S.D. Hall of Fame Honors Mark Hofer, Others
For decades, NRECA Director and South Dakota native Mark Hofer has championed rural communities and electric cooperatives through leadership positions on the local, state and national levels.
For those efforts, Hofer will be inducted into the South Dakota Cooperative Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Pierre later this month.
Hofer has served on the NRECA Board since 2006 and is chairman of its Business, Technology and Strategies Committee. As part of his service on the national board, he helped reconstruct NRECA’s rural electric safety program and developed a new safety program for co-ops.
“Mark not only understands rural communities and what makes them special places to live and work, but he is also their champion,” wrote NRECA COO Jeffrey Connor in a nomination letter.
“Through [Mark’s] leadership, we are better able to identify areas where NRECA can contribute to the technical proficiency of electric cooperatives and anticipate challenges in a changing industry,” wrote Connor.
Hofer became a board director of Intercounty Electric Cooperative in 1990 before it merged with Tri-County Electric and became Central Electric Cooperative 10 years later; he is still on that merged co-op’s board. In 1998, he was named to the board of South Dakota Rural Electric Association in Pierre.
Hofer credits the CEC board not only for his nomination—he was one of nine candidates—but also for providing opportunities to improve lives in South Dakota.
“I give them a lot of credit for my accomplishments, for putting me in various positions to make a difference,” said Hofer, speaking from a grain farm he owns with his son in Spencer.,
Throughout his co-op career, Hofer said he has strived to keep members in mind. “Whatever we do as a co-op, we must always keep the best interest of consumers in mind. It’s not always easy, sitting on the board of directors. You might be trying to raise rates, knowing the members will be paying for it.”
Among Hofer’s most cherished accomplishments are scholarship funds he and his wife, Kathy, established at Mitchell Technical Institute Foundation in 2008 for students enrolled in the Power Line Technology and Wind Turbine Technology programs. He said he tries to keep in touch with recipients.
Two other veterans of the South Dakota cooperative movement are 2016 inductees, as well. William “Bill” Beilmaier will retire this year after being on the boards of West River Electric Association in Wall in 1983 and the South Dakota REA in 1988. Ronald Sandline is a director of TrioTel Communications Inc. in Salem.