President and CEO, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services
During Thanksgiving, many will gather around the table to enjoy the feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, and various other side dishes. Many will follow tradition and state what they are thankful for before diving into the feast. This tradition reminds us to take a minute to be thankful for the food and the blessings that we all share. It’s not often that companies take a minute to state what they are thankful for, but I believe this year, our cooperative has a lot to be thankful for because of our community.
I am thankful for the community and for the many accomplishments that have occurred over the past year. Over the past month, I have watched our fall sports teams have great success and the pride that occurs with each advancement in state tournaments can be felt throughout the community. Our schools hold the keys to our future and it’s looking incredibly bright.
This past year, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services launched SwiftCurrent Connect. This only occurred because we were able to win two Wisconsin Public Service Commission broadband grants. Our grants were supported by the Pierce County Economic Development Corporation and the Town of River Falls. We also had supporting letters from members and our state senators and representatives. These letters paved the way for our success.
A few months later we were notified that we won nine additional grants for a total of $6.72 million. Without a doubt, the support from the towns of Trimbelle, Ellsworth, Oak Grove, and River Falls helped make these grant applications successful. I am thankful the leaders of these towns had the vision to utilize their American Rescue Plan Act funds to seed broadband development in their areas. We have several other public entities that have expressed interest and I hope they follow through in partnering with us. I truly believe that high-speed broadband connectivity will be transformational in our area. I am thankful for individuals like Joe Folsom, who leads the Pierce County Economic Development Corporation. Joe works tirelessly to help create an environment where existing businesses thrive and where new businesses can establish themselves in Pierce County. We recently met with a developer who was drawn to our area because of the environment that exists in Pierce County. That’s a credit to Joe and our community leaders.
We need more leaders like AZ Snyder who has endured through a barrage of misinformation in the hopes of simply providing good public health policy. You don’t have to agree with her, but most of us wouldn’t trade jobs with her in a second. Thank you, AZ for being a leader and making tough decisions with courage and conviction.
Lastly, I am thankful that we have The Journal which has given a voice to local news coverage. I eagerly await the weekly edition, not only to find out what news I have missed but also to be reminded that we have a lot to be thankful for in our community. In just a few weeks, we will turn the clock to 2022 and begin to focus on the challenges ahead. I encourage you while sitting around the dinner table to take a step back and be thankful for the community we live and work in; we truly have something special here.
Chairman and CEO, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services