District 7: Washington County
Chair of the Board’s Energy Services Committee; member of Audit & Finance committee.
Of all the directors at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Robert Mikeska has followed one of the more atypical career paths.
His early professional experiences took him through state government and even to Washington, D.C., for a short time. Considering he grew up attending school through the eighth grade in a class with only five students in the Kenney-New Wehdem school district of Austin County, his career accomplishments have exposed him to a lot of diversity. But at his core, he's always been a fan of numbers and analytical work.
Robert began working at Austin County State Bank before graduating from Bellville High School in 1972, and as a student at Blinn College he worked at Brenham National Bank. While earning his bachelor's of business administration degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, he took a job with the Texas House of Representatives.
Instead of continuing in the banking industry, Robert found himself reviewing bills that came out of committees and handling legislative schedules. Upon graduation, he became an assistant budget officer for the House, crunching numbers and learning about the complexities of state budgeting. That job led to a position as an energy analyst for the Office of State-Federal Relations, and in 1978 he moved to the nation's capital for eight months to assist with the transition from Democratic Gov. Dolph Briscoe to Republican Gov. Bill Clements. Upon his move back to Texas, he got married and began working for the Texas Animal Health Commission. After that, he took a job as director of administration for the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas.
Then, after Robert and his wife, Marita, had their daughter, Michele, in 1981, they made plans to return home to Brenham. Following the move, he worked in finance, insurance and manufacturing before landing back at Brenham National Bank. In 2022, he retired as senior vice president/controller from Mike Hopkins Distributing Company in Brenham.
Robert has served in several civic leadership positions. He's a former Brenham city councilman and served 12 years as a Washington County commissioner.
"I didn't want to make it a career, and I'm a firm believer that the more people who serve, the better the organization," he said.
That belief in active participation at the local/regional level and interest in grass roots government led to his current tenure on the Bluebonnet board. Robert missed the process for getting on the co-op ballot in 2008, but after receiving a nomination from the floor, he received enough votes to win the election.
"I was very pleased and excited by what I found when I started at Bluebonnet," Mikeska said. "From my perspective, especially after serving on the commissioner's court, I could tell Bluebonnet was a very well-run and well-governed organization."
Robert says working with the cooperative is very unique and different from his experiences with local government, especially since there was so much to learn.
"As a board member, it's now my responsibility to be able to provide information about the cooperative to our members and explain how our organization is run and why we're effective," he said. "The real challenge has been understanding everything from an electrical, technical standpoint, but I'm able to draw on the knowledge from the broad backgrounds and the variety of people we have on the board." Robert continues to wear many hats in the community. He's an active member of Abiding Word Lutheran Church.
As a former board member with Brenham's Senior Activity Center and with the completion of a new center, he continues to advocate for the area's seniors.