LaGrange County REMC members will vote on two incumbents to continue to serve on the co-op’s board of directors.
Both Mark Bontrager and Jeff Hampshire are seeking to continue to serve on the board. The LaGrange County REMC will be holding its annual meeting on Saturday, June 9, at the REMC location on US 20 and CR 200E, with registration starting at 10:30 a.m.
Mark Bontrager is the incumbent LaGrange County REMC director for District 4 (Clay West and Newbury townships). He has served on the LaGrange County REMC Board since 1968. He served as vice president of the board for 15 years.
A graduate of Shipshewana High School, Bontrager has lived in the area all of his life. He resides on a 155-acre grain and dairy farm just southwest of Shipshewana. Bontrager’s wife of 57 years, Clara, retired from Wells Fargo Bank and currently works part-time for Crossroads Tours. The couple has one daughter, Diane Bontrager-Woodworth, who is the assistant superintendant of Goshen Community Schools, and one son, John, who oversees the farming operations.
Bontrager retired from the Westview School Corporation after 20 years of driving a school bus. He currently drives a bus part-time for Crossroads Tours. He also hauls livestock and helps his son on the farm when time allows.
He is an active member of Shore Mennonite Church, where he serves as a song leader and often shares his singing talent with the congregation by participating in mixed groups for special music. He is also a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau.
Bontrager works to keep abreast of the changes in the electric industry. He completed his work to become a certified director in 1995 and received an additional certification in 1999.
When asked why he would like to continue to be a LaGrange County REMC director, Bontrager said, “The knowledge I have gained, not only from serving on the board but also from attending and completing the board certification work, equips me to serve our members in a professional, enthusiastic manner.”
“One of our greatest strengths is local ownership and local control,” he continued. “The employees and directors live in the same community that you, the member-owners, live in. We are your friends and neighbors. I can’t emphasize enough the advantage of having a local office and that you know the people who answer the phone when you call. I’ve worked hard to keep prices affordable and provide quality service to you, the customer-owners, in the past and will continue to do so in the future. After all, LaGrange County REMC is a great organization and provides the best electric service in the county.”
Jeff Hampshire is the incumbent LaGrange County REMC director for District 3 (Bloomfield and Clay East townships). He has served in many capacities as a director since 1992, including the past 15 years as board president.
Hampshire has also represented LaGrange County REMC on the Wabash Valley Power Association (LaGrange County REMC’s power supplier) Board of Directors for the past nine years. He is currently serving his second year as its second vice chair and is in his second year on its executive board. He also sits on the expense committee and in the past has been a member of the risk oversite committee.
Hampshire leaves no question as to his dedication to his position as an REMC director. He has completed three of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) director education programs. He received his basic director certification in 1995, his board leadership certification in 1996 and his credentialed cooperative director certification in 1999.
Hampshire retired following 32 years of working as a wildlife biologist and manager of the 11,500-acre Pigeon River State Fish and Wildlife area near Mongo for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. He is currently employed with Sustainable Natural Resource Technology.
Hampshire earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Purdue University. He is a member of Pheasants Forever.
Hampshire moved to LaGrange County in 1973. Jeff and his wife, Krisanne, have been married for 26 years and reside near the Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area. This is an ideal location for Hampshire, whose list of hobbies includes hunting, fishing, cross country skiing and woodworking. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about wildlife and hopes to pass on his love of the outdoors to his three granddaughters.
The retired wildlife biologist brings a common sense approach to the board. “In this time of rapidly changing electric utility service, a common sense attitude is especially important and constructive when it comes to cooperation between the management and the member-owners of the REMC,” Hampshire said. “I will continue to be involved with the LaGrange County REMC as long as I feel I can adequately represent the co-op members.”