Alliance Will Mean National Scale and Enhanced Offerings, Support for Community-Owned Utilities
2 companies with deep ties to America’s electric cooperatives and other community-owned utilities are combining forces.
Pioneer Utility Resources, a communications and marketing cooperative based in Hillsboro, OR, has acquired Missouri-based ARC Media, a digital marketing and communications agency with particular expertise in social media services for electric cooperatives. The transaction was completed March 31.
Leaders of the 2 companies saw the move as an opportunity to provide a broader array of industry-leading services to community-owned utilities across the U.S.
“We felt the synergy with the ARC Media leadership from the first time we met,” said Pioneer CEO Michael Shepard. “As a combined team, our utility partners will be able to leverage content, print and website strengths of Pioneer and the social media, grassroots advocacy and policy communications chops of ARC Media.”
“Pioneer’s Board of Directors has been clear that we think the company has unique and valuable programs and services to offer community-owned utilities across the country. The acquisition of ARC Media fits that vision perfectly while at the same time broadening our skillset,” said former Pioneer Board Chair Marc Farmer, general manager of Clatskanie People’s Utility District, Oregon.
Andy Neidert, who co-founded and leads ARC as its Managing Partner, said the acquisition comes as ARC was experiencing rapid growth in demand for its social media services and being asked to expand into other communications sectors.
“Rather than build those services out more fully, my partners and I decided that working with a company like Pioneer gave us the ability to scale our operations almost immediately,” Neidert said. “Pioneer, which has always focused on utilities, and itself being a cooperative, was the fit we wanted for our cooperative customers and our employees.”
Neidert will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of ARC Media along with Operations Director Melissa Gilliam Shaw. Neidert will also take on the newly created role of Vice President of Business Development and Strategy.
For ARC’s clients, operations will continue as they have been. Leaders from both organizations will immediately start work on seamlessly merging the social media platforms and other overlapping offerings of the two companies. The goal is to eventually be able to offer cooperative membership to eligible ARC Media clients, giving them a say in how the businesses are run and access to any patronage Pioneer might distribute in the future. Pioneer, on average, returned 5% of members’ annual spending in each of the past 20 years.
About ARC Media
ARC Media is dedicated to developing communication partnerships between electric cooperatives, their member-owners, and influencers. Social media and other digital platforms have been the company’s hallmark offerings and it serves more than 110 distribution cooperatives, state electric associations, and generation and transmission utilities. ARC uniquely offers robust overnight social media monitoring and response, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Based in Jefferson City, Missouri, ARC, which was formed in 2015, has 16 employees in six states and on United States military bases located in Germany and Spain.
More information is available on ARC Media’s website.
About Pioneer Utility Resources
Formed in 1954 to help Northwest rural electric cooperatives with their communications needs and a cooperative itself, Pioneer partners with nearly 120 community-owned utilities and state associations in 22 states. Marquee products and services include seven consumer magazine brands reaching more than 650,000 U.S. utility households. The cooperative also provides social media engagement, responsive website design and hosting, and custom communications services. Pioneer’s magazine brands include Ruralite, Florida Currents, and Currents and it works with utility associations and their members to publish Louisiana Country, Along These Lines, and California Water and Power magazines.
Pioneer owns and provides management and other services for two wholly-owned subsidiaries serving electric utilities. Efficiency Services Group (ESG) specializes in support and installation services for utility energy efficiency efforts, primarily in the West. NewsData publishes industry-leading, independent newsletters covering the utility sector in California and the Pacific Northwest. Pioneer is also the largest shareholder in General Pacific, the Fairview, Oregon-based electric supply company.
Most employees of Pioneer and ESG work in the company’s Hillsboro headquarters; NewsData is based in Seattle and has an office in San Francisco.
More information about Pioneer and its subsidiaries is available at the Pioneer.coop.