New Northern Electric Cooperative Director Ron Kaaz is no stranger to serving his community. The retired 3M engineer has served on his local township board, the Aberdeen School Board, and is currently the president-elect of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Council in Aberdeen. Kaaz will now add another board position to his resume of service after he was seated as the new Northern Electric Cooperative Director for District 3 during the 2018 Annual Meeting on September 12.
“It’s a service to the community,” Kaaz said. “I’ve always felt you learn different things when you are on these different boards.”
Kaaz grew up in Leola and attended Northern State University where he played football and threw shot put and discus for the track and field team. After he graduated from NSU, Kaaz moved to Platte, South Dakota, with his wife Carla where he taught middle school math. After spending four years teaching, Kaaz moved back to Aberdeen and was hired by 3M. He went through an in-house engineering program with 3M and worked as a mechanical engineer in a department that made industrial adhesives. Kaaz retired from 3M in 2010.
“I’m looking forward to serving on the board. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to learn things and hopefully I can bring some things to the board and bring a different perspective.”
Kaaz was the only candidate to submit a nominating petition for the District 3 seat. He replaces Glen Larson on the Northern Electric Board of Directors after Larson reached his term limit of serving three consecutive three-year terms in September.
“It’s something new for me,” Kaaz said of the seat on the Northern Electric Board of Directors. “I have been involved in several other public positions.”
Kaaz served one three-year term on the Aberdeen School Board from 1996-1999. He also served on his local township board up until this past March. Kaaz says his experience on those boards will assist him in transitioning into his new role on the Northern Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, however, he says the co-op board will be a new challenge.
“This (Northern Electric) is a lot bigger operation. It covers a lot broader area than what the school board or a township does, but there are a lot of good people on the board and I am impressed with what is here,” Kaaz said after attending and observing the August board meeting.
When Kaaz is not serving on local boards, the retired engineer spends his time operating the Foote Creek Bed and Breakfast which he owns with his wife Carla near Richmond Lake in rural Aberdeen. The couple opened the business in 2001 and can host up to eight guests in four bedrooms. In the fall, Kaaz says the Foote Creek Bed and Breakfast partners with Pheasant Country Hunts to fill their guestrooms with hunters who travel to the area. Kaaz has also taken up pheasant hunting and enjoys getting out in the field with his black lab Coda. Ron and Carla Kaaz also have two adult children and three grandchildren.
Kaaz got an inside look at what it takes to generate electricity for Northern Electric Cooperative in June when he attended the VIP Tour to North Dakota. During the tour, Kaaz was able to tour power plants and resources that are used to produce power for co-op members at the end of the line. Kaaz says he is looking forward to his new role at Northern Electric Cooperative.
“I’m looking forward to serving on the board. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to learn things and hopefully I can bring some things to the board and bring a different perspective,” Kaaz said.