Meet new Basin Electric Director Jerry Beck

Jerry Beck
Jerry Beck, Basin Electric director.

Basin Electric’s newest director, Jerry Beck, joined the Basin Electric board in December. Beck represents District 11 replacing retired director Charlie Gilbert. Each director is elected to a three-year term and represents one of 11 membership districts.

All directors must be end-use consumers, elected to their distribution cooperative board, and subsequently also elected to their Class A board. In this way, any director serving on Basin Electric’s board must serve on both these boards before being eligible – a true line from wholesale generation and transmission to the member turning on the light switch.

Tell us a little about you.

I live in Spencer, Iowa, on the farm where I was born.

I am a farmer by trade and spent my career raising corn and soybeans. I have one grown daughter, Elizabeth.
I have also been fortunate to mentor a young man since he was a boy, and he is like a son to me. He has taken over the farm, but I still help out in the spring and fall, which I really enjoy.

What inspired you to want to serve rural electric cooperatives (REC)?

I have always liked the cooperative business model and felt serving rural electric cooperatives was a cause important enough to give up part of my life for. I was first elected to my local REC, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, in 2001. I earned my NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate in 2006 and my NRECA Cooperative Leadership Certificate in 2012. In 2014, I successfully ran for our G&T (generation and transmission cooperative), Corn Belt Power Cooperative. I am now the chairman of Iowa Lakes’ board and secretary of Corn Belt Power’s board. I sometimes feel like I eat, sleep, and breathe RECs. It takes up a lot of my time, but I really enjoy it.

When you’re not wearing your REC hat, what are you doing?

I am a township trustee and a member of the local Lion’s Club where I help as much as I can to raise money for community betterment projects. I love restoring antique tractors and going on organized tractor rides. They’re souped up to go about 30 miles per hour, and we get up to 350 tractors together and drive everywhere from the Black Hills to Wisconsin. I also love anything to do with horses.

Coming on as a director at Basin Electric, what was the most surprising thing you learned?

How much there is to learn.

What role do you see Basin Electric playing in rural America in the next 20 years?

I see Basin Electric continuing to be the electric cooperative of choice. We are moving into an exciting and unknown future in the electric industry and I am confident that Basin Electric will continue to be a leader. We have very dedicated and knowledgeable personnel and a board who will adapt to the changes and challenges we are facing and lead the cooperative successfully into the next 20 years and beyond.

What is your philosophy for serving on a co-op board?

I want to make sure we have enough generation to reliably and affordably provide power to our members. It’s going to take a lot of electricity to power our lives in the future – especially with electric vehicles becoming more popular. Renewables definitely have their place but they can’t replace the baseload generation our coal and natural gas facilities provide.

Anything else you’d like to share with the cooperative family?

Serving on electric co-op boards has given me a wider look at what goes on behind the scenes – what it takes to get electricity from our power plants to our light switches. I will do my best to improve the quality of life for our members at the end of our lines.

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