I was a young newlywed when I stepped into adulthood and independence and bought my first house. It felt nothing short of perfect as Mary and I seamlessly combined our collective worldly possessions into one wonderful shared space.

Then along came Justin, Jamie and Josh, and our perfect newlywed space quickly became cramped family space. Once spacious closets were crammed full of everything from clothes to toys to supplies, and the cars that previously enjoyed protected garage space took up residency in the driveway.

We’re dealing with similar growing pains in our Cassopolis office. It was constructed in 1940, and renovated in the mid-1990s. It was appropriately sized for the time, but no one could anticipate the opportunity and growth that would face the organization two short decades later.

As I’ve shared in recent columns, we’re on a fast growth track as we build your Utility of the Future.  In 2013 we committed to upgrading the utility infrastructure with a robust, two-way fiber communications system that will greatly improve your service experience and position us to offer developing automation technologies that will provide you new levels of comfort and convenience.

One year later, in response to heavy and persistent member demand for high-speed options, the board directed leadership to leverage that system and fully deploy a fiber communications solution in five years across our southwest Michigan footprint.

Two major projects that will add unimaginable value to your membership, both requiring the addition of significant human and physical resources. The renovated newlywed space worked in the late 1990s when we had 68 employees in Cass, but today’s 93 employees are cramped and we’ve applied as many makeshift changes as we can. Over the next five years we’re adding 32 employees related to these projects, and project 32 more over the next 15 years. Doing nothing is not an option.

We’ve created and are implementing a vision for something more for our members, and are on a clear path to differentiating ourselves as “The” Utility of the Future. That utility requires a new home. Like investing in our system, we must invest in the infrastructure that houses other critical resources; namely the people, systems and physical assets behind your service experience. This investment will create operational and functional efficiencies while showcasing innovative technologies and energy efficient building design, all of which will be relevant and offer benefit to our members.