Iowa’s new Governor, Lt. Governor visit MVEC

Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative in Anamosa welcomed Iowa’s new Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg to their facility on June 7. The group discussed MVEC’s new high-speed Internet initiative for rural Iowans. From left are Kelly Gibbs; vice president of finance; Jeremy Richert, COO-fiber; Lt. Gov. Gregg; Gov. Reynolds; Jim Lauzon, CEO of MVEC; Sen. Dan Zumbach; and Patty Manuel, director of communications/business development. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Last week, Iowa’s new Governor Kim Reynolds and new Lt. Governor Adam Gregg stopped in Jones County to visit with folks at Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative.

     This isn’t Reynolds’ first visit to MVEC.

     “Her office requested the visit as part of her 99-county tour,” explained MVEC CEO Jim Lauzon. “She wanted to hear more about what we are doing.”

     Early last fall, MVEC announced an expansion of their services, adding high-speed fiber optic Internet for its customers. The $65 million project called for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot warehouse next to MVEC’s facility in Anamosa.

     Lauzon said they spoke with Reynolds and Gregg about the company’s smart grid efforts over the past 18 years, since 1998.

     Lauzon said smart grid technology “has significantly improved service reliability for our members.”

     The discussion also touched on MVEC’s Internet project “any way electric cooperatives are positioned to bring high-speed Internet service to rural Iowa.” Lauzon explained that fiber communications would also be needed in the future for smart appliances.

     “We further discussed the economics of using the same fiber communications system to provide rural Iowa with broadband communication services,” added Lauzon, “and how underserved rural Iowa currently is using this technology.”

     He said it was obvious both Reynolds and Gregg see the need for broadband services in rural Iowa, as well as the benefits fiber optics can bring to all areas.

     “They seemed impressed with what we have accomplished over the past 18 years,” shared Lauzon.

     Interestingly enough, Lauzon said he did mention that MVEC does not see a need for the State of Iowa to step in and help fund their efforts.

     “We believe we can complete this project using the same business model that first brought electricity to rural America over 80 years ago,” he said.

     Lauzon added that broadband is just as important today to rural Iowans as electricity was 80-plus years ago.

     Overall, he said MVEC is happy to be on the Governor’s radar in terms of the company’s progress.

     “Not only by them (Reynolds and Gregg), but by other electric cooperatives that also see a need to bring this service to their members,” added Lauzon.

     He concluded that the Governor and Lt. Governor are welcome back again for an update on MVEC’s progress.


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