“I believe that the desire to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common mission is an intrinsic part of the human spirit. That’s what makes life worth living and that is what cooperatives are all about. Whether that’s providing electricity or credit or housing or agricultural products, co-ops demonstrate the power of people coming together to find real and lasting solutions.”
Rich Larochelle’s professional career was squarely focused on rural electric cooperatives. He worked for electric co-op organizations, including the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). His focus was mainly on the legislative and financial aspects of cooperatives, but the underlying theme in all his work was the belief that electric co-ops are ideally suited to not only bring electricity, but economic progress and quality of life to rural communities.
“I believe in people working together to achieve a common mission,” said Rich. “That is what cooperatives are all about. Whether that’s providing electricity or credit or housing or agricultural products, co-ops demonstrate the power of people coming together to find solutions. The desire to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common mission is an intrinsic part of the human spirit. It’s what makes life worth living.”
Although retired now, Rich continues to contribute to the advancement of cooperatives through his service as a board member on the Cooperative Development Foundation and involvement with a startup food co-op in his community. In the fall of 2016, the University of Mary Washington offered its first course on cooperative business with Rich as an adjunct professor, helping to educate a new generation on the benefits of the cooperative business model.
This lifelong commitment to co-ops led Rich to be inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. It is the highest honor that the United States cooperative community bestows on the extraordinary men and women who have made contributions in support of the cooperative form of enterprise.
Rich embraces the retirement years as a wonderful time for volunteer service. He has given his time to Catholic Charities, working to teach English as a second language, along with volunteering at a local homeless shelter helping prepare healthy meals, and raising funds for a local children’s museum.
“As a volunteer you have a great opportunity to work on projects that you are passionate about and that make a real difference. I am grateful for this time in life.” said Rich.
In his spare time, Rich loves to spend time with his family, especially his 4 ½ year old granddaughter and he enjoys living close to the Rappahannock River in a wonderful community full of natural beauty. He will be joined on the cruise by his wife Linda!