Newly elected CFC Board President Dean Tesch can remember his grandparents describing what it was like when power came to their farm decades ago, and he’s seen first-hand the smiles a flipped switch can bring to rural Guatemalans.

These humbling experiences serve as a strong reminder of the importance his new role at CFC can play in changing lives and improving communities. “I’ve always viewed CFC has a valued partner rather than a financial vendor,” explains Tesch, who is a director and the board chairman of Taylor Electric Cooperative in Wisconsin. “CFC staff go beyond the call to provide valuable services, and in a very real way, are part of Taylor Electric and our extended family.”

Former Credit Union Director Promotes Teamwork

He was elected to represent District 5 on the CFC board in 2015 after serving as a director for Taylor since 2006 and assuming the chairmanship in 2014. “My first cooperative leadership role was as a board member of a local credit union,” Tesch recalls. “I was drawn to the idea of people working together in their community to meet their needs and solve problems.”

Taylor Electric serves around 4,500 members in four rural counties in central Wisconsin. “I relished the opportunity to become a director at my electric cooperative to empower our members and community,” says Tesch who is also a former director for the cooperative’s wholesale power supplier, Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Guatemala Trip Reinforces Power of Co-ops

Last year Tesch had the opportunity to empower others in a very big way. He participated in an NRECA International trip with line workers from Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. The effort, Partners for a Brighter Tomorrow, brought power to 210 rural citizens in Tierra Blanca Chixoy, Guatemala.

“This experience, watching linemen from Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois help electrify Guatemalan villages, provided me the opportunity to witness the life-changing event of receiving power for the first time,” Tesch relates. “This experience reinforced the importance electric cooperatives play in our communities across the country and the world.”

CFC and NCSC contributed a combined $125,000 to the three statewide organizations that sponsored the trip. “I’m proud to be part of the leadership team of an organization that fosters international efforts the way CFC does.”

Former Teacher Moves from Teaching ABCs to 1-2-3s

Tesch’s public service began as an elementary school teacher where he learned how to be ready to talk and work with anyone, anywhere in the community. He left teaching to start a financial planning practice where he helps his neighbors and community plan for a more secure financial future.

“My work as a certified financial planner has really helped me better understand CFC’s complex financial instruments and positions,” remarks Tesch, who has also served his profession as chairman of the Certified Financial Planner Board’s Item Writing Group.

Tesch is also involved with his church as a trained and certified organist and directs a handbell choir. In his free time he tends his land, his home and his wife’s horses along with their two shelties. He’s also known for sharing Wisconsin cheese curds during board meetings and special chocolate cheese during the holidays.

Tesch earned a bachelor’s degree from Martin Luther College and master’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He is an NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director and has earned the NRECA Board Leadership certificate.