Volunteering Boosts Curb Appeal at Benson Primary School

Arizona G&T Cooperatives Employees and Their Families
Volunteer to Boost Curb Appeal at Benson Primary School Parking Lot  

Benson School Board Member Vicky Konrad thanks AzGT

For Immediate Release


Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473, goldfather@azgt.coop

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203, jdwallace@azgt.coop


BENSON – For many years, Benson School Board Member Vicky Konrad worried about the negative impression made by the parking lot and drop-off area in front of Benson Primary School. Volunteers from Arizona G&T Cooperatives spent a day in December improving that impression.

“I’m a 16-year employee of the school, so I used this parking lot daily and I knew of all the problems we had with it,” said Konrad, who’s been a Benson School Board member for a year. “Our school’s appearance means a lot, and I want to thank Arizona G&T Cooperatives for everything today.”

The school didn’t budget for the project, so ten AzGT employees and their family members descended on the area to sweep the parking lot, repaint the stripes and curbs, shovel and spread decorative rock, and remove overgrown trees and brush. AzGT funded the supplies. It was all part of a Cooperative Concern for Community Challenge presented by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“It seemed like a really good opportunity for AzGT to lend a hand and give back to the community,” said Ben Engelby, general counsel for AzGT, who brought his wife Rochelle, daughter Emma and son Ben, Jr., to help out. “Being part of a cooperative, it feels like you’re part of a family.”

AZGT regularly donates funds for schools and other community projects. “But one of the best expressions of caring about the community is donating our time,” said Gerard Rodriquez, AzGT business information manager, who volunteered along with his wife Darla.

Micah Mortensen, superintendent of Benson Schools, explained that improved parking lot markings are important for safety. “Having partners like Arizona G&T is critical for our success,” he said. “It’s a great partnership in the community.”

You can see the volunteers in action on a video at www.azgt.coop.

(l-r) Geoff Oldfather, communications and public relations manager; Kerri Oldfather, receptionist; Emery Silvester, director of administrative services; J.D. Wallace, communications, social media and marketing administrator; Matthew Ginsberg, compliance auditor; Joseph Heersema, IT system administrator I; Sam Franko; Dona Franko, paralegal; Emma Engelby; Rochelle Engelby; Ben Engelby, general counsel; Ben Engelby Jr.; Gerard Rodriguez, business information manager; Darla Rodriguez; and Kristine McMinimy, energy services project administrator participated in the Cooperative Concern for Community Challenge.


About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.