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The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Jean Brandt, director of North Central Electric Cooperative, with the Cooperative Leadership Award at its annual meeting Feb. 7. The award recognizes service to enhance the prestige of electric cooperatives, exceptional leadership and unusual devotion to duty.

“Jean exemplifies the cooperative values and principles. An engaged board member, she is a staunch advocate for the cooperative business model and always puts the members first,” says NDAREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Josh Kramer.

For the past 21 years, Brandt has been a dedicated board member of North Central Electric Cooperative, serving in all board leadership positions and on many committees. She has helped guide the cooperative through many notable accomplishments, including implementation of a pre-paid metering program, a warehouse expansion, numerous rate schedule changes and the successful transition of two general managers. In addition, Brandt represents her co-op as a member of the Central Power Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, currently serving as vice president. She also serves as Central Power's NDAREC director.

“Jean has been a part of some very tough decisions and has helped to guide the cooperative into the organization it is today,” North Central Electric Cooperative General Manager Jon Beyer said in his endorsement of Brandt. “She has a deep understanding of the cooperative business model and understands how decisions made in the board room not only affect the cooperative, but each member at the end of the line.”

In 2020, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association hired Brandt to join their executive search team. She now travels across the country helping electric cooperatives hire their next leaders. Her expertise is greatly appreciated as she helps boards across the nation hire the next generation of electric cooperative leaders.

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives congratulate Brandt and thank her for her years of service to her cooperative and community.

Every year, NDAREC recognizes individuals for their generous contributions to North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and the communities they serve. An eight-member committee of the NDAREC Board of Directors selects award recipients from nominations submitted by NDAREC’s members, which include 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives.

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to nearly 250,000 North Dakotans. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, lineworker safety training, professional development, cooperative business development and communication services, including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.