Co-op News, CONNECT

Lots in Store at CONNECT ‘13

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: April 22nd, 2013

They call it “Connect” for a reason. At this year’s conference there will be new faces and new campaigns to connect with.

Connect 2013 will be at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. (Photo By: Universal Orlando Resort)

Connect 2013 will be at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. (Photo By: Universal Orlando Resort)

Taking place May 13-16 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Fla., CONNECT ‘13 has a lot on tap.

“Touchstone Energy® is celebrating its 15th birthday and will premiere its new communication campaign called ‘The Power of Co-op Membership,’” said Jim Bausell, COO of Touchstone Energy.

Offering a little sneak peek, Bausell promises “a tremendous image portfolio” for the print portion of the campaign, which was photographed in a cooperative service territory.

“It has some of the most memorable, iconic images of cooperative linemen at work,” Bausell said. The campaign includes TV and radio spots as well.

Also at CONNECT ‘13, the new Cooperative University online learning platform will debut. By partnering with, Touchstone Energy will offer free access to some 1,600 communication and business courses.

“This will bring the latest in distance learning to the desktops of cooperative staff and directors all across the nation,” Bausell said.

Touchstone Energy will also debut an updated Together We Save website, which Bausell said will be “completely designed for mobile, both tablets and smartphones,” and an updated

At CONNECT ‘13’s opening general session, new NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson will hold a meet-and-greet with participants. And Kelly McDonald, who presided over a well-attended session at this year’s NRECA annual meeting, will talk about how co-ops must keep up with the times and the changing faces of their membership.

Learn how President Obama’s re-election campaign raised nearly $700 million online when Teddy Goff, the campaign’s digital director, speaks at the May 15 general session. Goff will share insights from that digital strategy that co-ops can use.

The conference wraps up May 16 with the founder of the Travelocity website, Terry Jones, sharing ways for co-ops to create a culture of innovation.

But before CONNECT ‘13 is done, there will be more than 30 learning labs to choose from, covering a wide range of topics. Sessions will look at everything from how to bring prepaid metering to your co-op; ways of using new technology to engage members; and making use of social media during a crisis. There will also be four optional pre-conference workshops on May 13.

For more information, including registration, click here to visit the CONNECT ‘13 website.

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