70th Annual Meeting
Golden West Co-op Members Elect Directors, Vote on Bylaws at Annual Meeting
WALL, SD – Over 200 members attended the 70th annual meeting of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative on Saturday, Sept. 24. They heard from the president and general manager, elected board members, and decided on proposed amendments to the co-op’s bylaws.
Board President Talks About 70 Years of Progress & Support
In his report to the membership, President Jeff Nielsen talked about how things have changed since Golden West received its cooperative charter in 1952. He said members today enjoy fast, reliable, dedicated telecommunications connections instead of sharing party lines with eight of their neighbors. They can also choose to watch TV without commercials.
“The one thing that hasn’t changed in those 70 years is Golden West’s commitment to you, its member/owners,” Nielsen said. “Every advancement in services, every customer experience improvement, every margin reinvestment in infrastructure took place to benefit the members of the cooperative and promote prosperity in rural communities.”
Manager Emphasizes Importance of Fiber-Optic Investment
Golden West General Manager Denny Law addressed attendees next. He expanded on Nielsen’s message by discussing the cooperative’s support of rural areas through investment in technology, community donations, and jobs.
Law highlighted Golden West’s ongoing, multi-year, capital-intensive effort to update its entire service territory with fiber-optic technology. The project involves burying about 14,000 miles of new fiber-optic cable through Golden West’s service area. That’s the same distance as traveling to the southern tip of South America and back.
“Since 2011, Golden West has invested over $400 million in construction, new fiber-optic cables, and related electronics – and we’re not finished yet,” Law said. “In the next five to six years, Golden West will complete the project bringing unmatched technological capability to everyone within our service territory boundaries.”
A fiber-optic connection offers phenomenal browsing, streaming and video chat experiences. It is also foundational for economic and community development, enables businesses to access global markets, allows farmers and ranchers to use smart agriculture practices to optimize production, increases educational opportunities, and expands access to telemedicine and health care.
Members Elect 4 Board Members
During the required business meeting, the membership elected four people to four-year terms on the cooperative’s board of directors. Those elected include Angela Simons of Enning serving District I, John Knutson of Quinn serving District II, Penny Svenkeson of Hot Springs serving District V, and Randy Koerner of Freeman serving District VIII.
Duane Wood of Faith previously represented District I. Wood began serving on the board in 1984. Kenneth Tonsager, Jr. of Hot Springs previously represented District V. He began serving on the board in 2007. Golden West thanks them both for their respective 38 and 15 years of service to the cooperative.
Proposed Bylaw Changes Pass
In addition, the membership approved the proposed amendments to Golden West’s Bylaws. The changes address requirements for membership, the rights and responsibilities of the cooperative and members, and the meeting of members. An updated copy of Golden West’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws can be found on the website at goldenwest.com/bylaws.
Members in Attendance Win Prizes
Over 20 prizes were given away including gift cards, beef certificates and cash. Marvin and Marcella Schmidt of Draper won the $500 grand prize drawing. Members enjoyed a complimentary lunch at restaurants in Wall following the meeting.
Golden West will hold their next annual meeting on Sept. 23, 2023.
Photo Caption: Members of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative elected four board members at their annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 24, in Wall. Pictured from left to right are John Knutson of Quinn (District II), Randy Koerner of Freeman (District VIII), Angela Simons of Enning (District I), and Penny Svenkeson of Hot Springs (District V).