Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) continued the recent trend by holding its 83rd Annual Membership Meeting as a live, online event. The meeting was live streamed from the co-op headquarters building in Onaway via Zoom video conference. A multi-camera setup allowed directors in attendance to stay 6-feet apart and only remove face coverings when presenting.

“This was a really creative solution,” said PIE&G President/CEO, Tom Sobeck. “We were able to honor the spirit of our Annual Meeting, while keeping within COVID-19 safety guidelines.”

Sobeck provided a co-op update during his CEO message and answered questions submitted by members regarding construction progress on PIE&G’s new headquarters facility, expansion of natural gas service, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) high-speed internet, and paperless billing. Member questions were collected during the online registration process, with the most common being selected for discussion during the online event.

PIE&G approached MECA for help with its plan to hold the virtual annual meeting. MECA quickly agreed to fill the behind-the-scenes technical role with its live production equipment and in-house technical expertise.

“It looked like a TV station had moved into our board room,” said Board Chairman, Allan Berg. “We were really impressed with how MECA helped us produce the meeting, and how professional the final result looked.”

Chairman Berg (Presque Isle District) was among three incumbent directors elected to a 3-year term (2020-2023) at the annual meeting. The other successful directors were John Brown (Cheboygan District) and Charles Arbour (Montmorency District). Berg also facilitated the virtual annual meeting, along with co-op attorney, Michael Ekdahl.

Members gave the online event high marks in a follow-up survey and indicated that they would be likely to attend future virtual meetings, if the co-op were to hold them. Many members that participated in the virtual event had never attended a PIE&G Annual Meeting in-person before.

“COVID-19 has disrupted the way we conduct business, but this Annual Meeting was also an opportunity to engage with members in a new way,” said Sobeck. “We really appreciate the effort MECA put into helping us film and produce this event.”

A full recording of the Annual Meeting is available at PIEG.COM