The Magazine of American Municipal Power, Inc. and its Member Communities

Of Member Concern

AMP 50 Years

Jolene Thompson


AMP 50 Years

3 min read



February 2022

I’ve found it very valuable over the past year to take some time to reflect on AMP’s history as we celebrated 50 years of serving members. I’ve received lots of positive comments from AMP members and employees about the benefits of learning more about why the organization was formed and what happened along the path from September 1971 to today.

AMP was formed and because municipal electric systems at the time were threatened – by the anti-competitive practices of other types of electric utilities, detrimental policy developments, and the need for individual systems to work together to leverage joint action in power supply, services and advocacy. Because of the efforts of those founding AMP members and their determination to protect their communities, our members were not only able to just survive, but they gained many rights in those early years that many other public power systems across the country didn’t have.

Growing up, I gained an early understanding of the value that the utility industry brings to society. My parents both worked in the utility industry, and they helped me to understand its importance. However, it wasn’t until after college when I came to AMP as an intern, that I grew to appreciate the public power business model.

In the 1990s, during my early days at AMP, I worked in our member services department, which meant visiting AMP members and meeting member community officials. Doing so, I gained an appreciation for the unique attributes that make public power special, and I saw how dedicated public power officials are to serving their communities. During that time, we developed a number of new programs and services for AMP members. Being able to play a part in that was exciting.

Since those early days, AMP has grown and progressed to meet member needs. From advocacy efforts in the legislative and regulatory arenas, to providing a diverse portfolio of power supply resources, to launching new value-added member programs, to strategic partnerships, AMP has grown and our members have been the driving force of the resulting successes.

Over the years I’ve had the incredibly good fortune to work alongside many of the AMP leaders who made this organization what it is today — Bob Dupee, Bill Lyren, Sr., George Pofok, Ken Hegemann, David Straus, Mike Weadock, Dan Preising, Jon Bisher, Steve Dupee, Jeff Brediger, John Bentine, Marc Gerken, and so many others. They all cared deeply about AMP and the public power business model, and they poured their blood, sweat and tears into building the organization and advocating for its members.

It’s clear in their interviews as part of the video series celebrating AMP’s 50th anniversary that public power still means as much to them today as it did then.

I doubt that the early founders envisioned what AMP would look like at the 50-year mark but the state of the organization stands as proof that their efforts paid off. I have so much respect for what they went through, and it’s important to the AMP Board of Trustees, and AMP staff that we do justice to what they established.

We can’t stop the changes occurring in our industry, but we can anticipate and adapt in a timely and strategic manner. AMP’s role is to make sure we’re at the table to provide our members information about what’s happening and to offer projects and services to help our members be successful. That won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution and will require both simple and bold moves. Over the past year, the AMP Board of Trustees updated our mission, vision, values and strategic priorities with a focus on the organization’s strengths, opportunities and challenges.

There are many new faces in our membership and on the AMP team. They bring with them new ideas and new energy — and it’s heartening to watch as they become true believers in public power. I encourage AMP members to get involved with the organization and to reach out to let me know if there are ways we can better meet local needs.

The past 50 years have proven that we are stronger together. Here’s looking forward to 50 more!

For more information about AMP’s history or to view Stronger Together Interview Series, visit the AMP 50 Years page of the AMP website. To view a collection of historical AMP photos from the past 50 years, click here.