Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bucking Trends, Findings for Ruralite, Currents, and Florida Currents Show Huge Engagement, Loyalty (Ruralite Services, Hillsboro, OR)

(HILLSBORO, OR) -- A focus on community journalism and other highly relevant content results in exceptionally engaged print readers, an independent survey of Ruralite Services’ readership says. Results of a 2018 readership survey conducted by GfK MRI confirm that readers of Ruralite magazine’s three labels—Ruralite, Currents and Florida Currents—continue to both read and enjoy the monthly publications at rarely seen levels.

More than 84 percent of Ruralite publication readers are highly engaged and spend an average of 30 minutes each month reading stories about neighbors, local businesses and the energy industry. The time spent reading and other engagement metrics were well above those for the most highly rated magazine titles in the country, GfK MRI said.

“The numbers tell a great story,” says Ruralite CEO, Michael Shepard. “Defying all the rumors of print’s decline, our magazines are actually as popular as ever with the readers we serve. Survey results also indicate that while print remains strong, digital is gaining strength.”

The survey was designed to profile readers of Ruralite, Currents and Florida Currents magazines by looking closely at lifestyle data, demographic characteristics and measure use of consumer products and services. Ruralite Services’ editorial team will use the survey results to guide a long-anticipated redesign and new content refresh of all three magazines.

“Our challenge will be to take a good thing and make it even better,” said Ruralite Publications Editor Leon Espinoza. “Readers, for instance, expressed high interest in gardening and organic foods. Our job, how do we tap those passions and put them on the printed page.

“One neat find is that views about the quality hold strongly across states and regions, from the far reaches of Alaska to the Florida Keys. Based on the data, Florida Currents readers like what they are seeing just as much as readers of Ruralite and Currents magazines.”

Ruralite Services distributes 440,000 magazines for public power utilities and associations across nine states, reaching over a million readers each month. A four-page questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of Ruralite readers starting in April 2018. A total of 539 completed surveys were tabulated to form the results.

“In today’s extraordinarily time-pressured environment, the decision to engage with a print magazine is a definitive choice in terms of how a reader wants to invest their time,” according to Head of Custom Research Paul Sammon with GfK MRI.  “Two elements particularly stood out in the results: time spent reading and reader loyalty.  A Ruralite publications reader’s choice to sit and enjoy the magazine for a full 30 minutes is a testament to engaging content.  That a full 77 percent of all magazine readers read each and every issue is a testament to their powerful bond with the magazine."

“The survey shows our magazines offer a unique opportunity to keep connecting with readers,” says Espinoza. “There is so much to tap, from lifestyle and new technology content to focusing on locally grown food and associated recipes.”

From a demographic perspective, Ruralite publication readers typically are well-educated, are pet owners, own their own home, and are active home improvers and remodelers.

A considerable majority of readers agree the magazine(s) contain relevant information, articles are informative, and the content can easily be shared with others.


About Ruralite Services

Ruralite Services is a full-service communications cooperative serving electric utilities across the U.S. Since 1954 we have been a trusted solutions partner—now in 20 states—we offer customizable printed and digital magazines, and much more. From building websites and providing social media support to offering design, print and delivery of special reports, calendars, directories, bill inserts, ballots and posters. For us, success is when your member customers give your cooperative or utility all the credit for materials we helped create.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The New Energy Water Bill Deal (Politico Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Conference negotiators unveiled details of a final deal reached for the first "minibus" package, H.R. 5895 (115) that will come up for a vote later this week. The three-bill package that includes the Energy-Water title is expected to easily clear both chambers and reach the president's desk before the Sept. 30 deadline, Pro's Sarah Ferris reports . Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure when they return Wednesday, although Hurricane Florence could affect that timing.

So, what's inside the roughly $147 billion measure? Negotiators rejected some of Trump's cuts and agreed to boost funding for nuclear security efforts and energy research. The Energy-Water portion of the bill contains $44.6 billion — $1.4 billion above current levels and $8.1 billion above the president's budget request, Sarah reports. Democrats mostly fought off partisan policy provisions that House Republicans had put forth, such as allowing firearms to be used on Army Corps of Engineers lands.

Specifically, Pro's Annie Snider reports, negotiators blocked GOP efforts to overturn a court decision requiring hydropower dams to be operated for the benefit of endangered salmon, but they also denied immediate funding for green groups' ultimate goal of removing the dams. Elsewhere in the bill, Congress avoided Trump's call to nix the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program and instead gave the popular program $366 million, $12.7 million more than it got fiscal 2018, Pro's Darius Dixon reports . The bill's conference report does not include funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project yet again, which House Republicans have been pushing. Read the Energy-Water summary and the one-pager.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Washington State’s Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is Being Sold (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, WA) -- A fast-growing ski resort company is planning to purchase Washington State’s largest ski resort.

The Seattle Times reports Denver-based Alterra Mountain Company announced plans Thursday to acquire Crystal Mountain Resort, located about 80 miles southeast of Seattle.The company says the sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

The company currently owns 13 resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Crystal Mountain is expected to be added to the company’s resort network for the upcoming ski season.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bonneville Power Administration Selects Michelle Manary as New Chief Financial Officer (Bonneville Power Administration)

(PORTLAND, OR) -- The Bonneville Power Administration has appointed Michelle Manary as executive vice president and chief financial officer starting Sept. 30. As CFO, she will oversee the capital and debt management program, accounting, cash management and budgeting for BPA’s $4.3 billion total budget.

Manary is currently the vice president of Transmission Marketing and Sales, a position she has held since 2015.

“I am very excited to appoint Michelle as BPA’s next CFO,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “She is a dynamic, creative and highly engaged leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Finance organization. Michelle’s 20 years of experience across BPA’s Power, Transmission and Corporate organizations will be invaluable as we build on the momentum we have gained this year in strengthening our financial health.”

Manary started at BPA in 1998 as a financial analyst in Power Services where she led the development of a spending review, which is comparable to BPA’s current Integrated Program Review process. She became the manager of the Power finance group, ensuring spending targets were met for Power capital and expense. Manary went on to hold additional management positions in Transmission, Corporate Strategy and Power before landing in her current role.

“I am looking forward to joining Finance and partnering with organizations across BPA to dive into the implementation of the agency strategic and financial plans,” said Manary. 

Before coming to BPA, Manary served as CFO at More Housing USA in Tacoma, Washington. Manary has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and a master’s degree in business administration and public administration from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Acting CFO Mary Hawken, who had announced her intent to retire, will return to her previous role as the deputy CFO and stay on through December to help with the transition. Hawken has been a valuable member of the Finance team for 32 years, working her way up to the top post from her first role as a student trainee. 

“This year we have advanced a lot of commitments outlined in the financial and strategic plans, and I’m looking forward to working with Michelle and helping to integrate our strategy into our everyday work before I leave,” Hawken said. “But I am also looking forward to traveling more and expanding my volunteer time.”

“I would like to thank Mary Hawken for her tremendous service as acting CFO and am pleased that Mary and Michelle will be able to work closely together during the transition,” said Mainzer

Tina Ko, the current acting deputy chief operating officer, will take over as acting vice president of Transmission Marketing and Sales until a formal announcement and selection take place.

BPA is a federal agency that markets wholesale electrical power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Northwest and one nonfederal nuclear plant providing about 28 percent of the electric power used in the Northwest. BPA also operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission in its service territory, which includes Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana and small parts of eastern Montana, California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also funds regional efforts to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by hydropower development in the Northwest.