For the last 15 years, Joyce Valley has enjoyed the privilege and responsibility of serving Lake Region Electric Cooperative on its Board of Directors. When her term is up this June, she says she hopes the person who replaces her on the Board cares deeply about the Cooperative and is knowledgeable about the industry.
“I would like people to understand that it’s a business and all of our members are the owners,” Valley explains. “I think term limits are good, but there will be a big turnover on the Board pretty soon. I hope all of the new directors listen and they all care.”
During her tenure on the Board, Valley served in multiple capacities. In the past, she was elected treasurer and currently serves as secretary on the Board.
One of the reasons that initially prompted Valley to run for the director seat was the Cooperative’s low equity. Back in 2007, she says it was only at 34 percent. She remembers feeling like she could help make a difference if she was elected to the Board of Directors.
“I am proud of the fact that Lake Region’s equity is now over 45 percent,” Valley says. “It took us awhile to get to this point, but this is one of the greatest accomplishments during my time on the Board.”
Other significant advancements Valley was a part of include hiring CEO Tim Thompson, updating the benefits package, installing more underground wire, and developing the natural gas subsidiary Lake Region Energy Services. She mentions how the Board is committed to utilizing new technology with its successful standby generator program and the recent addition of Exacter technology.
Valley also brings up the hydroponic GroShed the Cooperative installed in front of the headquarters building in Pelican Rapids. The GroShed supports year-round produce production, even during sub-zero temperatures. She says something like this may seem like a small thing, but it has a lot of value. In addition to providing fresh vegetables for local consumption, the GroShed is an example of beneficial electrification using renewable energy sources.
Looking forward, Valley hopes Lake Region continues to grow. “The Cooperative is always trying new things – sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But there are a lot of good ideas and it’s wonderful when they work,” she says.
The encouragement of a neighbor, coupled with support from the community, were what helped Robert Shaw decide to run for a seat on Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors. Shaw was elected to the Board in June of 2007.
“I owned a business for 40 years and I had a lot of customers in this area,” Shaw says. He mentions how he was glad to bring this business experience to the Board, along with having served in the military.
Shaw is proud of being a Lake Region Electric Cooperative member for more than 50 years now. He currently serves as treasurer on the Board of Directors.
One of the greatest challenges Shaw says the Board faced during his tenure related to capital credits. He explains, “Our capital credits retirement rotation was way too far out when I started, close to 30 years. Thankfully, we have that rotation down to about 17 years now.”
Highlights that stand out to him are hiring the CEO, approving a workable budget, and buying into Carr’s Tree Service. Decisions like the Carr’s Tree Service buy in have proved to be very profitable over time. Seeing Lake Region’s equity rise above 45 percent was another significant accomplishment for the Board.
Shaw says he feels the Cooperative is now in a very strong position. “I would like everything to keep on track,” he adds.
“I also want to thank the members, not only those in my district, but members outside the district as well. They have shown such great support,” Shaw concludes. “From the CEO and everybody in the office, to the lineworkers out in the field, everybody at the Cooperative works hard and does their part. The directors can’t do it by ourselves; we need everybody on the same page and I feel like this is the case at Lake Region.”