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The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Wayne Martian, manager of North Central Electric Cooperative, with the Cooperative Leadership Award at its 77th annual meeting on Jan. 21, 2020. Martian has served as a cooperative leader for 38 years. Under his leadership, his co-op has made great strides to become more visible in the community and better engage its member-owners.

“Wayne has demonstrated honesty, dependability, an incredible work ethic and a deep respect for the cooperative business model. He is incredibly loyal and a consummate professional. I have watched him as a true team player, and no matter the topic, he always manages to foster positive discussion and is not afraid to tackle difficult situations while protecting the best interests of the cooperatives, employees and the member at the end of the line,” says Vern Dosch, president and CEO of National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), who recommended Martian for the award.

Under Martian’s leadership, North Central Electric Cooperative has made a dedicated effort to become more visible in the communities it serves. The co-op sponsors a variety of local events, including a children’s theater program and a culturally important music festival. In addition, the co-op hosts an annual work day at Lake Metigoshe State Park, and employees help get the state park ready for the summer season. And, with Martian’s encouragement, cooperative employees started the Willie Wired Hand Christmas Giving Fund. The project collects donations from employees, directors and members to provide a better Christmas for those in need. 

Another way the cooperative has helped its community under Martian’s leadership is through its involvement in the construction of Annie’s House at the Bottineau Winter Park. Annie’s House is a one-of-a-kind adaptive ski facility designed to help people with disabilities enjoy downhill skiing. The cooperative’s electricians wired the building and provided much needed guidance on the construction process. In addition, the co-op provided electric materials at cost, saving the project about $30,000.

Martian is a strong representative of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and a successful leader. NDAREC congratulates him on receiving the Cooperative Leadership Award.

“Wayne is a true cooperative leader who has earned respect from his peers across the state and the country as someone who is thoughtful and passionate about the cooperative values and principles that we hold in high regard. It’s truly an honor to work with Wayne and present him with this award,” says NDAREC General Manager and Executive Vice President Josh Kramer.

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 includes 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, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development and communication services including publication of North Dakota Living magazine.