Each year, WECA honors the best in Wisconsin's rural electric cooperative community with the Ally of Cooperative Electrification (ACE) Award.  Past honorees have truly made outstanding contributions to rural electrification in Wisconsin, and we look to find this year's ACE Award winner.
We ask members of the electric cooperatives to pinpoint that person who has made a difference in your co-op, and to our broader cooperative family.


  1. The ACE Award recognizes outstanding service to Wisconsin’s cooperative electrification program.
  2. The award recognizes the contributions of outstanding service toward the advancement of the electric cooperative program.
  3. The ACE is awarded each year to a qualified candidate when selection guidelines are met.
  4. The ACE Award is presented at the WECA Annual Meeting banquet or at another time deemed appropriate by the WECA board.
  5. The award shall consist of a suitably engraved plaque bearing the WECA common identification symbol and a brief inscription.
To be considered a candidate for the ACE Award, the following qualifications must be met:
  1. Must be a living person
  2. Must have made outstanding contributions to Wisconsin’s electric cooperative program resulting in:
    • Bringing about a change
    • Advancing the cooperative principles
    • Providing ideas or plans for action
    • Assuming leadership roles in local, district, and state cooperative programs
    • Participation in state governance and functions
  3. Must have outstanding service resulting in a benefit or advantage to Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives.
    • The benefits or advantages may include serving on a state electric committee, the WECA Board, or on an NRECA committee or NRECA Board
    • The benefits or advantages may also include participation in education programs, attaining CCD and leadership credits, representing electric cooperatives on local community boards, committees, or organizations, and the advancement of the cooperative program
  4. All service and contributions must be above and beyond regular routine duties of their position.
  5. Can be any individual in Wisconsin who has done outstanding work sustaining, enhancing, advancing, and promoting Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives.
  1. An application may be received from the WECA Office by:
    • Writing to Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association at 222 West Washington Ave, Suite 680, Madison, WI 53703-2719
    • Calling Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association at (608) 467-4589
    • Sending us a message
    • Downloading the form from
  2. In order to be fairly evaluated, all applications must have detailed information on the candidate’s accomplishments, service, and contributions. Support letters are strongly recommended.
  3. Applications can be submitted in hard copy and received by Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association at 222 West Washington Ave, Suite 680, Madison, WI 53703-2719 by a date publicized by WECA. Applications are given to the selection committee.
  4. Any person nominated but not chosen can be nominated again the next year and/or any year thereafter, up to 3 years.
1967    Orland Loomis (state official)
1968    John TePoorten (retired JT&S instructor)
1969    Norman Clapp (REA Administrator, state government official)
1970    Anna Dahl (retired director—Montana)
1971    W.E. (Bill) Rabe (director—Oakdale)
1972    W.E. (Bill) Owen (director—Dunn County)
1973    Herman Potthast (JT&S)
1974    John Olson (director—Barron)
1975    Harvey Schermerhorn (WEC employee)
1976    Vern Howard (director—Clark)
1977    Tony Brensdal (manager—Dunn Co.)
1978    John Magnin (director—Oconto)
1979    Lawrence Cole (director—Columbus)
1980    Floyd Wheeler (attorney)
1981    Lloyd McCaskey (manager—Oakdale)
1982    Walter Zimmerman (director—Adams–Marquette)
1983    Oscar Lahti (manager—Bayfield)
1984    W.V. (Bill) Thomas (statewide manager)
1985    H.J. (Jim) Cleary (manager—Jump River)
1986    Allen Hoel (director—Chippewa Valley)
1987    Doug Eickelman (manager—Columbus)
1988    Dean Baldwin (manager—Buffalo)
1989    Charles Van Sickle (attorney)
1990    Earl Jaeger (manager—Vernon)
1991    Jon Steinhaus (manager—Adams–Columbia)
1992    Fred Harasha (manager—Waushara)
1993    Dale Bevan (director—Grant–Lafayette)
1994    Wayne Willink (director—St. Croix)
1995    Robert Lunde (director—Trempealeau)
1996    Gilman Moe (director—Richland)
1997    Ralph Woik (director–Clark)
1998    John Roberts (director–Eau Claire)
1999    Art Riemer (director—Bayfield)
2000    Harvey Jernander (director—Vernon)
2000*  Tommy Thompson (Governor) “Special ACE Award”
2001    Gerald Koeller (director—Scenic Rivers)
2002    Don Van Deest (manager—Central Wisconsin)
2003    Dick Adler (manager—Clark Electric)
2004    Mike Anderson (manager—Jackson Electric)
2005    Don Lemke (manager—Jump River Electric)
2006    David Jenkins (manager—WECA Division of WFC)
2006*  Herb Kohl (U.S. Senator) “Special ACE Award”
2007    Dennis Engel (director—Taylor Electric & DPC)
2008    Ken Petersen (manager—Barron Electric Cooperative)
2009    John Luehrsen  (manager—Eau Claire Energy Cooperative)
2010    Bob Kretzschmar (director—Bayfield Electric Cooperative)
2011    Niles Berman (attorney—Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson, S.C.)
2012    Stanley Dybevik (director—Rock Energy Cooperative)
2013    George Webb (director—Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative)
2014    Perry Baird (editor—Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News)
2014    David Oelkers (manager—Riverland Energy Cooperative)
2015    Marty Hillert (manager—Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative)
2016    Dan Kanack (director—Oconto Electric Cooperative)
2017    Shannon Clark (manager—Richland Electric Cooperative)
2018    James Hathaway (manager—Dunn Energy Cooperative)
2019    Larry Dokkestul (manager—Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services)
2020    David Paudler (director—Riverland Energy Cooperative)
2020    Sheldon Petersen (CEO—National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation) “Special ACE Award”
2021    Byron Nolde (manager—Oconto Electric Cooperative)


Associate Membership

Associate membership in the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association provides a continuing opportunity for providers of goods, services, materials, and equipment to build and maintain networking contacts with Wisconsin's electric co-ops and others with interests and needs related to all aspects of the electric power industry.

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