by | Aug 21, 2023

Mizzou Football Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz

I always get excited as the county and state fair seasons wrap up. I know it’s that time of year when the morning air is a little crisper and I get to spend my weekends watching my Mizzou Tigers and Kansas City Chiefs play football. There is nothing better than a tailgate full of friends supporting their team while consuming more barbeque than any medical doctor would recommend.

This summer Mizzou Football Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz offered to talk to our electric cooperative managers from across Missouri. I was worried a college coach may not know what an electric cooperative even is, but I quickly found out Eli is part of the co-op family. His brother-in-law is an electric co-op lineman in Arkansas. 

Eli explained how he is training more than just an athlete; he is committed to develop his players into leaders. “Great teammates set the example and hold their teammates to the standard,” he says.

What makes a good leader? Eli points to three traits:

  • Character: What you say and what you do must align.
  • Competency: You have the ability to contribute to success.
  • Connection: A team that understands the mission and connects to it is a committed team.

While the managers listened to Eli, I could see a lot of heads nodding in agreement. These men and women must help their employees be the team that wins for your hometown. 

They do this by making sure the mission — providing exceptional service for their member-owners — is understood by every team member. Then they provide them with the tools and training to get the job done.

You too are a member of Team Co-op — not a customer. You have a voice in the focus and future of your electric co-op. When you attend the annual meeting, vote for your representatives on the board and pay attention when your co-op calls a peak alert, you cheer on your team and inspire them to victory.

These days it is so important for you to understand the issues your co-op faces. The job of providing affordable and reliable power gets harder every year. The more voices that support these issues, the better.

While Coach Drinkwitz declined my offer to suit up for a game or two, he did remind me that a leader must always put the team first. Electric cooperatives were founded on that mission so it’s no surprise that strategy works today and will continue to work tomorrow. 

See you at Faurot Field. M-I-Z!

Caleb is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, a Mizzou alumnus and a member of Boone Electric Cooperative. 

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