SWCE 2023 board of director nominees

The 2023 Nominating Committee has selected the following nominees for the Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric board of directors. Committee members include: Ryan/Jenny Angelow, Faribault; Daniel/Stacy Maas, Faribault; Dale/Lynn Groskreutz, New Richland; Glenn/Linda Wiesjhan, Owatonna; Rene/Pam Koester, Nerstand; and Denise Bartness, Owatonna; Joseph Haberman, Blooming Prairie; Charlie Peters, Lonsdale; and John/Lylia Iverson, Medford. The election of directors will take place during Steele-Waseca’s 87th annual meeting, scheduled Tuesday, June 6, starting at 10:30 a.m., at the co-op’s headquarters located at 2411 West Bridge Street in Owatonna. #swceTRUST

District 7

John R. Beal, incumbent, and SWCE board of directors vice president, along with his wife, Colleen, live on a farm in Walcott Township, north of Medford. They have two daughters, a son, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. John retired in January 2002 after 40 years in manufacturing, sales, and marketing, which included sales management positions. He is a lifetime member of the Bluebird Recovery Program (BBRP). John enjoys flying and is also a lifetime member of the Faribault Area Pilots Association. He has earned his Gold, Board Leadership, and Certified Credentialed Director status by attending all schooling offered for directors. “I want all of our members at Steele-Waseca Co-op to know I always try to keep in mind what is best for our cooperative and the members when representing you both away, and at the board table,” stated John. “I consider it both an honor and a privilege to represent you the members.” In addition, “I am committed to continue my best effort to do the very best I can to be your respresentative,” wrote John. “Thank You, for your past and future support.”

District 8

Mark W. Estrem, is a lifelong resident of rural Nerstrand. He and his wife, Jeanne, have been married for over 51 years. They have two married daughters, and three granddaughters. Mark is a former dairy farmer and custom heifer grower. He still drives part-time for Northfield Lines. Mark is a member of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, serving 15 years on Parish boards; and 20 years with the Rice County American Dairy Association. Mark stated his interest in the co-op started with the first trip Steele-Waseca took to the Coal Creek Station in North Dakota. “I drove the motor coach for that trip many times and also for the GRE Directors,” wrote Mark. “I wish to be a part of the board of directors of SWCE as it works together to provide for the necessary service and power needs of all the co-op members.” As for qualities he could bring to the board, “After serving on several committees and my farming career – we have had to adapt to changing times,” stated Mark. “We are always trying new ideas in our farming operation to get better yields and conserve our soil. I think I can be open to new ideas for the future needs of our co-op.”

Bryan L. Finley, and his wife, Becky, live in rural Northfield. They have three sons and a daughter, five grandchildren, 100 chickens, a horse and two dogs. Bryan grew up in Hayfield where he graduated from high school. He attended Rochester State Junior College 1970-72, earning an AA degree in mechanical technology. Bryan worked in prosthetics in 1973 and continued until 2012. He was a business owner from 1991-2012, and is currently a companion caregiver. Bryan owned Advanced Prosthetic Technology, and made prosthesis for amputees. He served patients in 30 counties in southern Minnesota. Bryan has been with Steele-Waseca since 1997. “I have read the monthly newsletters and have attended several annual meetings and would like to know more about how the co-op functions,” stated Bryan. “If I can learn more about the position I could use my background as a business owner and professional to deal with issues the board faces. I am a servant. I enjoy problem solving.” As for the qualities he would bring to the board, “I have worked for 39 years in health care and assisted 1000’s of patients by listening to their prosthetic needs and finding ways to help them,” wrote Bryan.

Ronald D. Sommers, incumbent, and SWCE board of directors acting secretary/treasurer, along with his wife, Ruth, live on the farm where he grew up in Northfield Township. They have a daughter and a son, both married, and each with two children. Ronald attended the University of Minnesota and earned bachelors and masters degrees in agriculture. He was an agricultural educator for over 20 years in southern Minnesota. After that, he worked nearly 20 years with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., where he served as sales accounting manager for their central division and later sales coordinator for Minnesota. Ronald has been honored as Rice County 4-H Alumnus of the Year, Rice County Conservationist of the Year, and received Honorary Minnesota and Honorary American FFA degrees. “I believe in the cooperative business model and am familiar with the vital role played by cooperatives in bringing modern electric power to rural parts of our state and region,” wrote Ronald. “Today, our industry faces different challenges as we address new technology, concerns about our environment and increasing costs. I believe SWCE has been well-directed and well-managed and would like to contribute to moving our cooperative into the future during these exciting and changing times.” Adding, “I would like to apply my skills and talents to our electric cooperative by continuing to serve on its board of directors.”

District 9

Scott J. Carlson, and his wife, Lisa, live in rural Faribault. They have two grown children, Grant and Grace. Scott has a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. He is a weather observer and sends his data to the Minnesota Climate Office. Scott recently retired from a 31-year career as an air traffic controller. He has lived in District 9 for the past 23 years. “I love to learn new things and want to give back to the community,” stated Scott. “I’m looking forward to working with the other board members to maintain a strong co-op.” As for qualities he would bring to the board, “I have an accounting background,” wrote Scott. “I did bookkeeping for a credit union during my college years. I’m very detail oriented, highly responsible and follow through on my endeavors.”