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August 20, 2017

Power Up

2017 Board of Director Election

Every year Linn County REC has an annual meeting. One of the most important activities we conduct is the election for the board of directors. The board gives strategic direction and ensures the co-op has good governance.

Linn County REC members have a voice and a vote in how the co-op is governed.Our annual meeting is an opportunity for you to exercise one of the greatest benefits of being a member of an electric co-op, by voting for the board of directors.

In preparation for our annual meeting, the nominating committee held their meeting on June 13, 2017 to nominate candidates for the board of directors in districts 2, 3 and 7. The nominating committee selected the following members for candidates:


District 2: Kirk Hiland, North Liberty

Member since: 1988

Occupation: Broker, NAI Iowa Realty Commercial, Cedar Rapids, Certified General Real Property Appraiser, Adjunct Instructor, University of Iowa, College of Business


  • Treasurer, Linn County REC board of directors
  • Cedar Rapids Area Assoc. of REALTORS - past President
  • Iowa Association of REALTORS
  • National Association of REALTORS
  • Boy Scouts
  • Ducks Unlimited

What strengths would you bring to the board if re-elected? “Knowledge of best business practices, the co-op electric utility system, economic development, life-long resident of the area with understanding of the history and growth of Eastern Iowa.”

What are your short term/long term goals? “To assist in making decisions that will maximize productivity and minimize expenses given the current regulatory and rate structure system in the state. To be proactive in controlling electricity costs, implementing use of alternative forms of energy (wind, solar) and costs associated with delivery in order to give the members the best rates and service possible in a constantly changing environment of Federal, State and Local regulation.  Ultimately I would like to see that rates to Linn County REC customers are among the lowest while still providing the consistent quality service we are used to.”

What is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “The biggest issue facing Linn County REC or any utility is providing the best service and delivery at the lowest price. This is what customers want and deserve. To do this requires constant vigilance of policies and procedures with no room for complacency.”


District 2: Gerry Kuhl, North Liberty

Member since: 1984

Occupation: Retired, Certified Public Accountant, Kuhl, Phillips & Jans, Past Mayor and Mayor pro tem,   City of North Liberty


  • Board Member, Horizons Social Services

  • Treasurer, Elder Services of Johnson County

  • Audit Chair, Christ the King Lutheran Church

  • Advocate, Lutheran Services of Iowa

  • Member, North Liberty Transit Committee

  • State of Iowa City Finance Committee (Former)

What strengths would you bring to board if elected? “I am honest, approachable, task oriented, listen to other individuals and work cooperatively. I have a broad range of experience in several areas, including finances and planning, grants and regulatory protocols. I am also open to new ideas and approaches.”

What are your short term/long term goals?  “Linn County REC has always delivered a quality product, and we need to continue excellent service. The cooperative policies and procedures should continue to support excellent service and energy conservation to our communities, with a fair and reasonable pricing structure. As new technologies emerge, such as wind power, the cooperative should explore those technologies to determine if they will fit into a future business plan. And, what means are we using to improve communications with our members and vendors.”

What is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “Linn and Johnson counties are the fastest growing areas of Iowa. The cooperative must plan for and continue to upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate this dramatic growth and demand for services. At the same time, the cooperative must maintain/improve its existing infrastructure. All of this involves a tremendous investment in capital. The challenge is two-fold: the investment in infrastructure while maintaining reasonable rates for businesses and individual residences. To solve this issue, the board needs to continue to work cooperatively with staff and also be open to input from consumers. At the same time, we need to work with our municipalities, counties, and planning bodies so that we are not caught ‘off guard’.”


District 2: Rose Rennekamp, North Liberty

Member since: 1975

Occupation: Retired, Vice President Communications, ACT


  • Trustee, Kirkwood Community College
  • Director and Secretary, Kirkwood Community College Foundation


What strengths would you bring to board if elected? “I’m well-prepared to be an REC director. My father was an electrician, so I’ve learned about electricity since childhood. I spent the first half of my career in the appliance industry (with Whirlpool and Amana) where I helped develop energy efficient appliances and heating/cooling systems. I also learned about wind energy when my husband worked for Clipper Wind Turbines. I previously served five years as a Linn County REC director, taking classes and passing tests to become a Certified Cooperative Director. I was also a director of New Resources, Inc., a buying group of electric cooperatives. I’ve served as a director of Iowa College Access Network, Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, Iowa City Area Development Group and Summer of the Arts.”

What are your short term/long term goals? “My short-term goal would be to learn about current issues facing Linn County REC and concerns of our members. My primary long-term goal is to represent the members in cooperative decisions — setting policies and helping optimize decisions so that members have reliable and affordable electricity, with limited negative impact on the environment. I want to help educate members about how to purchase and install supplemental solar and wind electrical generation systems, “smart” appliances, and electric vehicles. Plus, I want to ensure that we are treating all members fairly. We have many types of members, from apartment renters, to homeowners, farmers, small businesses, and large corporations. Our policies, practices, incentives and electricity prices need to be fair to all.”


What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “Balancing the desire for affordable energy with environmental and security issues. There is no “perfect” way to make electricity. Coal, wind, solar, natural gas, and hydroelectric all come with costs and environmental issues. And, our energy grid is increasingly vulnerable to terrorist and natural disaster threats. Linn County REC directors and our energy suppliers have to study the issues, understand the pros and cons of various options, and make decisions that are in the best interests of our members.”

District 3: Roger Krug, Fairfax

Member since: 1976

Occupation: Farmer


  • Assistant Secretary, Linn County REC board of directors
    Board Member, Central Iowa Power Cooperative
    Member, National Corn Growers Association
    Member, American Soybean Association
    Member, American Legion Post 217
    Past President, Lenox Mutual Insurance Association


What strengths would you bring to our board if re-elected? “Before making decisions, I listen very carefully and gather all facts available to ensure the best decision is being made for the membership and the cooperative. The director training and certificates that I have earned, and my role on the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) board of directors, has made me an effective leader for Linn County REC. I use this experience to ensure the continued success of our cooperative.”

