70th Annual Meeting
Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.
70th Annual Meeting
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Wall Community Center, 501 Main Street, Wall
Registration: 8:30-10 a.m. | Meeting Called to Order: 10 a.m.
Lunch Provided After Annual Meeting
Registered members will receive a $20 bill credit as a thank you for attending the meeting. A grand prize of $500 will be drawn during the meeting as well as 20+ additional prizes; must be present to win.
*Please note the change in location and time of the meeting. Golden West is making every effort possible to provide a safe environment for our members and employees.
Golden West’s 70th Annual Meeting Includes Updates, Voting, Prizes & Meal
WALL, SD – Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative members who attend the annual meeting on Sept. 24 will hear updates about the cooperative, elect four board members, and review and vote on proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws.
The cooperative’s 70th annual meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Community Center in Wall with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Members who register at the meeting will receive a $20 bill credit as a registration gift and will also have a chance to win door prizes, including a $500 grand prize. Following the meeting, attendees can enjoy lunch compliments of Golden West at one of three local restaurants.
Vote for Four Directors
Four of Golden West’s 15 board seats are up for election this year with two incumbents running unopposed, and two incumbents facing challengers. All director terms are four years. Registered co-op members may vote in all board elections regardless of their district of residence from among the following:
- District I – Challenger Angela Simons, incumbent Duane Wood.
- District II – Incumbent John Knutson is unopposed.
- District V – Challenger Penny Svenkeson, incumbent Kenneth Tonsager, Jr.
- District VIII – Incumbent Randy Koerner is unopposed.
Proposed Amendments to Articles & Bylaws
Registered members will also vote on proposed changes to the cooperative’s bylaws; the Board of Directors recommends amendments to enhance Golden West’s governance practices. Proposed amendments address: 1) membership qualifications, 2) rights and liabilities of the cooperative and its members, and 3) notice and conduct of member meetings.
Members were sent a Notice of Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws of Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative with this year’s annual report. The notice provides a general overview explanation and details of the proposed changes. The September 2022 Horizons member newsletter includes an article summarizing the changes; the issue will arrive in mailboxes as early as Sept. 16 or shortly thereafter. The proposed amendments will also be reviewed at the annual meeting.
How to Vote as Non-Individual vs. Individual Member
Non-Individual Members (New Process) – The process for non-individual cooperative members to vote at the annual meeting has changed this year. Examples of a non-individual member include a school district, town, church, corporation, LLC, etc.
To vote, non-individual members must contact Golden West to request an Authorization to Vote form, complete it, and return it to Golden West by 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The form designates a representative to vote who is an officer, an LLC member, or other senior official within the non-individual member organization. The Authorized Voting Representative must present a photo ID when registering at the annual meeting to receive a ballot.
Individual Members – Individual members, such as residential and sole proprietor businesses, must vote in person at the annual meeting. The Authorization to Vote form is not a proxy statement; therefore individual members cannot use the form.
Capital Credit Returns
Co-op members will also receive their capital credit payments issued on their Golden West bill or in the form of a mailed check prior to the annual meeting. In line with the Cooperative’s performance, Golden West’s Board of Directors approved the return of $8 million in capital credit payments to cooperative members this year. The capital credit retirement consists of $5 million for patronage allocated in 2005 and an additional $3 million for allocations generated in 2021. Members with active service during either or both of those years will receive capital credits.
Any member requiring special accommodations to have full and equal participation in the annual meeting should contact Golden West at 1-855-888-7777, option 3, prior to the meeting.
In Golden West’s ongoing efforts to enhance its governance practices, the Golden West Board of Directors is again recommending amendments to Golden West’s bylaws at the 70th Annual Meeting of Members.
At last year’s annual meeting, the members approved amendments that addressed general language cleanup and qualifications and eligibility of directors. This year’s proposed amendments to the bylaws address: 1) membership qualifications, 2) rights and liabilities of the cooperative and its members, and 3) notice and conduct of member meetings. The changes impact Articles I, II, and III as follows:
- In the section of Article I, Section 1, of the bylaws dealing with Requirements for Membership, the proposed amendments seek to: 1) conform Golden West’s language with state law definitions of “individual” and “entity,” 2) clarify that eligibility for membership commences upon receipt of retail communications services from Golden West at a location within its established service territory, and (3) clarify that purchasers of wholesale services are not eligible for membership.
