Associated Electric Cooperative celebrates career of CEO Jim Jura
SPRINGFIELD, MO – Associated Electric Cooperative celebrated the nearly 25-year career and legacy of Jim Jura, newly retired CEO and general manager, at its recent annual meeting in Branson.
Locally, Jura was active in the business community. Among his board appointments were CASA, Springfield Chamber of Commerce (past president), Springfield Public Schools Foundation (past president) and Springfield Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Nationally, Jura helped Associated position itself as one of the lowest cost wholesale power providers in the country, serving a three-tiered system of generation and transmission cooperatives and distribution cooperatives in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma with more than 875,000 member-owners. At the time of his retirement in June 2016, Associated’s:
- Operating revenues increased from 1991 to $1.09 billion
- Total power sales increased to 17.92 kilowatt-hours
- Total assets grew to $2.99 billion
- Generating capacity grew to 5,700 megawatts
- Transmission lines increased to 9,937 miles
He served on the boards of many national, regional and state entities and was inducted into the Missouri Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2016.
Jura joined Associated in August 1991 after serving as administrator of Bonneville Power Administration in Washington. Previously, he worked for the Office of Management and Budget and for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational and Health Administration in Washington DC. He also worked for Boeing Co. after graduating from Seattle University with a master’s degree in business administration.
He joined Associated at the beginning of a decade that brought great changes to the cooperative and to the power industry as a whole, beginning with the closing of Associated’s coal mines in northern Missouri and the switch to low-sulfur coal from Wyoming. Associated became one of the first utilities in the country to convert its coal units to 100 percent low-sulfur coal to reduce emissions. That change was necessitated to cost effectively meet requirements of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
Another major event in that decade included the deregulation of wholesale power distribution and the rise of Enron. Associated responded by retaining control over its extensive transmission system and developing a power marketing team for the benefit of its members.
During the 1990s, Jura also led Associated to enter the bond markets, headquartered in New York City, to secure more advantageous financing. That paved the way for Associated to build and acquire a series of natural gas plants through the early 2000s that added 2,753 MW of power to its capacity. As the price of coal increased and that of natural gas dropped, these plants have become increasingly valuable assets in the Associated fleet.
Jura also oversaw the addition of wind power, beginning in 2007 when Associated committed to purchasing power for 20 years from Missouri’s first utility-scale wind farm. The U.S. Department of Energy named Associated “Wind Cooperative” of the year. By 2016, Associated’s wind capacity was 750 MW.
Other Jura accomplishments for Associated included:
- Launched the cooperative’s Take Control & Save energy efficiency program, which, through 2015, generated lifetime energy savings of more than 1.3 billion kWh for participating members — enough energy to power nearly 96,000 homes for a year
- Established the Excel awards program in which employees nominated peers for their exceptional leadership and performance
- Forged strong partnerships with other utilities, railroads, coal companies, engineering and construction firms, banks and other companies
- Engaged with state and federal legislators and regulators to advocate for keeping electricity affordable and reliable for cooperative members
- In 2015, reached the mark where retail rates of distribution cooperatives in the Associated three-tiered system were on average lower than municipal and investor-owned utilities in same areas served
- Continued to be among bonding agencies’ top-rated cooperatives: Aa3 from Moody’s Investors Service, AA from Standard & Poor’s and AA- from Fitch Ratings
Associated Electric Cooperative’s board of directors hired David Tudor as its new CEO and general manager, and he began work May 16 at the cooperative.
Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 875,000 customers. Associated’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, www.TakeControlAndSave.coop. Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
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