NDAREC honors award recipients at annual meeting
“Powering Communities, Empowering Members” was the theme of 70th annual meeting of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC), held March 6-8 in Bismarck. Nearly 200 electric cooperative board members, employees and representatives of allied organizations attended.
To kick off the meeting, Robert Grant, NDAREC president, and Dennis Hill, NDAREC general manager, provided a joint report on the accomplishments of the association during 2012. They reported NDAREC continued to support the legislative priorities, member communication efforts, employee and director education interests, safety practices and rural development projects of member-cooperatives.
Grant said NDAREC services are tailored to help member-cooperatives be strong and successful. “Over the years, our co-ops have consistently tried to be there for their members and communities,” he said. He added that recent public opinion surveys confirm that members and other North Dakotans appreciate this commitment.
“The people of North Dakota continue to support and trust their electric cooperatives,” said Grant, who represents Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative, Williston, on the NDAREC board of directors.
NDAREC conferred six major awards during the annual meeting. The awards and recipients included:
• Cooperative Leadership Award, presented to Bill Bertram, retired director of Cass Country Electric Cooperative, Fargo. For more than 33 years, Bertram served with distinction for cooperatives at the local, regional, statewide and national levels.
• Community Service Award, presented to Dave Caroline, line superintendent, North Central Electric Cooperative, Bottineau. Caroline has served on the local city council and economic development group, and has led many community development projects.
• Helping Hand Award, presented posthumously to the late state senator Bob Stenehjem, Bismarck. Stenehjem, who died in a 2011 traffic accident, was cited for his legislative leadership and, in particular, for his 2005 sponsorship of a bill – which became law – providing principles for utilities to use in developing electric service area agreements. Kathy Stenehjem, his spouse, accepted the award.
• Wally Beyer Rural Development Award, presented to Bobby Koepplin, manager of rural development, Cass Country Electric Cooperative, Fargo. During his 34-year co-op career, Koepplin has helped co-op members and local communities to launch and sustain a wide array of economic development projects.
• Wally Beyer Rural Development Award, presented to Sara Otte Coleman, Tourism director, N.D. Department of Commerce. Coleman was cited for 11 years of service as the state’s tourism director. During this time, she has maintained a strong publishing partnership between the N.D. Tourism Division and North Dakota Living.
• North Dakota Living Local Pages Award, presented to Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, Carrington/Cando. This award honors the co-op making most effective use of local pages in North Dakota Living, and judges praised the large display photos and human interest stories which Northern Plains publishes.