last modified: September 10, 2018 at 8:57:50 AM
Board District 1 - Jeff Elliott (2018/2019 Vice President)
Jeff has served on the East-Central Iowa REC board since 1990. He has held the offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer of the board. Jeff has also acquired certification for the Credentialed Cooperative Director Program and the Board Leadership Program.
Jeff graduated from Drake University in 1975 with a B.S. in business and a major in finance and is a member of the Drake University Scholarship Fund today.
A farmer since 1976, Jeff manages 500 acres of corn, soybeans, and hay, as well as a cow-calf herd. He married his wife, LuAnn, in 1977. They have three daughters and one granddaughter. As a member of the American Lutheran Church in La Porte City, he has served on the church council and helps with the operation of the sound system.
An avid basketball fan, Jeff also enjoys cars and a little golf.
Board District 2 - Chris Sackett (2018/2019 Assistant Secretary/Treasurer)
A life-long Polk Township, Benton County resident, Chris joined the ECI REC board in 2011. He currently lives in Center Point with his wife, Rose. Since 1984, Chris has been a farmer. Today he has 1,350 acres of corn, soybeans, hay, and pasture, as well as 70 head of stock cow herd. After graduating from Urbana High School in 1981, Chris married Rose in 1984. Rose has worked at the Benton County Treasurer's Office for the past 12 years. They have three grown children.
Chris is a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Center Point and presently serves as elder and youth group leader. He also served for seven years on the Benton County 4-H Committee.
Chris enjoys boating, fishing, snowmobiling, racing, and watching football.
Board District 3 - Allen Albers
Allen has served on the ECI REC board since 1985. He has served as Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. Allen is presently serving as the ECI REC representative on the board of Central Iowa Power Cooperative.
Allen graduated from Upper Iowa University in 1966; while a student, he played basketball and baseball. Allen was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. Before and after his two-year stint in the army, he served as a teacher.
Today, he farms 470 acres of corn, soybeans, oats, and hay, and has also sold feed and seed. His wife, Ruth, is a retired teacher. A member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Keystone, Allen served on the church council for three years. He is also a member of the American Legion. He enjoys golfing, bowling, and watching basketball, baseball, and golf.
Board District 4 - Gary McKenna
Gary was elected to serve on the East-Central Iowa REC board in June of 2016.
Gary's currently the manager of Eden Mutual Insurance in Vinton, where he has been employed since 1997. He is the owner of Van Eschen-Strong Insurance also located in Vinton, and raises 1,500 head of hog per year.
Gary and his wife since 1990, Teresa, have two children. He enjoys golfing, snowmobiling, carpentry work, camping and watching his kids play sports.
Since 1991 he has been a member of the Vinton Fire Department, currently serving as Fire Chief. He is a member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Vinton.
Board District 5 - Burt S. Byers
Retired from a 35-year career with Hewlett Packard, Burt brings valuable business and finance experience and a dedication to customer satisfaction to the ECI REC board, on which he has been a director since June 2007.
Burt grew up on the family farm in Montezuma, Iowa. He and his wife, Dixie, have been married for 45 years and are members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Walford.
As part of his truck-pulling hobby, he has participated as a delegate, held various board positions, and acted in the rules and regulations position for the organization.
Burt and Dixie have two married children and four grandchildren. He also enjoys collecting vintage Allis Chalmers tractors and traveling in their motor home.
Board District 6 - Don Shonka
Don has been serving on the ECI REC Board since June 2006. Don is presently serving as the ECI REC representative on the board of Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC).
Don has farmed more than 600 plus acres for 35 years and had a dairy operation until 1990. He is currently enjoying a career as a carpenter. In his free time, Don bowls, fishes, and hunts.
Don and his wife of 49 years, Lorene, have 4 sons and 12 grandchildren. They are members of St John's Catholic Church where Don serves on the building and grounds committee. He is also a Member of the Knights of Columbus, has served on the fair board, is a member and director of Buchanan County Wildlife, is an Associated Milk Producers Inc. board member, and a past president of Dairy Herd Improvement Association. Don served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Board District 7 - Jim V. Alberts
Jim has been serving on the ECI REC board since June 2007. Cooperative principles are familiar to Jim, who spent his entire 43-year career working for telephone utility companies and cooperatives. He retired from the Jesup Telephone Cooperative as the manager.
Jim and his wife of 47 years, Sheryl, have four children and ten grandchildren. They live on a small farm south of Fairbank. Jim enjoys yard work, planting trees, and fishing in his farm pond. He is a collector of two-cylinder John Deere tractors, farm toys, and old, tin advertising signs.
Jim is a past member of the Jesup Chamber of Commerce, and a past president and director of Iowa Communication Credit Union in Waterloo, Iowa. He is a member of the United Methodist Church of Jesup, where he is currently serving on the administrative board and is chairperson of the finance committee.
Board District 8 - Nick Donlea
Elected at the June 2018 Annual Meeting of Members. Nick has served on the Jesup Planning and Zoning Committee and has also served as President for the Jesup Golf and Country Club. Nick has been a general manager at Spahn and Rose Lumber Co. since 2016. He graduated from Waldorf College with an AA Degree and attends Jesup Bible Fellowship.
Nick married his wife Terri in 1998 and they have three children. In his spare time, Nick enjoys golf and coaching basketball.
Board District 9 - Steve Rau (2018/2019 President)
Steve has been serving on the East-Central Iowa REC board since June 2005 and has served as Secretary/Treasurer. He serves in several other leadership roles: assistant chief of the Stanley Fire Department, vice president of Fayette County Corn and Soybean Growers, and board member of the Iowa Hereford Breeders Association.
Steve has been farming for since 1985 and currently manages 900 acres of corn, soybeans, and hay, and is a Hereford cow and calf operator.
Steve married his wife, Missy, in 1992. They have three boys. He enjoys tractor repair, camping, showing cattle, and watching his boys' sports activities.
Steve is active as a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oelwein, where he serves as the eighth-grade religious education teacher and a Eucharistic minister. He also participates in the Knights of Columbus.
Board District 10 - Ryan Kress (2018/2019 Secretary/Treasurer)
Ryan has been a member of the ECI REC Board since June 2009. He enjoys being challenged, and became interested in the Board position as talks about alternative energy have surfaced over the last few years. Ryan and his wife, Dawn (Sperfslage), are both lifelong residents of Buchanan County and are both very community-minded.
Currently, a production manager for a grain and livestock farm northeast of Winthrop, Ryan has been involved in production agriculture full-time since graduating from UNI in 2004 with a BA in finance.
The Kress' are members of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Masonville. Ryan is a six-year member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers and currently sits on the Board as Treasurer. In this spare time, Ryan enjoys spending time with friends and family, snow skiing, and riding bikes. He is an avid fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, particularly wrestling.