The Northern Electric Cooperative Board of Directors has selected Kirk Schaunaman of rural Aberdeen to fill the open seat in District 6. Schaunaman was one of two candidates who applied for the seat left vacant by Randy Kienow who moved outside the co-op’s service territory this summer.
“I want to give back to the community and give back to my neighbors,” Schaunaman said about being appointed to the board. “We have had a good run of board members in our district and hopefully I can continue that.”
Schaunaman is a farmer and rancher and runs a grain and livestock operation with his family southwest of Aberdeen. In 2018, the Schaunaman family was named the Farm Family of the Year by the Farm Forum at the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Appreciation Banquet.
Schaunaman’s father, Don Schaunaman (1973-1982), and grandfather, Henry Schaunaman (1948-1961), have both served on the Northern Electric Board of Directors. Kirk’s aunt, Trudy Schaunaman, also served on the Northern Electric board from 1991-2000. However, Kirk said it was service and not legacy that drove him to apply for the open board position.
“Our family has been very community and civic-minded,” Schaunaman said. “Our family serves on a lot of boards and does a lot of committee work and a lot of community work so it’s a good fit.”
Schaunaman currently sits on the Farmers Union Industries board and is a delegate for Agtegra Cooperative. Schaunaman is also a Class I graduate of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (SDARL) Foundation. Schaunaman has also served on numerous boards in the past including the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, Brown County Extension, Brown County Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Farmers Union.
The Northern Electric Board of Directors interviewed both Schaunaman and applicant Burt Elliott in October to fill the vacancy. The board appointed Schaunaman to fill the open seat during the October 24 board meeting. Schaunaman will serve the remaining ten months of Kienow’s term and must take out a petition in July of 2020 if he intends to remain on the board of directors.
Schaunaman and his wife Kim have three adult daughters.