Cooperative Builder Awards

What is the award?

The annual Cooperative Builder Award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions at the local, state, and/or national level to advance cooperative philosophy and ideals. Wisconsin and Minnesota have a strong cooperative heritage that includes many people who have committed substantial time and energy to building that history.

A committee selects up to three distinguished individuals to receive the Cooperative Builder Award each year. Honorees are celebrated at an evening banquet during the Cooperative Network annual meeting in November.

Who is eligible?

Nominees should fit into one of three categories: cooperative member, cooperative employee, or friend of cooperatives. Cooperators currently serving as Cooperative Network directors are not eligible for this award until their board term has ended. Past winners are also ineligible.

How are award winners selected?

Winners are selected based on the information provided in their nominations and through supporting materials. It is important, therefore, that the impartial judging committee have complete and detailed information to fairly evaluate each nominee on his or her accomplishments and contributions. Please do not feel constrained by the space on the application. List the nominee's activities and honors and explain in detail how these efforts have contributed to the good of cooperatives. Letters of recommendation, newspaper clippings, and other published materials about the individual are also an important aid to the selection committee. We strongly encourage you to include a minimum of five support letters with the application. If your nominee is selected to receive an award, you will be asked to provide photos of that individual for the awards ceremony. We will provide instructions on the types of photos needed and will give you ample time to collect them.

Do I need to resubmit a previous nomination?

Cooperative Builder Award applications are kept on file and in the selection pool for three years. Nominating cooperatives and individuals are encouraged to update information and provide additional support letters during the nomination period.

How do I nominate someone new?

Nomination forms are available in June and due by the end of August or early September. The form and supporting materials can be submitted by email or five copies of all materials by mail to Cooperative Network's Madison office.

2017 Cooperative Builder Award Nomination Form (Click to begin download.)

Past Winners


1976
Earl Brancel
Emil Beyrer
Elmer Cook
Floyd Doering
Frank Groves
David Krug
Al Person
1977
D. L. Amundson
Craig Beane
Elmer Boll
W. H. Dreher
Melvin Sprecher
Dean Walker
1978
Paul Affeldt
John Madgett
Bruce Odeen
Truman Torgerson
Richard Vilstrup
Ken Wallin
1979
Willys Gjermundson
Henry Harder
Ralph Kramer
Allen Petersen
Harvey Schermerhorn
William Weisenbeck
1980 
Ray Fedler
Russell Gasch
Francis Haugh
Art Jepsen
Leonard Peck
Bud Wieland
1981
Arlyn Bitters
Delbert Burns
Truman Graf
Elizabeth Thronson
Robert Van Liere
Kermit Veum
1982
Ernst Averbeck
Gordon Meistad
Herbert Selbrede
Nevin Taylor
Verne Wing
1983
Clarence Boyke
Karen Julian
Oscar Lahti
Erich Lenz
1984
Herbert Behnke
Robert Cropp
Paul Eggert
Edward Elliot
Philip Hein
Gerhard Nilsestuen
1985
Glen Callin
Glen Gearing
Richard Kretzschmar
Jacob Rosenow
Archie Smith
LaVern Swenson
1986
Ken Cisar
Earl Guenther
Jim Hanson
Don Storhoff
Norman Swanson
Florian Van Dyck
1987
Chris Dueholm
Norval Ellefson
Earl Jaeger
Wilmer Pohlman
John Stevenson
Floyd Wheeler
1988
George Gould
Floyd Grundy
John Hill
Lynn Merow
Robert Pacl
Paul Ruedinger
1989
Harold Bursaw
Wayne Danielson
Tom Lyon
Mary Jean McGrath
Henry Rosenow
John Siegmund
Courtland Sperger
1990
Richard Dierauer
Kay Garvey
Joyce Harris
Howard Richards
1991
Francis Aschbacher
Jim Costello
Karl Kappelman
Wayne Willink
1992
Gregory Blaska
Charles Farr
Elmer Knoepke
George Nettum
1993
Donald Long
Joe Sarbacker
Gerald Sipple
Carl Zurborg
1994
Otto & Marian Christopherson
James Hasse
Damon Szymanski
Julian Warren
1995
Irvin Elkin
Robert Lunde
Gary Rohde
Arnold Weisenbeck
1996
John Cottingham
Howard “Dan” Poulson
Jon Steinhaus
Jim Tubbs
1997
Dale Bevan
C. William Geary
Ken Soda
Joseph Kaczmarek
1998
Norman Johnson
Larry Lemmenes
Ervin Nuttleman
1999
James Kasten
Roger Ripley
Karl Wenzel
2000
Harlan Ackland
Robert Andersen
Louis Doering
Dan Gorton
Everett Herness
Ed Slettom
Doug Wilson
2001
Lawrie Kull
John Malcheski
Harlan More
Elroy Webster
2002
Arnold Berdan
John Carruth
Glen Schroeder
Donald Van Deest
2003
Ronald Held
Richard Kraus
Leonard Pikal
Larry Wojchik
2004
Robert Grabarski
Mark Hanson
Jean Jantzen
John Luehrsen
2005
Francis Buschette
Terry McKinley
Tom Schomisch
Duane Solum
2006
William Collins
Gary E. Hanman
Philip L. Peterson
Roger Spiry
2007
Donald Gregg
Rod Nilsestuen
William O’Connor
Charles Van Sickle
2008
Michael Anderson
Edward Brooks
Dennis Johnson 
Garfield Eckberg
2009
Mark Furth
Dan Kanack 
Tim Kavanaugh
2010
Scott Aebischer
Bob Kretzschmar
William Nelson
2011
Dennis Hunwardsen
Ron Tenner
Lee Uldbjerg
2012
Brian Kulas
Jeff Nielsen
Larry Zanoni
2013
Steve Krikava
Ken Machtan
Larry Swalheim
2014
Bill Berg
Pete Giacomini
Jim Hager
Kim Sponem
2015
Bob Bass
Anne Reynolds
Sam Skemp
2016
David Cramer
Tim Harrington
Judy Ziewacz
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