CEO’s Message – November 2021

By the Members, For the Members

Stearns Electric Association is a member-owned, democratically-controlled business. Every year, Stearns Electric Association member-consumers elect their members to represent them on the Cooperative’s Board of Directors. In conjunction with the Annual Meeting, Stearns Electric holds an election in three of the nine districts to elect members to the Cooperative’s board. Board members serve three-year terms. In 2022, districts 2, 3 and 6 are up for election, which you can read more about on page three of this issue.

This month, I want to share more about our Board of Directors and the responsibilities they have in leading Stearns Electric.


As elected members and representatives, board members serve as fiduciaries for the Co-op and are required to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of the Cooperative and its membership.

Board members spend many hours working behind the scenes to prepare for monthly board meetings, complete industry training and work on special projects.

Some of the regular tasks required as a board member include:

  • evaluating whether decisions and projects help the Co-op successfully further its commitment to serving the community and our members;
  • adopting and enforcing policies, resolutions and actions;
  • providing financial oversight to the Cooperative on a monthly basis;
  • reviewing and approving the annual Cooperative budget; and
  • serving as ambassadors to Stearns Electric members, the community and legislative representatives.

Additionally, the board undertakes special projects annually, such as reviewing the articles of incorporation and bylaws, updating the Cooperative’s policies and procedures, and examining the long-term equity management plan.


In 2020, the Cooperative’s board decided to implement a new self and peer assessment process. The director-led initiative, which is facilitated by an outside entity, allows board members the opportunity to learn about and understand their personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their responsibilities as directors.

The annual anonymous self and peer assessment collects feedback from each director and allows directors to rate themselves, and the overall board as a whole, on important board functions such as decision making, industry knowledge, member relations, meeting preparation and participation, and strategic thinking.


Following each Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors holds a special meeting to elect officers for the year. In 2021, the board leadership elected its officers for the year, which included some new individuals in new roles:

  • President: Tony Ampe, Belgrade (Crow River Township), District 5; Board member since 2018.
  • Vice President: Eric Peterson, Grey Eagle (Birchdale Township), District 8; Board member since 2020.
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Steve Notch, Freeport (Millwood Township), District 6; Board member since 2007.


Finally, I am excited to unveil a new search tool on our website, which allows you to better see the Cooperative’s overall service territory and district boundaries. The detailed, interactive map shows which portions of each of township the Cooperative serves, and which portions are served by other electric utility providers.

Users can use the search tool to search for a specific address, or use the map to zoom in and out as needed, selecting specific locations within our service territory. On the map, members can also see who their board member is and what other communities they serve.

You can find the new map search tool by visiting > About Us > Service Area Map (under the “Cooperative Profile” option).

Your Board of Directors is committed to serving Stearns Electric and its membership, and leading the Cooperative through the ever-changing energy industry now and into the future.


Robin C. Doege