Review of Bluebonnet's 2023 Annual Meeting
One of the many benefits of co-op membership is attending the Annual Meeting on the second Tuesday of every May and ensuring your voice is heard.
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative hosted it's 2023 Annual Meeting on May 9 at The Silos on 77, south of Giddings. The traditional in-person meeting was back for the first time since 2019. There were over 450 guests in attendance at the meeting. Read the news release from the 2023 Annual Meeting
Board members serve staggered three-year terms. The four seats were up for election in 2023 are District 3, Bastrop County; District 4, Lee, Milam and Williamson counties; District 6, Austin and Fayette counties; and District 7, Washington County.
Three incumbent directors in this year’s board election were unopposed and elected by general consent in accordance with Bluebonnet’s bylaws: Roderick Emanuel, District 3, Bastrop County; Russell Jurk, District 4, Lee, Milam and Williamson counties; and Bryon Balke, District 6, Austin, Colorado and Fayette counties. Incumbent Director Robert Mikeska, District 7, Washington County, defeated candidate Richard Lamensky, 5,095 votes to 658.
HISTORY: ANNUAL MEETINGS ARE A DECADES-LONG TRADITION »
District 3 (Incumbent)
Emanuel, vice president/vice chairman of the Bluebonnet Board of Directors, has been on the electric cooperative’s Board since 2011. He served as secretary/treasurer for five years, is chairman of Bluebonnet’s Member & Employee Services Committee and a member of the Legal & Governance Committee. He has earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director, Board Leadership and Gold certifications through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Emanuel raises cattle on the family farm with his son. Emanuel previously spent 34 years in education as an economics and special education teacher, and was superintendent for the Bastrop Independent School District. He also worked at Gary Job Corps near San Marcos. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from what is now Texas State University and a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. Emanuel is a motivational speaker and chairman of the deacon board at Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church in Cedar Creek. He serves on the board of Hopewell Rosenwald School, and previously served on the Bastrop Central Appraisal District board of directors. Roderick and his wife Charlene have one son, Roderick Jr.
District 4 (Incumbent)
Jurk has served four terms on the Bluebonnet Board of Directors, starting in 2011. He is chairman of Bluebonnet’s Audit & Finance Committee and a member of the Energy Services Committee. He has earned both Credentialed Cooperative Director and Board Leadership certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He is vice president and general manager at Bobby Lehmann Inc., a Giddings-based trucking company that hauls oil field equipment. He has worked there since 1994. Jurk earned a technical degree from Southwest School of Electronics in Austin. He has served several positions with the Giddings Noon Lions Club, and he and his wife, Laurie, own Ashley’s Attic, a boutique, home décor and collectibles shop in Giddings. Jurk is a past chairman of the Texas Trucking Association and has served as the association’s foundation treasurer. His hobbies include target shooting, hunting, saltwater fishing and restoring old pickups and Jeeps. He and Laurie have two children, Ashley and Richard.
District 6 (Incumbent)
Balke, assistant secretary/treasurer of the Bluebonnet Board of Directors, has been on the electric cooperative’s Board since 2000. He is a member of Bluebonnet’s Audit & Finance and Legal & Governance committees. He is a cattle rancher and former shopkeeper from Bleiblerville, a community of fewer than 100 people in northwestern Austin County. He helped run his family’s historic general store and later operated a fertilizer and seed business. He played baseball at Blinn College in Brenham and had a short pro baseball career with the Houston Colt .45s (now the Houston Astros). He earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from what is now Texas State University and served in the Army Reserves. He is a former treasurer and current member of the Austin County Livestock Association and the Bleiblerville Volunteer Fire Department. His hobbies include collecting antiques, hunting and fishing on the Texas Gulf coast. He and his wife, Annette, have two children, Virgil and Phyllis, and four grandchildren.
District 7 (Incumbent)
Mikeska, secretary/treasurer of the Bluebonnet Board of Directors, has been on the electric cooperative’s Board since 2008. He is chairman of Bluebonnet’s Energy Services Committee and a member of the Audit & Finance Committee. He has earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Mikeska spent 33 years at Mike Hopkins Distributing Co. in Brenham, and retired as senior vice president/controller in 2022. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin. He has also worked for the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas and Brenham National Bank. Mikeska is a former Brenham City Council member and Washington County commissioner, an active member of Abiding Word Lutheran Church and former board member of Brenham’s Senior Activity Center. He and his wife, Marita, have a daughter, Michele, and two grandchildren.
Richard Lamensky is a native of Needville, Texas. He attended Lamar University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He and his wife, Cindy, whom he met in college, have been married 44 years. Lamensky has lived in Brenham his entire married life, and has been a Bluebonnet member for more than 30 years. Lamensky is the director of HVAC and energy management at Blinn College. His education and work experiences have enabled him to understand the ins and outs of electrical transmission and distribution of energy, along with metering and demand of power. He is a member of Texas Energy Managers Association and holds the certification of an Accredited Energy Manager. Lamensky and his wife have two children, Cassy and Chelsy, and three grandchildren. In Lamensky’s spare time he enjoys hunting and fishing.
Bluebonnet’s Annual Meeting is one of the many benefits of being a member of an electric cooperative. The meeting, held each year in May, offers members the opportunity to meet the Board of Directors, the general manager and the co-op’s executive staff. Members at a traditional Annual Meeting also elect directors and attend to any business that may come before the membership.
Four of the seats on Bluebonnet’s Board of Directors were up for election this year. Three of the candidates Roderick Emanuel, District 3 for Bastrop County; Russell Jurk, District 4 for Lee, Milam and Williamson counties; and Byron Balke, District 6 for Austin and Fayette counties - were unopposed and were elected by general consent in accordance with Bluebonnet’s bylaws. There were two candidates for the District 7 seat, representing Washington County: incumbent Robert Mikeska and a contender Richard Lamensky. Robert Mikeska won the election. The term for the District 7 seat will end in 2027 in order to evenly distribute the number of directors’ seats up for election each year.
During contested Board elections, co-op members can vote for directors in all districts. The districts in the co-op’s service area were drawn along Bluebonnet’s service area boundary and county lines. The seven districts are represented by one to three directors based on, among other things, the number of meters in each district. There is one contested Board seat for 2023, District 7.
There are two candidates for the cooperative's District 7 Board seat. There are currently no additional ballot items to be voted on this year. However, items can be added to the Annual Meeting agenda that would require a vote by members. Those items would have to be added no later than 10 days before the Annual Meeting. Members can participate in selecting a candidate for District 7 by voting in person at the Annual Meeting on May 9.
Proxy voting allows members to designate another person to vote in his or her place. On the proxy, members can assign their vote to either Bluebonnet’s Proxy Committee or to an individual. Proxies are counted to ensure at least 1% of Bluebonnet’s members are present by proxy or in person in order to constitute a quorum. The deadline to submit a proxy form was May 2.
The Proxy Committee is composed of all Bluebonnet Board members whose terms are not currently up for election. This year’s Proxy Committee members are Milton Shaw, Shana Whiteley, Bryan Bracewell, Debbi Goertz and Ben Flencher.
No, the proxy is valid only for the meeting specified on the proxy form.
When you register at the meeting, you may revoke your proxy and then vote in person.
Election Services Corp., which is a third-party, independent vendor that specializes in administering corporate elections nationwide. It has the experience to efficiently and accurately tally proxies and votes while protecting members’ confidential account information.
Visit bluebonnet.coop/annualmeeting, call a member service representative at 800-842-7708 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email email@example.com.