Brown County REA observes 80 years

Submitted photo

The Board of Directors of the Brown County Rural Electric Association, left to right, Jim Mickelson, Attorney Bob Hinnenthal, Bill Berg, Allen Hanson, Jim Hanson, Greg Mages, Joel Christensen, Reuben Kokesch, CEO Mike Heidemann, Brad Sprenger, retiring General Manager Wade Hensel and Tom Hayes.

Submitted photo The Board of Directors of the Brown County Rural Electric Association, left to right, Jim Mickelson, Attorney Bob Hinnenthal, Bill Berg, Allen Hanson, Jim Hanson, Greg Mages, Joel Christensen, Reuben Kokesch, CEO Mike Heidemann, Brad Sprenger, retiring General Manager Wade Hensel and Tom Hayes.

NEW ULM — Brown County Rural Electrical Association (REA) hosted about 470 members, spouses, employees and guests at the New Ulm Civic Center on April 6, 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.

Heidemann reviewed activities of the past year, noting the retirement of the general manager and two long-time employees and the renewal of a contract for hydropower through Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). He thanked Hensel for his 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.

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.

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