The existing office and warehouse buildings have been part of our history since Wright County REC moved from downtown Clarion in 1986. In 2001, Hancock County REC and Wright County REC merged to create Prairie Energy Cooperative (PECO). For many years, employees worked out of multiple facilities until the fall of 2017 when the Board of Directors approved the sale of the former Hancock County REC facility in Garner. Since then, all administrative employees have worked in Clarion, and in 2018 a new service center was built in our Touchstone Energy Industrial Park in Garner where it houses the linemen and operations staff that keep the lights on for the members in our northern counties.
The Clarion facilities have withstood many changes over the years. Increased PECO load and membership growth has caused us to outgrow our current facilities. We find ourselves needing more space in order to house our employees and to continue providing the excellent service our members have grown accustomed to.
So, what is on the horizon? The Board of Directors gave approval to relocate all Clarion personnel to the Clarion Industrial Park. In 2005, PECO and Corn Belt Power Cooperative purchased land to promote economic development and built a speculative building to entice businesses into the area. Over the years, businesses have occupied all but two lots and the spec building remains available. Prairie Energy will take full ownership of the remaining property and the spec building. Customization of the existing building with an addition of a new warehouse and pole yard will create the safe, efficient work environment that PECO has been striving for. New security measures will also be added in order to protect our employees, equipment, infrastructure, materials, and much more.
"The needs of the cooperative have changed. We have outgrown our facilities and our employees' health and safety are the most important to us," states Tim Marienau, CEO. "As an employer, Prairie Energy needs to provide facilities that promote safe and healthy environments as well as physical workspaces that can have a significant impact on the well being, mental health, and productivity of our employees."
Consolidating locations and improving the workplace will increase efficiency as we build modern facilities. Technology is also driving the creation of a more efficient, sustainable, and productive workplace for the cooperative. Downsizing from two facilities in Clarion to one will also decrease costs.
Watch for further details in the months to come as we work on building designs, costs and timelines, and so on. We look forward to sharing updates with our members!