Brown County Rural Electrical Association (REA) hosted about 470 members and spouses, employees and guests at the New Ulm Civic Center April 6th for the cooperative’s 80th Annual Meeting. A total of 232 members registered for the meeting.
Pastor Josh Doughty of United Methodist Church in Springfield, shared the invocation. Board President Jim Mickelson recapped highlights and cooperative happenings over the past year. He talked about the leadership transition at the co-op as General Manager Wade Hensel retires and Mike Heidemann becomes the fourth person to lead Brown County REA in its 80-year history.
CEO Heidemann reviewed activities of the past year, noted retirement of the general manager and two long-time employees, and renewal of a contract for hydropower through Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). He thanked Hensel for his excellent leadership of the cooperative the past 16 years.
The 2016 audited financial report was reviewed by Office Manager Darla Ruschen. Directors were elected in Districts 2, 3, and 8. Incumbents Bradley Sprenger, Allen Hanson and Reuben Kokesch were re-elected to three-year terms.
David Luepke shared his experience serving on the Member Advisory Council, topics addressed at the meetings and being part of the nominating committee. He encouraged other members to become involved. In her absence, Member Services Manager Marcia Solie shared Natalie Sellner’s comments and appreciation for the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. last June as the cooperative’s Rural Electric Youth Tour representative.
At the organizational meeting which followed, Jim Mickelson was elected President of the Board, Bill Berg chosen as Vice President, Jim Hanson elected Secretary/Treasurer and Reuben Kokesch was again selected as Brown County REA’s Great River Energy representative.
Brown County Rural Electrical Association’s (REA) Board of Directors announced that Michael Heidemann has been selected as the new CEO, effective January 1, 2017.
Heidemann has been serving as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) since June 2016. He succeeds Brown County REA’s current General Manager Wade Hensel. Hensel will continue to serve in his role as General Manager until his retirement in April, after 15 years at the cooperative.
“Mike has done a great job for the last 10 years and I look forward to working with him in the CEO position. Mike will be the fourth person to lead Brown County REA in its 80-year history and I will have the privilege of working with three of them,” said Board President Jim Mickelson.
“I’m confident that Mike will do a great job leading Brown County REA,” added Hensel.
Michael has 26 years of experience in the electrical utility field. For the last 10 years, he has served as Brown County REA’s Operations and Engineering Manager. During the last 4 years of that time, he fulfilled the position at both Brown County REA and BENCO Electric Cooperative in Mankato.
“I’m humbled and honored to serve Brown County REA’s members in the CEO position. I look forward to continuing the work the past managers have established by bringing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to Brown County REA’s members,” said Heidemann.
Brown County REA serves more than 4,000 member-owners in Brown County, and portions of Sibley, Nicollet, Renville, Redwood, Watonwan, Cottonwood, & Blue Earth counties.
Katelyn Hauth of rural Springfield was chosen to represent Brown County REA at the Rural Electric Youth Tour in Washington, D,C,, June 10-15.
She will join 41 other Minnesota high school students and their chaperones and travel to our nation's Capitol to get a firsthand understanding of the legislative process and visit historic landmarks and museums. The group will be among 1,500 high school students from across the country who will learn more about electric co-ops and the value of membership as well.
Katelyn, daughter of Roger and Diane Hauth, is a junior at Springfield High School.