- The proposed amendments to Article II, Section 1, dealing with Rights and Liabilities of the Cooperative and Members ensure cooperation between Golden West and its members for allowing access for and provisioning of communications services.
- In Article III, Sections 1-6, dealing with Meeting of Members, the proposed amendments add flexibility by authorizing virtual meetings that are not tied to a geographic location, sending electronic meeting notices, postponing meetings if necessary, and authorizing alternate methods of voting. Before a virtual meeting can take place, it would require: 1) approval by the Board of Directors, 2) proper advanced member notice, and 3) allowance for participation.
Golden West mailed every member a document indicating the proposed changes to the bylaws. It arrived in mailboxes earlier this month in the same envelope as the annual report, which serves as the official annual meeting notice. For more information, call 1-855-888-7777, option 3.
Members of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative will elect four members to four-year terms on the Board of Directors. To vote, members must be present at the Sept. 24 annual meeting.
HOW TO VOTE
The form designates an Authorized Voting Representative who is an officer, LLC member, or other senior official with the member entity. The Authorized Voting Representative may vote after showing a photo ID. For more information, call our office at 1-855-888-7777, option 3.
Angela Simons – District I, Challenger
Angela (Annie) Simons grew up in Faith and graduated from Faith High School. After high school she worked in Sturgis for five years. She married Doug Simons in 2004 and moved to Enning to work alongside her husband on his family ranch. Together with Doug’s parents, the couple runs about 500 head of Black Angus cattle. They have one son Morgan and one daughter Amber.
Duane Wood – District I, Incumbent
Duane Wood has been on the Golden West Board of Directors since September 1984. He currently serves as vice president of the board and is a past president of the former South Dakota Association of Telephone Cooperatives. A graduate of Western Dakota Vo-Tech Institute, Duane and his wife, JoAnn, live on the family ranch west of Faith. They have two daughters and three grandsons.
Duane is a member and elder of the Opal Community Church, serving as the board chairman. He is also an agent and director of the Harding & Perkins Farm Mutual Insurance Company. He and JoAnn enjoy attending as many of their grandsons’ sporting events and activities as possible. These trips to Sundance, WY, and surrounding towns seem to serve as their “vacations.”
John Knutson – District II, Unopposed Incumbent
John Knutson joined the Golden West Board of Directors in September 2010. John owns and operates a ranch in southwestern Haakon County. He and his wife, Arnis, live on the same quarter of land homesteaded by his grandfather in 1906. They have three grown children. John attended Alfalfa Valley rural school through the eighth grade, then attended and graduated from Philip High School.
John earned an associate’s degree in agriculture from South Dakota State University. He served as a director and president of the Farmer’s Union Co-op in Philip, president of the Haakon County School Board, supervisor and chairman of the Haakon County Soil Conservation District, and is a member of the First Lutheran Church.
Kenneth Tonsager, Jr. – District V, Incumbent
Kenneth “Ken” Tonsager, Jr., moved to Hot Springs in 1979 after graduating from South Dakota State University. After successful careers in four different businesses in the Hot Springs area over the next 40 years, Ken retired in 2018.
Ken and his wife Gayle raised two children and have eight grandchildren. He is a member of the Southern Hills Evangelical Free Church, Hot Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Hot Springs Cemetery Board, as well as a member of the Caster Vets Board. Ken keeps busy helping where needed in the community.
Penny Svenkeson – District V, Challenger
Penny Svenkeson is a 42-year veteran of the computer and technology industry working for Unisys, most recently as a platform architect. Her team was located around the world, and Penny served as the technical interface to oversee design and collaboration. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in computer science.
Penny and her husband Paul have owned and operated a ranch west of Hot Springs for 30 years. They raise Scottish Highland and Red Angus cattle. Penny retired in 2021 and is currently a member of the Minnekahta Volunteer Fire Department. She also enjoys donating her time to deliver food as part of the Meals on Wheels program and provides information technology (IT) and computer technical support at the Hot Springs Public Library.
