United Electric Cooperative, Inc.


"Cooperative in the Community"


At United Electric we truly care about the communities we serve. Our employees work together to make a difference in your community.

Two well established Cooperative principals include concern for communities, and education and training for our members. In keeping with these traditions, the Board of Directors of United Electric has decided to reinvest returned, unclaimed capital credits back to the community by providing educational scholarships to our members.


Several years ago, as a result of Pennsylvania’s lobbying efforts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Electric Cooperatives are now able to use their escheated money within their local communities. Escheated money is capital credits from former members that have been unclaimed; and, the members have not been able to be located for 3 years. Legislators have agreed to allow the Cooperatives to use funds locally for specific causes.


2019 Youth Tour

“Elevate Yourself. Your Coop. Your Future.”

Over 1,800 of rural America’s outstanding high school students traveled to Washington, D.C. to interact with their elected officials, see history up close and learn more about electric cooperatives. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour has been a tradition for 61 years. From June 16th – 21st, delegates, chaperones, and staff from 46 states travelled to Washington, D.C. to hear from NRECA speakers and congresspersons, as well as have guided tours of America’s historical places. United Electric Cooperative chose five outstanding students from our territory to represent our cooperative: Sydney Barto, Elizabeth Blake, Gauge Gulvas, Camille Hanzely, and Airen Kelso.


Youth Day

 June 17th was this year’s Youth Day for all attending students and this year’s theme was, “Elevate yourself. Your Coop. Your Future.” Youth Day consists of engaging speakers and state-to-state socialization not only by talking, but by students exchanging their states’ pins and stickers. NRECA’s CEO Jim Matheson took the stage to discuss NRECA’s position on politics. “We lobby on both side of the political fence because we care about our communities.”

Next up was Bobby Von Bokern, spokesperson for NRECA International. Bobby is a lineman for Owens Electric in Kentucky who travelled to Haiti twice to help electrify small villages in the north and the south of the island. He noted that we as Americans can take for granted the power of electricity because even though the native Haitians didn’t have power “everyone was happy regardless of their situation. Always be willing to lend a hand with a smile on your face.”

Following NRECA international was NRECA’s national Youth Leadership Council (YLC) candidate, Wallace “Bubba” Bass from Mississippi. Bubba was chosen from a group of his peers, other YLC candidates from across the nation, to represent NRECA’s youth. Bubba spoke at NRECA’s annual meeting this year and wants to encourage others to make changes without tearing others down. “We need leaders to stand on the shoulders of the founding fathers.”   

Once again in the Youth Day line-up, students heard from two-time Paralympic medalist Mike Schlappi. He always discusses his entire life, including the shooting accident committed by his best friend that left him without the use of this legs. This year, he noted to the students, “If you create change, even the smallest change, then you have succeeded in life.” Mr. Schlappi stresses to all the students every year that their voice matters and even if you can’t stand up you can stand out.



 Following Youth Day, Pennsylvania and New Jersey students were treated to arcade gaming, good food, and Coop themed scavenger hunts at Dave & Buster’s. This provides the students some time to get acquainted since the Pennsylvania/New Jersey group has grown so large. Prizes were awarded to the top three teams and all the students seemed to be more comfortable with each other following this event. Throughout the week, the Pennsylvania/New Jersey students visited Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Museums, the Holocaust Museum, the Udvar-Hazy Space Center and various monuments and memorials. Also on the itinerary was a visit to the Washington National Zoo, Union Station, and a new trip to the Newseum sponsored by NRECA for a Wednesday night treat of dinner, dancing, and touring.

In addition to touring our nation’s capital, students also get to meet with their congressperson and/or a representative from his/her office. For the first time in many years United States Representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional district, Glenn “GT” Thompson was unable to reschedule a prior event, but all of United’s students met with aid Chris Mulcahey. Students asked Chris questions like “How do I become an aid for a congressperson,” and “Can you tell me what happens in a typical day for Congressman Thompson?”  



 More than 53,000 students from all over rural America have participated NRECA’s Youth Tour program. The Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 as way to educate young minds on the reasons behind a cooperative and its principles. Students in Pennsylvania that have attended the Youth Tour are eligible every year they are in a system of higher education to apply for the Jody Loudenslager scholarship offered through the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association. Ms. Loudenslager was a 1995 Pennsylvania Youth Tour participate from Trout Run, PA. She was among the 230 passengers killed on July 17, 1996 when TWA flight 800 exploded after take-off from New York. Jody was committed to high education, whatever form it takes and believed that Youth Tour instilled the importance of electric cooperatives and the values they represent to the next generation of leaders.  


Meet the Students


 Sydney Barto attends Brookville Area High School and is the daughter of Marc and Laurie Barto of Sigel. Sydney participates swimming, choir and band, and track. She has also participated in school musicals as well as Camp Friendship. Sydney plans to pursue a career in speech pathology.

 Elizabeth Blake attends West Branch High School and is the daughter of John and Svetlana Blake of Morrisdale. Elizabeth participates in band and runs lights and sound during events in the school auditorium. She is also involved with her local church, ice hockey, and chess club. Elizabeth would like to pursue a career in computer science.   

Gauge Gulvas attends DuBois Area High School and is the son of Todd Gulvas and Jodi Coccimiglio of DuBois. Gauge is actively involved in wrestling, baseball, cross country, and National Honor Society. He also enjoys umpiring little league baseball. Gauge would like to explore a career in pharmacology or another medical field.  

Camille Hanzely attends the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School. She is the daughter of Thomas and Stacy Hanzely of DuBois. Camille participates in boxing as well as Camp Friendship. She is also involved in her local church and attended Camp Confidence. Camille would like to explore a career in food science, possibly becoming a dietitian.

   Airen Kelso attends Brookville Area High School and is the son of Corey and Lisa Kelso of Brookville. Airen participates in football, track, band, and National Honor Society. He also is heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout rank. Airen would like to pursue careers in either biology or psychology.  

On behalf of the United Electric Board of Directors and myself, I want to thank this year’s students for representing United Electric so well.

Brenda Swartzlander
President & CEO

Stephen Marshall
Chairman of the Board

United Electric’s five outstanding students soak up the sunshine at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Left to Right: Gauge Gulvas, Elizabeth Blake, Sidney Barto, Camille Hanzely, and Airen Kelso.


Outside of Congressman Thompson’s (PA-15) office. Students within Congressman Thompson’s district include United Electric, REA Energy Co-op, Valley Rural Electric Co-op, Somerset Rural Electric Co-op, Central Electric Co-op, New Enterprise Rural Electric Co-op, Bedford Rural Electric Co-op, and Warren Electric Co-op.

Youth Tour offers high school juniors the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for a week and experience all the beauty and history of the nation's capital. Each student is also eligible for the Jody Loudenslager Scholarship as well as the chance to be selected as the Pennsylvania/New Jersey Outstanding Youth Tour Student of the Year.