SWCE 2024 board of director nominees

The 2024 Nominating Committee has selected the following nominees for the Steele-Waseca Cooperative Elec­tric board of directors. Committee members include: Matt LaCanne, Faribault; Daniel/Stacy Maas, Faribault; Dale/Lynn Groskreutz, New Richland; Denise Bartness, Owatonna; Rene/Pam Koester, Nerstrand; Bert Wiers­ma, Ellendale; John/Lylia Iverson, Medford; Charlie Peters, Lonsdale; and Bruce Rumpza, Blooming Prairie. Steele-Waseca members will be receiving mail-in ballots the week of April 29. They need to be received in Sur­vey & Ballot Systems post office box by 10 a.m., Friday, May 31, in order to be counted. Results of the mail-in ballot election of directors will be announced at Steele-Waseca’s 88th annual meeting, Tuesday, June 4, at the co-op’s headquarters, 2411 West Bridge Street in Owatonna.

District 1

PJ Duchene, incumbent, and Steele-Waseca board of directors assistant secretary/treasurer, resides and operates the family farm in Wells Township, west of Faribault. He has a son, Patrick, and daughter, Sumer. PJ also works as the shop foreman with the Rice County Highway Department. As for why he wishes to continue to represent District 1 on the Steele-Waseca board of directors, PJ responded, “I feel I can be a very good voice for the mem­ber-owners of the co-op. I also enjoy learning new things.” He is a Credentialed Cooperative Director. As for the qualities he brings to the board, PJ stated, “I’m young and outgoing. I enjoy being involved in my community.”

District 3

Dan M. Hansen, and his wife, Kathleen, live in rural Ellendale. “I was born and raised on the farm which I still live on,” stated Dan. “I know just about everyone here in Lemond Township,” and feels he has “…a great relationship with all the families here.” Dan worked for a natural gas meter repair facility for 45 years, working with customers all around the Midwest. He retired in 2020, farms part time and raises some beef cattle. He rents most of his crop land to a neighbor. ”I am very good dealing with people,” wrote Dan. “I consider myself as friendly and have common sense.” Dan wishes to represent the district on the Steele-Waseca board of directors, “…to have the families in Lemond Township and other areas of District 3 to continue getting the great service which they currently have.”

Ralph F. Miller, and his wife, LeAnn, live in rural Owatonna. Ralph worked at the Gainey Farm, Gainey Con­ ference Center, and Meridian Behavioral Health over his 49-year career. He was property manager for 33 of those years, and credits his experience in decision making among his qualities and abilities he could bring to the Steele-Waseca board of directors. He decided to become a board candidate after receiving a letter inquiring his interest. “I think it would be different and interesting,” wrote Ralph.

Neil R. Schlaak, and his wife, Jill, live in rural New Richland. He is the interim District 3 director appointed to the board Oct 26, 2023 by the Steele-Waseca board of directors, as they filled the seat vacated with the death of Duane Edwardson. “I was born and raised on a farm,” stated Neil. ”I started out in agriculture as a hog producer and in 1988 exited the hog industry and started crop farming.” He has served on numerous boards including church council, school board, WFS co-op board, and presently serves on the Freeborn County co-op board and treasurer for the New Richland Township for the past 30 years. Neil has 35 years of experience with ag business services. “I have sold feed, seed, John Deere for different companies,” wrote Neil, adding, “I’ve always have thought working for ag companies off farm has helped myself be a better board member.” When asked why he wishes to represent his district on the Steele-Waseca board, Neil wrote, “I know it is very important to have a good company to continue to serve customers. It takes good management to run companys so is the leadership of a board to keep and support management.

Anton H. Seykora, and his wife, Chantelle, live in rural Ellendale. Anton grew up in Owatonna, attended col­lege and graduated with a degree in ag production. “A small town boy that just wanted to farm,” stated Anton. He currently is a corn, soybeans, and sweet com famer. Anton has a partnership with a local canning company hauling sweet corn. He also owns a trucking operation with a semi and trailers. ”I would like to represent Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric as I am a people person,” wrote Anton. “Very easy to talk to. I will bring concerns to the board. I want to make sure people feel like their voices are heard. I want to be an integral part of hearing bylaws with shared decision making.” As for qualities and abilities he could bring to the board, Anton wrote, “I have experience on MN Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee. Served 6 yrs and for 1yr I was on the Board of Directors as the Chairman. This gave me leadership and experience on a State & National level. I have an open mind and would love to serve as a board member on SWCE board of directors.”

District 5

Rodney O. Krell, incumbent, and Steele-Waseca board of directors vice president, resides with his wife, Mi­chelle, in Blooming Prairie Township. Rodney is a fourth generation farmer to operate the Krell family farm. Their diversified crop farm raises corn, soybeans, sweet com, and peas. The couple has two adult children: son, Justin; and daughter, Jenna. Rodney currently is a member of the Blooming Prairie school board, Blooming Prai­rie Education Foundation board, Blooming Prairie FFA Alumni Association, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, and Steele County Agricultural Society. Rodney serves as Eucharistic Minister at his church. Honors include the 1996 Steele County Soil and Water Conservation Farmers of the Year, and the 2012 Steele County Farm Family of the Year.