Three incumbent directors were re-elected to the Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) board, Tuesday, June 7, during the co-op’s 86th annual meeting at its headquarters in Owatonna.
The meeting was the co-op’s first in-person annual meeting in three years. The previous two years were drive-thru meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Re-elected to three-year terms were District 2 Director Geraldine G. Lienke, Janesville; District 4 Director Dennis C. Ringhofer, Owatonna; and District 6 Director Gary W. Wilson, Owatonna. Lienke and Ringhofer were unopposed and declared re-elected by SWCE Attorney Tricia Lancaster. Wilson was re-elected against challenger Michael T. Herman, Owatonna with 220 votes to 147 votes for Herman.
Steele-Waseca’s annual meeting had 380 members register with 810, including guests, in attendance. Registered members received a binder with a ballot, and gift certificates, which were a $50 Energy Star® certificate and $30 Power Perks certificate (good at one of the participating member businesses listed on the certificate). The certificates each expire on Dec. 31, 2022 and will not be replaced if they are lost or stolen.
Annual meeting attendees participated in Steele-Waseca’s collection of non-perishable items for an area food shelf. Those who donated received a LED lightbulb. In all, 166 pounds of non-perishable items and $268 dollars were collected. The donations were presented to the food shelf in Ellendale. Steele-Waseca thanks annual meeting attendees for their generosity, as 124 LED lightbulbs were given away as a result of the food shelf collection.
Prior to the start of the annual meeting, two Early Bird prize drawings were conducted. The first drawing went to Dale Motl of Blooming Prairie for a 4-Seasons Vacations travel gift certificate and $100 Boonie’s Bar & Grill of Faribault gift card; the second drawing went to Gary Ceplecha of Faribault for a 4-Seasons Vacations travel gift certificate and $100 Nagel Sod & Nursery of Medford gift certificate.
The annual meeting started with the Presentation of Colors featuring the local Color Guard and Faribault Middle School students. Those in attendance recited the Pledge of Allegiance and remained standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The business portion of the meeting included the establishment of a quorum, adopting the agenda, acceptance of the reports printed in the June 2022 Sparks newsletter, introduction of the board of directors, the report of the Nominating Committee delivered by Chairperson Denise Bartness, the call for nominations from the floor, and director voting.
While the tabulation of ballots was conducted by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Certified Public Accountants, Steele-Waseca Communications Specialist Randy Sobrack introduced the 2022 Youth Tour delegates Nate Seykora of Owatonna, and Alex Kindseth of Farmington. Alex was unable to attend, but Nate was presented with a Steele-Waseca backpack and goodies for his tour with Minnesota’s delegation to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., June 14-19.
General Manager Syd Briggs recapped the past year for the co-op, and introduced special guests, retired employees, and the current employees of Steele-Waseca. A special presentation was conducted for Finance Division Manager Dave Lundberg, who was working at his 50th annual meeting.
Dave, who is retiring Thursday, June 30, reflected on highlights of his Steele-Waseca career. “It’s been a good place to work,” said Dave, noting his appreciation of the co-op’s annual meeting. “Thank you for an experience of a lifetime.”
Following the business portion of the annual meeting, three Grand Prize drawings were conducted along with drawings for the flowers on stage. The Grand Prize drawing recipients included Dan Bruzek of Ellendale with a $100 gift card to Lerberg’s Foods of Ellendale; Leann Boyd of Owatonna with a $100 gift certificate to Grampa’s Ole Home Meats of Medford and a $100 gift card to Casey’s General Store; and Joel St. John of Claremont with a $150 gift certificate to Steve’s Meat Market of Ellendale and a $150 gift card to Casey’s General Store.
Following the drawings, a smoked pork chop lunch was served by Hy-Vee of Owatonna, which included potatoes, corn, coleslaw, roll, water and/or milk. The Faribault Middle School students delivered a choice of chocolate, cherry, or butterscotch Dilly® Bars to the dining members and guests.
At the conclusion of the annual meeting, the Steele-Waseca board of directors met for their reorganizational meeting. The following officers were elected: Gary Wilson, president; John R. Beal, Faribault, vice president; Rodney D. Krell, Blooming Prairie, secretary/treasurer; Ronald D. Sommers, Northfield, acting secretary/treasurer; and Duane R. Edwardson, Ellendale, chaplain.
Steele-Waseca has 11,757 service locations in a nine-county area including Blue Earth, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, LeSueur, Rice, Steele, and Waseca counties.