Directors elected to the Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services Board at its annual meeting on March 25, 2017: Lonnie Feuerhelm, district 5 (incumbent), Ginny Huber, district 6 (incumbent) and Joseph Bacon, district 4. Submitted photo
Directors elected to the Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services Board at its annual meeting on March 25, 2017: Lonnie Feuerhelm, district 5 (incumbent), Ginny Huber, district 6 (incumbent) and Joseph Bacon, district 4. Submitted photo

Submitted by Liz Gunderson, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services

ELLSWORTH, WI – More than 290 members and guests attended Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services’ 80th annual meeting on March 25, 2017, at the Ellsworth High School. Roger Wiff, Chairman of the Board, presided over the meeting.

The theme Member Driven, Community Focused, was reflected throughout the meeting in the director candidates’ speeches, reports and presentations.

Elected to the board were Joseph Bacon, district 4 and incumbent directors Lonnie Feuerhelm, district 5 and Ginny Huber, district 6.

The audit report was presented by Abby Williamson from the accounting firm of Carlson Highland & Co., who were engaged to perform the 2016 audit. The cooperative did not have to assume any additional long-term debt during the year and finished the year with net margins of $792,111.

Barb Nick, president and CEO with Dairyland Power Cooperative, reviewed Dairyland Power’s vision to exceed member expectations through providing a diverse energy resource mix and operational excellence.

Nick presented Dairyland’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint; highlighting increases in solar and wind energy production.  She reviewed natural gas, hydroelectric and dairy digesters as additional renewables used by Dairyland Power.  She provided information on the history of coal use and the reliability and use of coal within the Dairyland cooperative.  Nick also reported on Dairyland Power’s nuclear decommissioning efforts.

President/CEO Larry Dokkestul reported on the Annual Meeting theme: Member Driven, Community Focused, which highlighted how the employees are working for the members and the energy saving programs available to the members.  He stressed that the future depends on active membership and the relationships between members, directors, and employees.

Chairman Wiff referenced his written report as contained in the annual report.

Wiff reported that the cooperative is financially and physically doing well.  He reviewed member communication efforts added in 2016 and presented new efforts for 2017.  He reviewed community-focused programs including Operation Round Up, educational programs and scholarships.

Several members asked questions regarding topics such as streetlights, using the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers for hydroelectric generation, transmission projects and nuclear waste.

Daniel Fischer was recognized for his years of service on the board of directors. Fischer completed four, three-year terms and was not eligible for re-election.  During his time on the board, Fischer earned Credentialed Cooperative Director and Board Leadership certificates.  He also served as the PPCS director to Dairyland Power Cooperative.

The meeting wrapped up with prize drawings totaling $1,500 in gift cards. Attendees also received coupons for free chicken dinners at the Ellsworth Fire Hall on March 25.

The board reorganized immediately following the annual meeting—All officers remain unchanged—Roger Wiff, chairman, Ginny Huber, vice chairman and Lonnie Feuerhelm, secretary/treasurer. Edward Hass was elected to succeed Dan Fischer as director on the Dairyland Power Cooperative Board of Directors.