Josh Kramer

As the editor-in-chief, I get to ride the coattails of the people who consistently “grind it out” to produce this outstanding magazine – a publication that embodies the true spirit of rural North Dakota. I get to witness a masterpiece, in my opinion, come together, as the talented North Dakota Living team, along with each cooperative’s local pages editor, passionately and dedicatedly find and tell “the best of the best” stories. These stories need to be shared. They are a reflection of North Dakota and call out those who are contributing greatly to their communities, making decisions and making a difference.

There are many perks of seeing things from my position.

Perk No. 1: I get to taste test the wonderful food featured in this magazine’s Recipe Roundup section. You might be surprised to learn each recipe is made and photographed – and sampled – in-house.

I, however, might need to lay off the taste testing, as I was recently reminded in an interaction with an electric cooperative member. This gentleman kindly suggested my photo (yes, on this very page you are reading) “needs to be updated” to match the paunchy reality of the present day. Duly noted, kind sir.

Perk No. 2: Plainspoken advice.

Perk No. 3 (and then some): I have the privilege of previewing the stories compiled in the magazine each month.
This month, as my preview concluded, I caught myself in a moment of awe. While each feature story has distinct differences in subject, common themes emerged:
•    The profound commitment to education.
•    The challenges of living in sparsely populated rural areas, and the effort required to meet basic needs.
•    The growing need in our communities for more people with specialized skills, and the innovation and “can-do” attitude required to attract and retain talent locally.
•    The vast distances rural people must travel to live, work and play.
•    The spirit of service and commitment to others that pulses through communities, cooperatives and schools, demonstrated by people coming together to fill unmet or critical needs.
•    The examples of leadership from school board members, administrators, coaches and line crews, and their willingness to tackle challenges others may not be equipped or willing to take on.

Reading through this issue, I felt immense gratitude, respect and appreciation for those willing to make tough decisions and do what is necessary to ensure a quality of life all North Dakotans deserve.

Our cooperatives, our association and the North Dakota Living magazine recognize the responsibilities we share, not only to provide safe, reliable electric service, but to be one of the few remaining local sources to tell the stories that need to be shared.

Perk No. 4: Awaiting the stories yet to be shared, but certain to come in North Dakota Living.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. Contact him at