Short term/Long term goals: “The electric utility industry is constantly changing so I am committed to make sure that our system is in the best shape possible to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to our membership.

Long term we need to keep abreast of our growing system and the future needs to ensure we are able to meet our members needs while providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity. The processes we put in place today need to be able to sustain us now and well into the future.”

What is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “Federal environmental regulations are making our industry and decisions more challenging every year. While working on the CIPCO board, we focus on making sure we advocate for the regulations that are needed and focus on making sure our generation portfolio includes a mixture of fuel types. We embrace the investments needed in new technology to keep Linn County REC able to meet the growing territory that we serve.”


District 3: Richard Running, Cedar Rapids

Member since: 2011

Occupation: Retired, Director, Iowa Department of Workforce Development, United States Secretary of Labor Representative (Presidential Appointment)


  • Vietnam Veterans of America
    Fairfax American Legion
    Cedar Rapids VFW
    St. John XXII Catholic Church


What strengths would you bring to our board if elected? “I have extensive experience, related to the REC board’s policy which states the primary duty of directors is to establish the rules, regulations and policies, having served in the Iowa Legislature for 15 years as a State Senator and Representative. As a previous member of Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative and Dairyland Power Cooperative, I am familiar with cooperatives and because I continue to maintain a strong relationship with legislators, I will be an effective communicator of Linn REC concerns and issues.”

Short term/Long term goals: “Short term is to gain as much process knowledge of Linn County REC as humanly possible to hit the ground running as an effective representative of REC members. Long term I want to work to provide members with a good return on investment and a board that appreciates member input and acts accordingly.”

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “With reductions of coal and nuclear resources, for profit utilities are experiencing sluggish growth, which in other states has raised the specter of legislative proposals to limit or even eliminate the cooperative’s ability to operate as a nonprofit entity. Cooperatives focus on service, not profits. In these days of unpredictable political and regulatory activity, we as co-op members need to keep an eye on local, state and federal governments and agencies to prevent regulations from negatively affecting cooperatives.”


District 7: Ronald O'Neil, Solon

Member since: 1976

Occupation: Retired, General Manager, VJ Engineering


  • Linn County REC board of directors (CCD, BLC)
    Johnson Co., Cedar Township Trustee
    Johnson Co. I-Club Board of Directors (member, past President)
    Iowa Public Airports Assoc. board of directors (past member)
    Solon Community School Board (past member)
    Johnson Co. Agricultural Extension Council (past member)


What strengths would you bring to our board if re-elected? “I have 26 years of management experience, both in the public sector and the private sector.  This includes strategic planning, budgeting, personnel management and project management. I have been associated with several boards and commissions, both as a member and as support staff. I have several years of construction experience. I have a strong work ethic and I am willing to devote the time needed to be an effective board member.  I have attended 120 hours of classroom instruction to improve my knowledge of cooperatives and be a more informed Board member.  I have completed my Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate and my Board Leadership (BLC) Certificate.”


Short term/Long term goals: “As a co-op board, we are completing an update of the strategic plan for Linn County REC. This will outline the general direction for our cooperative for the next 3 to 4 years. Long term, we need to continue to provide safe, reliable, affordable, modern and secure energy to our members. Linn County REC has the largest number of members of all electrical cooperatives in Iowa, with over 28,500 meters. We are steadily growing. I would like to see us improve our equity ratio somewhat. Linn County REC has what I would consider a very good management staff. It is the board’s responsibility to oversee the CEO to make sure we continue with that good management. I am also interested in monitoring alternative sources of energy to provide us with electricity.”


What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “As we continue to grow, we must monitor our infrastructure and make the appropriate improvements. Because we are a cooperative, the more members we have, the more we are able to share the infrastructure costs. Maintaining the lowest rates as possible is important. We purchase all of our electricity from CIPCO, so we do not set the wholesale rates. Good management on our part will assist us in keeping our rates as low as we can.”


District 7: Kevin Stahle, Solon

Member since: 2009

Occupation: Senior Research Associate, Dupont/Pioneer


  • Board member, Sts. Peter & Paul Historical Chapel


What strengths would you bring to our board if elected? “I like addressing issues first hand and taking on the challenge of solving problems. It’s great when you have a good team that works together, sets goals and ultimately meets the goals. Communication is one of my strengths and building strong lines of communication helps to get the job done. I also have some experience in the electrical trade with the many challenges we’ve faced with wiring our farm operation over the years.”

Short term/Long term goals: “My goals would include learning as much about the co-op as I can. REC has always been well respected and a goal would be to help that continue. Once I’ve become familiar with the structure of REC, I want to help address any issues that may exist. I’d also like to get to know all the board members and build good relationships. Finally, I think with strong board members, working together, we can continue to do what REC has a good reputation of doing… and that is serving its members.”

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the co-op today? “I feel one of the biggest issues facing the co-op is assuring we will continue to have good line men in the future. I see it in Ag and there are challenges in finding good help to keep our operation going. I feel reaching out to schools and helping kids become more familiar with the co-op and the electrical trade is a must. I visit area schools each year to present Ag information and opportunities. So many of our kids don’t know what’s out there or what they want to do. I think reaching out and sharing the opportunities helps to spark interest and lets them know what’s available.
Additionally, I feel climate change and making a continued effort in strengthening the REC service lines and making necessary upgrades is a must. The weather we face today is unpredictable and following through with necessary upgrades will assure our members of good service.”



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P.O. Box 69
Marion, IA 52302

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