ECI REC is guided and governed by an elected Board of Directors that democratically represents eight board districts. The Board of Directors are elected by the membership each June during the Annual Meeting voting process to serve three-year terms. Your cooperative is led by members-consumers who understand and listen to those in their community.
Here's a map of your Directors and their Board Districts.
Board District 1 - Jeff Elliott
2021/2022 - 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. He 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 - Julie Kester
2021/2022 - Assistant Secretary/Treasurer
Julie is a longtime Benton County resident and farms with her husband, Bill. Julie and Bill married in 1997, and they have six daughters and 11 grandchildren. After 35 years, Julie retired from the Linn County Assessor’s Office, serving as the assessor at retirement, and sat on several committees during her tenure. Associated with the Urbana Christian Church, Julie loves spending time with family and friends. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, gardening, playing games (including cards), organizing, and volunteering.
Board District 3 - Brian McNulty
Brian was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the East-Central Iowa REC board in January 2021. The vacancy came to be when Allen Albers announced he would be retiring in December 2020.
Brian is a lifelong farmer and resident of Benton County. Brian graduated from Benton Community High School and has a bachelor’s degree in Ag Business.
Since 1999 Brian has been self-employed, raising beef cattle and a few crops a farm in Watkins. He has also worked part-time as the City Clerk for Blairstown since 2004.
Brian has been a member of the Benton County ISU Extension and Outreach Council since 2015, has been a board member of the Southeast Iowa Angus Association since 2019, serves as the Benton County Landfill Commissioner for Blairstown, and has been a board member of the Alliance Mutual Insurance Association since 2020.
Brian also serves as Trustee for St Clair Township in Benton County.
Brian enjoys being actively involved within his community and its surrounding area.
Board District 4 - Gary McKenna
Gary was elected to serve on the East-Central Iowa REC board in June 2016. He has earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate and he represents ECI REC on the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (power supplier) board of directors.
Gary works in the insurance industry, where he is the owner of Van Eschen-Stong Insurance and has been at Eden Mutual Insurance since 1997, were he as served as manager for 12 years, both located in Vinton.
Gary and his wife since 1990, Teresa, have two children. He enjoys golfing, snowmobiling, carpentry work, camping, and watching his kids play sports.
Gary served 32 years as a member of the Vinton Fire Department, where he served 12 of those years as fire chief. He is a member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Vinton.
Board District 6 - Don Shonka
Don Shonka has been a member of ECI REC since 1968. After serving in the US Marine Corps for nine years, Don and his bride of almost 60 years, Lorene, raised their four sons on the family farm outside of Independence.
Don joined the ECI REC Board of Directors in 2006 and served three 3-year terms on the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives Board, where held the seat of VP. Don earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director and Director Gold Certificates and has completed the Board Leadership Program in 2010.
Don currently serves as a Buchanan County Supervisor and is or has been actively involved with the following organizations: St John’s Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Buchanan County Fair Board, Independence Rotary, and Buchanan County Wildlife Association. In his spare time, he enjoys bowling, fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family and 13 grandchildren.
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 A.A. degree and attends Jesup Bible Fellowship.
Nick married his wife, Terri, in 1998. They have three children. In his spare time, Nick enjoys golf and coaching basketball.
Board District 9 - Steve Rau
2021/2022 - 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 since 1985 and currently manages 900 acres of corn, soybeans, and hay. He 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
2021/2022 - 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 surfaced over the last few years. Ryan and his wife, Dawn (Sperfslage), are both lifelong residents of Buchanan County and 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 B.A. in finance.
The Kresses are members of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Masonville. Ryan is a six-year member of Buchanan County Pork Producers and currently sits on the Board as Treasurer. In his 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.