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BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Don Franklund, co-general manager and CEO of the Innovative Energy Alliance Cooperative, with the Cooperative Leadership Award at its annual meeting on Jan. 15. Franklund has served as a cooperative leader from more than 24 years, leading his cooperatives through a number of harrowing experiences with a firm hand and quick resolve.

Franklund was instrumental in the formation of the Innovative Energy Alliance Cooperative. Ten years ago, alliances among cooperatives were a relatively new concept. Franklund embraced the spirit of an alliance, which supports the sharing of employee skills, equipment and more. An alliance allows the cooperatives to experience savings while maintaining the autonomy of each cooperative. Alongside Co-General Manager Travis Kupper, Franklund continues to lead the Alliance towards the future, providing innovative solutions for its member-cooperatives.

Slope Electric Director John Lee Njos says Franklund’s leadership can be seen by the team he helped build at the alliance and across four cooperatives. He says, “We go to Don for his ideas, feedback and advice on how to go forward. Don is all about the members and those he serves. A great servant becomes a great leader. It has been a great honor to know someone like this, but it is even greater to have him as a friend.”

Over the years, Franklund has earned the respect of many of his peers, and many look to him for advice and counsel. He is an effective spokesperson and leader, and a strong representative of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives. North Dakota’s electric cooperatives congratulate him on receiving the Cooperative Leadership Award.

Every year, NDAREC recognizes individuals for their generous contributions to North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and the communities they serve. An eight-member committee of the NDAREC board of directors selects award recipients from nominations submitted by NDAREC’s members, which includes 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives.

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to nearly 250,000 North Dakotans via 196,000 meters. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development, and communication services including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.