Three officials from MRES member communities were awarded May 8 for their outstanding service during the MRES Annual Meeting.

Gary Nansen, who serves as president of the Detroit Lake (Minn.) Public Utilities Commission, was presented with the Maurice A. Te Paske Public Official Award, which is named for one of the founders of MRES. The award honors policy makers who not only serve their member utility, but who extend their service for the promotion of MRES and public power beyond the borders of their local communities.

In presenting the award, MRES Board Chair Harold Schiebout noted that Nansen has served as a member of the Detroit Lakes Public Utilities Commission since February 2011 and as president since January 2017.

“As a long-time Detroit Lakes resident, and former city engineer, Gary has a keen sense of the needs and history of the Detroit Lakes Public Utilities,” Schiebout said. “Over the years, he has been active with MRES, the American Public Power Association (APPA), and the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) and has represented Detroit Lakes Public Utilities and public power well.”

Nansen is a member of the APPA Policy Makers Council and also has participated in several APPA Legislative Rallies in Washington, D.C. APPA is the national trade association for locally owned public power systems from across the country.

Two individuals earned the MRES Community Leader Award. They are Pat Baustian, who serves as mayor of Luverne, Minn., and Gary Hoffmann, president of the Worthington Water and Light Commission.

This award was established in 2003 to honor local officials from MRES member communities who have provided many years of service to their communities and public power systems.

Baustian has served as Luverne’s mayor since 2011 and, prior to that, he served from 2003 through 2010 as an alderman.

“Mayor Baustian is very involved with and passionate about public power and promoting the efficient use of energy,” Schiebout said while presenting the award. “For example, as part of the MRES Bright Energy Solutions® program, he personally goes door-to-door to distribute energy-efficient light bulbs.

“He also is an advocate for the MRES Distribution Maintenance Services program,” Schiebout said. Luverne has been participating in this program for more than 15 years by contracting with MRES for an electric line worker crew that serves the community.

Baustian regularly attends MRES Annual and Area Meetings, and he has participated in several Policy Makers Dinners sponsored by the organization.

His service also includes the Luverne Economic Development Authority, where he has served as president; the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota Mayor’s Association, and a 35-year career in the U.S. military.

Hoffman has been a member of Worthington’s Water and Light Commission since January 2010 and has served as the Commission’s president since April 2016.

“Gary is a retired bank president who has always been very active in church and community activities. In fact, he even served a stint as Worthington’s Interim City Administrator,” Schiebout noted.

Over the years, Hoffman has regularly attended MRES annual meetings, Policy Makers Dinners, and its Leadership Academy. He also has participated in the APPA Legislative Rally in Washington, D.C., and in legislative conferences and summer meetings of MMUA.