their work reviewing calendar year 2018 financials and performance. If each of us were to undergo an audit of our lives to this point – what would the audit reveal?

Using Phil’s analogy above, let us reflect on the cathedrals that each of us are building. What will our legacy be? Eastern Illini directors and employees are working hard and considering the future to leave the best possible legacy for future members.

As the calendar turns to springtime, stay safe and enjoy the spring growth and vibrant colors.


Bob Hunzinger