Randy Koerner – District VIII, Unopposed Incumbent
Randy Koerner is a lifelong resident of Freeman. He graduated from Freeman High School and the University of South Dakota. He began Koerner Construction in 1979 and continues to operate it today, along with his wife of 39 years, LeeAnn.
Randy is a former volunteer fire fighter and EMT. He currently serves as Freeman city building inspector, sits on the city planning and zoning board, and is a member of the Freeman Community Development Corp. He and LeeAnn are members of St. Paul Lutheran Church. They enjoy home projects, gardening, and camping when time allows. Randy has been a member of the Golden West Board of Directors since 2010 and currently serves as the treasurer.
Authorization to Vote for a Non-Individual Member
If you are a non-individual member, you are entitled to representation and to one vote at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. We want to make you aware of some changes in the voting authorization process we will be implementing for this year’s annual meeting.
Non-Individual Members Must Complete Authorization to Vote Form
As in prior years, anyone who attends the Annual Meeting as the voting representative of a non-individual member, such as a school district, town, church, corporation, or LLC, must submit an Authorization to Vote form (see SAMPLE form below). This year the process for distributing, submitting, and verifying these forms has changed.
A summary of the revised process is as follows:
• Non-individual members must designate an Authorized Voting Representative who is an officer, LLC member, or other senior official within the member entity.
• Non-individual members must call the office at 1-855-888-7777 to request an Authorization to Vote form. A Golden West representative will pre-populate the form with your account information and forward it to you.
• Complete all fields on the form, and have it signed and dated by an Authorized Officer of the governing body of the nonindividual member.
• Return the completed form to Golden West no later than 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Authorization to Vote forms
received after the deadline or presented the day of the Annual Meeting will not be accepted.
• The Authorized Voting Representative will need to bring a photo ID to the Annual Meeting and present it at the designated registration table to receive a ballot.
Change Follows Bylaws & Improves Efficiency
Please be aware that the Authorization to Vote form is not a Proxy Statement. Individual members, such as residential or sole proprietor businesses, cannot use the form. They must vote in person at the Annual Meeting.
Golden West is implementing this revised process to more efficiently comply with the requirements of the cooperative’s bylaws, which expressly prohibit voting by proxy but expressly allow voting by a representative of the non-individual member who is properly authorized by the entity to vote on its behalf. We also believe this new process will allow us to better manage the Annual Meeting timeline. Last year, reviewing the Authorization to Vote forms during registration delayed the start of the meeting. Golden West wants to ensure that all Authorization to Vote forms can be reviewed in advance of the meeting, which will allow the registration process to proceed smoothly and avoid delay of the start of the Annual Meeting.
If you have any questions, call us at 1-855-888-7777, option 3, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How Non-Individual Member Must Vote
If you are attending the Annual Meeting of Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (GWTC) as the Authorized Voting Representative of a non-individual member, such as a school district, town, church, corporation, or LLC, the following AUTHORIZATION TO VOTE form must be completed and submitted to GWTC by 2 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
This is not a Proxy Statement. Individual members, such as residential or sole proprietor businesses cannot use this form. They must vote in person at the Annual Meeting.
Complete & Submit Form in Advance
Completed forms can be sent by mail, email, fax, or delivered to a GWTC business office in Dell Rapids, Hartford, Hot Springs, Mission, Pine Ridge, or Wall.
GWTC Annual Meeting
PO Box 411, Wall, SD 57790
In order for your Voting Representative to vote at the Annual Meeting, your organization's AUTHORIZATION TO VOTE form must be received by GWTC no later than 2 p.m. on September 20, 2022. Voting authorization forms received after the deadline or presented the day of the Annual Meeting will not be accepted.
Voting Authorization Need
Non-individual members, such as school districts, towns, churches, corporations, and LLCs are entitled to representation and to one vote. Each non-individual member shall designate a representative who is an officer, an LLC member, or other senior official. This AUTHORIZATION TO VOTE form must be signed by an Authorized Officer of the governing body of the non-individual member.
Bring Photo ID to Annual Meeting
Your Authorized Voting Representative will need to bring a photo ID to the Annual Meeting and present it at the designated registration table to receive a ballot.
AUTHORIZATION TO VOTE forms due by 2 p.m., September 20, 2022.