We’re kicking off 2021 with a fresh position created to deliver more support to utility communicators. Please help us welcome your Director of Member Solutions Jonathan Farmer, CCC!
The director of member solutions position was designed to provide a knowledgeable and solution-oriented resource for our members. Jonathan, a Certified Cooperative Communicator, has worked at two electric cooperatives and has strong ties to public utilities.
In his role at the communications co-op, Jonathan will brainstorm efficient communication solutions for utilities across the nation. He will help identify and connect member needs to resources delivered by Pioneer and our service partners:
- Pioneer Utility Resources: Experienced communicators, web experts and designers offering industry content and support.
- ARC media: Digital marketing and communications support with a focus on social media engagement.
- Efficiency Services Group: Energy-efficiency and conservation services.
- NewsData: Subscription-based newsletters covering energy policy, market news and resource development in the western U.S. and Canada.
- WordSouth: Marketing and communications agency with expertise in rural broadband marketing.
Jonathan learned to ride his bike in the parking lot of Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, where his dad worked at the time. (Fun fact: Mike Teegarden was his father’s Ruralite magazine local pages editor.)
He grew up traveling to public power meetings throughout the northwest. After living in New Mexico and Idaho, Jonathan moved back to Oregon to attend Western Oregon University. When he graduated from WOU’s leadership program with a degree in communications, he returned to his co-op roots.
“I remembered my time growing up around co-ops and decided there isn’t a field where you can find a better group of folks to work with who are making a difference in their communities than in the field of public power,” Jonathan says.
Jonathan got his start at Consumers Power in Philomath, Oregon, as a member services specialist. While balancing roles in both energy efficiency and communications, he earned his Certified Cooperative Communicator designation and put it to use capturing, writing and sharing the cooperative story. Guess who his Ruralite magazine editor was? Mike Teegarden! (Note: Mike says there is no chance he’s waiting around for a third generation of Farmer communicators.)
Jonathan moved to Lane Electric Co-op in Eugene, Oregon, to manage member and public affairs. He had a wild ride managing communications, not just in a pandemic but also during the tragic 2020 wildfires that affected many northwest utilities.
“It was incredibly uplifting to see the outpouring of support from folks all over the state and the country who were willing to do anything and everything they could to help us through that trying time for our communities,” Jonathan says. “It made me proud to be a part of the public power family. I am excited to continue to play my own part in the support and success of utilities around the country.”
Jonathan lives with his wife and three children on a small farm outside Dallas, Oregon. They built an 8-by-10-foot treehouse, perched on a stump left by a tree with strong family history. To prepare to work from home, Jonathan turned the kids’ treehouse into an office.
His treehouse office features LED lights, EnergyStar windows and a faux brick wall. He has plans to extend its deck to wrap around and put in some stairs so he doesn’t have to climb up the small ladder to get in. He will, however, keep the slide.
“It’s tough to bring work stress home when you take the slide home at the end of the day,” he says.