Co-op leaders discuss today’s challenges at leadership roundtable

Discussing cooperative board and management challenges during the November 15-16 Mid America Cooperative Board Roundtable are (l-r) Duane Noland, President and CEO of the AIEC; David Senn, Board Chairman, Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc.; Bernard Marvel, Board Chairman, Spoon River Electric Cooperative; Dan Kelley, Vice Chairman, CoBank and ­former Chairman of Growmark, Inc., and Dennis Fredrickson, AIEC Board Chairman and Board Member of Corn Belt Energy Corporation.

Cooperatives serving rural areas are successful when board ­leaders and managers are responsive to each other and to today’s co-op ­member. To discuss new issues and learn from each other cooperative ­leaders from Illinois, Alabama, South Dakota, North Dakota and Indiana attended the Cooperative Board Chairmen’s Roundtable sponsored by the Mid America Cooperative Council, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC), in Springfield, Ill. on Nov. 15 and 16.

The roundtable included ­sessions and guidance from Dennis Bolling, Past President and CEO of United Producers, a livestock ­marketing, finance and member ­services ­cooperative in Columbus, Ohio; Dr. Megan Gerhardt, Associate Professor of Management in the Farmer School of Business and Director of the Buck Rodgers Business Leadership Program at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Dan Kelley, Vice Chairman of CoBank and former Chairman of Growmark, Inc., Normal, Ill.; and Duane Noland, President and CEO for the AIEC. The speakers provided tools to help board chairs guide their boards and cooperatives’ management in making decisions that best serve their ­members’ needs, while navigating through a ­variety of business risks and governance challenges.

Noland said, “Directors assume a demanding leadership role when they become the board chair. This roundtable session helped provide tools for their success and a great opportunity to network with others in the same position.”