Brian Krambeer, CEO of MiEnergy Cooperative, was recognized as a recipient of the Cooperative Builder Award at Cooperative Network’s Annual Meeting Awards Banquet Tuesday, November 14 in St. Paul.
The award recognizes select men and women for their contributions, loyalty and service to the cooperative movement at the local, state, regional or national level.
Krambeer’s award presentation highlighted his leadership during the 2007 flood, the Alliant Energy acquisition by 12 electric cooperatives in 2015 and the merger of Tri-County Electric Cooperative and Hawkeye REC to form MiEnergy Cooperative in 2017.
In accepting the award, Krambeer humbly spoke of the journey of life and what he’s learned along the way.
He described how employees with flood damaged homes worked with him to put the cooperative back together following Rushford’s devastating flood.
“I witnessed the tremendous value of the relationships we have with our elected officials,” Krambeer said, referencing his friendship with Rep. Gene Pelowski who helped, then Tri-County Electric Cooperative, attain $2.4 million in state aid for flood damage and who 10 years later worked to pass legislation that makes electric cooperatives in Minnesota eligible for state disaster aid.
Krambeer explained the significance of the Alliant Energy acquisition and Cooperative Principle Six, Cooperation Among Cooperatives, by saying, “12 cooperatives accomplished what one cooperative alone could not do.”
And as MiEnergy nears the end of its first year as a newly merged entity, Krambeer expressed the value in looking to the future, preparing for the future and honest communication.
“I work with a tremendous group of people at MiEnergy Cooperative and have an outstanding board of directors. We accomplish all these things together as a team,” Krambeer acknowledged.
Krambeer closed his acceptance speech by attributing his personal success to having a “truly supportive family, my faith, assembling a great group of employees, a supportive board of directors and the value placed on the relationships I have made over 29 years of service in the cooperative program.”
In addition to Krambeer, Randy Geiger, board director of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, and Mike Toelle, board director of Browns Valley Cooperative, Cenex Inc., CHS, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, were also recognized as 2017 Cooperative Builder Award winners. Cooperative Builder Awards have been granted to 187 individuals in Minnesota and Wisconsin since 1976.
MiEnergy Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative and is the result of a merger between Hawkeye REC, of Cresco, Iowa, and Tri-County Electric Cooperative, of Rushford, Minn., in 2017. It maintains 5,700 miles of power lines covering most of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota and Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek counties in Iowa. The cooperative also serves small pockets bordering those counties. It provides electricity to more than 18,600 members in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. MiEnergy is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.