Much of Kankakee Valley REMC’s success is due to a committed and forward-thinking board of directors.
Otto Werner and Susan Bachert have been leaders on that board for a combined 42 years. Both recently decided to retire, effective at the upcoming KV REMC annual meeting on June 10.
First elected to the board in 1991, Werner has served as board president for the last 14 years. He has been part of many notable board accomplishments during his tenure. He is especially proud of the adoption of the
Operation Round Up program in 1999. “The cooperative’s culture is its commitment to the community,” Werner said. “Operation Round Up allows us a way to put our commitment into action and be good stewards in the community.”
Bachert was elected to the KV REMC board in 2009. She was the co-op’s first female director. Since 2010, Bachert has served as the board’s secretary-treasurer. Bachert is most excited about the board’s recent decision to install a fiber loop to the KV REMC substations.
“Broadband has been an important topic for the board,” Bachert said. “We took our time to research the project and make sure that our decision was financially responsible for the membership."
For both Werner and Bachert, serving on the board meant more than just the elected title. The job came with tough decisions that affected more than 18,000 member-consumers. As directors, they were actively involved in approving the co-op budget, developing strategic goals for the
cooperative, approving rates to ensure the cooperative remained financially sound and evaluating policies. Yet, they did not tackle these tasks alone.
“I will miss my fellow directors most after retirement,” Werner said. “With every decision we made, we ensured that it would not affect our high level of commitment to service and desire to keep rates as low as we could.”
As two board seats will now open, Werner and Bachert encourage their fellow member-consumers to consider running for directorship. “It is a great opportunity to be part of an organization that is more than just an electric provider,” Bachert
said. “Cooperatives are stewards in the community too.”
“As a director at KV REMC, you have an important voice in the future of the co-op,” Werner added. “The talented employees and dedicated board make this a great organization to be part of.”
Bachert, a program technician for Starke County Farm Services, is looking forward to spending more time traveling, enjoying her family and volunteering in the community. Not much will change for Werner, a retired Pioneer Seed salesman and local farmer of 1,500 acres. He will stay active in
church, enjoy his new pup, spend time with the grandkids and volunteer at the local food pantry with his wife, Diana.
The cooperative wishes Susan and Otto good health and happiness as they begin retirement. Thank you for your years of service to the membership and the cooperative employees.