RS Fiber Cooperative Board Members
|Jacob Rieke, Chairman
Jacob is a 5th generation corn, soybean and hog farmer near Fairfax, Minnesota. He and his wife Kylie live with their two daughters on the farm site homesteaded by his family in 1862. He received a BA in Sociology & Psychology from Hamline University (2004) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Before farming, he and Kylie served in the Peace Corps El Salvador (2008 – 2010). Jacob is a founding member of RS Fiber, actively supporting the effort since 2010. Jacob believes that access to broadband communications is as critical today as the expansion of electricity to the rural areas was nearly a century ago. He was elected chair in 2019.
|Kevin Lauwagie, Vice Chairman
Kevin is a resident of Sibley County and has been involved in agriculture all his life. Kevin and his wife, Susan have three married daughters and five grandchildren. They own and operate a corn, soybean, and hog enterprise. Kevin presently serves as Chairman on the United Farmers Coop Board of Directors. He also serves as a director of a start up health insurance coop called 40 Square and is a trustee for his church. Kevin sees a real desire for fiber in Rural America with the need for technology in production agriculture, medical and education and in turn bringing new people and jobs to the area.
|Ruth Bauer, Treasurer
Ruth provided accounting consultation for United Farmers Cooperative in Winthrop, MN before taking a Controller role with UFC in April of 2013, and eventually the CFO role in November of 2013. Prior to this, she worked for Hutchinson Technology for 25 years, where she held several accounting positions, including Treasurer for the Company. Ruth became involved in a volunteer role for the RS Fiber Board in 2011 and was elected Treasurer of RS Fiber Cooperative in October of 2013. Ruth has been a resident of Sibley County for the majority of her life and currently resides in Transit Township. She is passionate about providing technology to the rural areas for equality of education & healthcare and the ability for the elderly to stay in their homes longer. It is critical for the rural areas to be competitive with the larger cities in technology to retain and incentivize people to live in rural areas.
|Jenny Palmer, Secretary
Jenny is the City Administrator/EDA Director for the City of Winthrop. She has worked for the city of Winthrop for 26 years and has been involved in the RS Fiber project from its inception. Jenny believes in fiber’s ability to keep small towns relevant and growing into the future.
Anthony lives in Gaylord with his girlfriend Chantal and their daughter Kathryn. He and his family have been RS Fiber subscribers (1 Gbps Cornerstone) since it became available. Anthony grew up in the area, graduating from Sibley East High School in 1999. After, high school he attended the University of Minnesota Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Accounting. He currently works for United Farmers Co-op in Winthrop.
Jim grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota near Albert Lea. He has resided in Gaylord, Minnesota since 1992. Jim has been involved with the RS Fiber project from the beginning while serving on the Gaylord City Council. He currently works as the Supply Chain Manager for Cambria headquartered in LeSueur, Minnesota.
Mark is a retired Telecom manufacturing engineer. He worked for 30 years with ADC Telecommunications in Le Sueur and TE Connectivity in Shakopee, where he managed a fiber optic prototype lab and did global support for new product introduction. Prior to that, he worked in the Electronics and Medical industries, automation, sales, and ran a private business. Mark lives in Faxon Township outside of Belle Plaine with his wife Kathryn. He has served on the RS Fiber board since 2014.
Scott has been the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Heartland Corn Products since 2006. Prior to Heartland, he was a banker in Sleepy Eye for thirteen years. Scott grew up on a farm north of Fairfax and attended GFW. Along with serving on the RS Fiber board since 2015, Scott has been involved in many boards and committees over the past twenty years. Scott resides in New Ulm with his wife and kids.
Wayne has served on the Buffalo Lake City Council for 17 years and is currently serving as the Mayor. He has been on the Buffalo Lake Ambulance service for 25 years and the Buffalo Lake Fire Department for 28 years having served as chief for some of those years. Wayne served on the Joint Power Board, the public entity working with RS Fiber for 5 years.