Illinois pioneers of rural electrification

Lyle E. Dunham

Lyle DunhamLyle Dunham was “loaned” to the AIEC on a temporary basis in the summer of 1951 by Adams Electrical Co-Operative to ­manage the AIEC Annual Meeting Caravan. The Caravan crisscrossed the state to a dozen co-op annual meetings during hot summers, and consisted of three trailers full of two mammoth-sized tents, 5,000 chairs, and sound and lighting equipment. At that time, set-up, tear-down and meetings were a three-day process.

In 1952, Dunham became the AIEC Director of the Member Services Department. He helped conduct the first Youth to Washington Tour in the ­summer of 1959, and coordinated the Emergency Aid Program, now known as the Emergency Work Plan, to assist fellow cooperatives with recovery efforts in times of disaster.

In celebration of the AIEC’s 75th anniversary, this is sixth in a series of profiles on Illinois’ rural electric pioneers.