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Martin Lowery and Barry Silver Named to Cooperative Hall of Fame

6 April 2014

Barry Silver and Martin Lowery will receive the cooperative community’s highest honor, and join a select group of individuals who have been recognized for their dedication to fostering cooperative enterprises worldwide.

Barry Silver, NCB Executive Vice President, is a 2014 inductee to the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Since joining NCB in 1980, Mr. Silver has been an unstoppable force within the Bank and industry in the development of cooperative programs. A walking educational resource, he is renowned for finding new and innovative ideas that benefit the cooperative community. Over the past 33 years, he has helped thousands of cooperatives obtain financing to succeed in business.

Mr. Silver is also responsible for founding the NCB Co-op 100, the annual listing promoting the financial impact the country’s cooperatives have on the economy. Now, 20 years later, The Co-op 100 still remains the only annual report of its kind to track the profits and success of cooperative businesses in the United States. The report was also the inspiration for the International Cooperative Alliance’s creation of the Global 300 report.

Barry Silver currently serves a member of the executive committee of Cooperatives of the Americas Region of the International Cooperative Alliance, representing cooperatives from the United States. He is also a member of the COFIA board, which is dedicated to the development of co-op banks and credit unions in the Americas.
International Co-operative Alliance board member Martin Lowery, was selected to the Hall of Fame for his career as “a forceful advocate for the cooperative business model, with an unshakable conviction that enabling people to empower themselves represents the best way to improve the quality of their lives,” said officials at the Cooperative Development Foundation.

Lowery, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Duke University, began at NRECA in 1982 as assistant manager of the Computer Services Division. Since then, he’s been instrumental in forming major association initiatives that have advanced and strengthened cooperatives and programs supporting them, including NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network and the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program.
He began with the NRECA in 1982, and since then has taken a lead role on many projects, including forming and promoting new cooperatives such as the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative – the first electric co-op in Hawaii.

Lowery also played an important role in drawing together disparate groups during the creation of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, a brand formed in 1998 to bring individual co-ops from around the country under one banner for the first time. He currently oversees NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network (CRN), which has resulted in groups of cooperatives coming together in large research projects such as a $33.9 million Department of Energy grant for smart grid technologies. Lowery has also taken lead roles in numerous safety, education, and international arenas.

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