A member of Great River Energy’s board of directors was recently presented with an award that recognizes her outstanding contributions to advance cooperative philosophy and ideals.
Audrey Hjelle, who sits on the Runestone Electric Association board of directors and also serves as secretary for Great River Energy’s board, was chosen to receive the Cooperative Network Builder Award, which was presented recently at the organization’s annual meeting.
Hjelle was nominated for this award for her dedication to furthering the mission of electric cooperatives over the last three decades. Her experience as a cooperative member since 1963 provides a unique perspective to the organizations she serves through her board seats.
“As a farmer by trade, Audrey understands the needs and expectations of this critical segment of our regional economy and cooperative membership,” said David Saggau, Great River Energy president and chief executive officer. “What sets Audrey apart is her willingness to learn about and pursue innovative ideas on the electric system as well as electrification opportunities.”
Hjelle is also known for being a community builder, having established connections across local, state and regional levels while also maintaining a strong connection with her constituents back home.
“Audrey is a tireless advocate for the members she represents,” said Bob Bruckbauer, Great River Energy board chair. “She takes her role as a representative for them seriously and actively listens to them, making a point to ensure all voices are heard. Her passion for electric cooperatives, and the good they do, is evident in her work. She perfectly embodies the cooperative principles.”
Cooperative Network was created in 2004 when members of the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives and Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives voted in favor of a formal unification. The organization has a history of bringing together and strengthening the voice of cooperative businesses.