2024 Annual Meeting a Success

The annual meeting is a time where the members of Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative come together to announce the board election results, celebrate achievements, and listen to highlights on the state of the co-op from the Board Chair and CEO. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC) celebrated the 2024 Annual Meeting at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center on Tuesday, April 16th in Wadena. A total of 287 members and their guests were in attendance for the meeting.

Allison Frederickson, Member and Energy Services manager, presented this year’s Deep Dive session on Rooted in Agriculture. She highlighted grant and energy auditor opportunities for agriculture members, rebates, and more. Thirty-two members enjoyed free swim at the pool, and many members enjoyed Bingo prior to the meeting.

Shortly after the business meeting was called to order, members were served a delicious grilled chicken meal catered by the Clarissa Ballroom. TWEC recognized service awards for employees and highlighted that Director Mike Thorson is celebrating 50 years of service to the co-op. 

Isabel Birkholtz, the 2023 Youth Tour representative, presented highlights of her trip to Washington, D.C. to the membership. All six recipients of the 2024 scholarships were in attendance and recognized on stage. 

Board Chair, Miles Kuschel, highlighted one of the Co-op Principles: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Kuschel gave a brief presentation about his trip to Zambia, Africa, with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to help establish Zambia’s first electric cooperative. Kuschel also highlighted how the co-op is working tirelessly with legislators and regulators to make sure they are educated on how the bills that they make affect rural Minnesota and our members. The co-op is working with officials towards lifting the nuclear moratorium to explore the benefits of small modular reactor technology, and working with new battery compositions to store electricity from renewables, while trying to block mandates that continue to drive the price of electricity skyward. 

Dan Carlisle, TWEC president/CEO, gave highlights from the Finance, Member & Energy Services, and Operations departments. Carlisle gave a recap of the co-op’s rate classes, with residential coming in first accounting for 64% of the co-op’s revenue. TWEC, along with Great River Energy patronage, retired over 1 million dollars in 2023. In 2023, the co-op installed 112 new services, constructed over 12 miles of new lines, rebuilt 6.5 miles of overhead, and completed 287 pole change outs. The Member & Energy Services department hosted several events throughout the year, and educated over 450 students with safety and state of electricity presentations in our local schools. Over $35,000 was awarded to 20 local organizations through Operation Round Up grants. 

In his CEO report, Carlisle presented on cyber security and what practices and trainings the co-op employees are doing in order to safeguard our system. The co-op created a wildfire mitigation policy, which was driven by recent wildfires out West. Lastly, Carlisle presented on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report which highlights some of the unheralded things the co-op does such as recycle oil and batteries, its commitment to communities, and the co-op’s robust rebate and load management programs. It also highlights the continuing education for not only employees, but board directors, and the work the board does to help advocate for co-ops in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. All members received an ESG report with their attendance gift. 

The 2024 Nominating Committee Chair Wally Wiese was invited to the stage to announce the election results for (2) three-year terms: Tom Brichacek, 857 votes; Gary Kneisl, 625 votes; Miles Kuschel, 1,032 votes.  A total of 1,472 ballots were cast in the 2024 director election either by mail, online, or in-person at the annual meeting.