Supporting the Member Cooperatives We Serve

Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives gives back to member communities

By. J.D. Wallace

In addition to assisting in the production of these events, AzGT employees also participate, including the entry of the Phoenix 150 truck with a variety of employees and their family members who rode in the Fourth of July Parade. Photo by J.D. Wallace

Not unlike many cities and towns that have a Main Street, the parade game is strong in Benson. Preparation for the Fourth of July is continuous, with a call for parade entries early in the year.

During the parade, music and announcements about the variety of entries require a sound system with electricity and amplifiers, as well as a well-trained crew to set up, operate and disassemble the equipment.

By providing for that need, Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives, which is headquartered in Benson, supports the tradition for the city and its citizens, who are members of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative – a member distribution cooperative.

“Arizona G&T Cooperatives has been a big supporter of the parade for 18 years, including donating the audiovisual services for the city of Benson,” said Brad Hamilton, a city engineer and director of city works, at the Benson City Council meeting on Monday, July 11.

Benson Mayor and AzGT Machinist Mechanic
Joe Konrad, left, presents J.D. Wallace, AzGT communications, social media and marketing administrator, with a plaque recognizing the cooperative’s support for the Benson Fourth of July Parade for almost two decades. Photo by Dana Cole, Herald/Review

The support has ranged from recently donating funds to hire a local DJ to provide the service, to many previous years when the cooperative’s audiovisual team would do all of the work and provide the equipment.

In those days, Jay Strickling, graphic services prepress and AV specialist, and James Bujarski, graphic services manager, would arrive hours before the parade’s start, set up speakers along the main part of the parade where the judges sat, operate the system for the duration of the parade, then disassemble the equipment after the parade. It was 20 to 22 hours of labor.

During the meeting, Joe Konrad— mayor of Benson and machinist mechanic for Arizona G&T Cooperatives— presented a plaque to J.D. Wallace— communications, social media and marketing administrator for Arizona G&T Cooperatives—to acknowledge the G&T’s support.

The audiovisual team has provided support for other events, such as the Butterfield Rodeo Parade in the fall.

The AzGT audiovisual team has provided its services for a wide variety of events, including the Benson Butterfield Rodeo. The team’s members are, from left: Andrew Schildberg; Jay Strickling, graphic services prepress and AV specialist; and James Bujarski, graphic services manager. Photo by J.D. Wallace

Benson is not the only community supported by Arizona G&T Cooperatives. 6 member cooperatives span the state into California to the west and New Mexico to the east. The G&T supports hallmark events or outreach efforts by all member cooperatives that serve the area.

These efforts are one way the G&T seeks to give back to the same people who have depended on and supported their electric cooperatives.

“Arizona G&T Cooperatives appreciates Benson and appreciates all the support this community has given for the 60 years that we have been here,” J.D. says. “We wouldn’t be able to have a successful headquarters without this city and its support.”

Supporting Member Cooperatives

Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives provides year-round community support to its member co-ops in Arizona and California. Here are a few examples:

Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California

  • Funding for advertising in local newspapers.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.

Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan, Arizona

  • Funding for Javelina Chase bicycle event.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.

Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima, Arizona

  • Funding for the Safford Lions Club Foundation at its annual Chihuahua races and salsa fest.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.

Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City, Arizona

  • Video support to promote new broadband service to entire cooperative service territory.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.

Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Sierra Vista, Arizona

  • Video presentations of youth programs to promote in classrooms across the county.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.

Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana, Arizona

  • Sponsorship of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona in the El Tour de Tucson bicycle race.
  • Annual meeting audiovisual support.