Co-op News

Salmonson Wins Economic Development Award

By Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer Published: July 31st, 2014

A longtime co-op developer has won a national leadership award for her efforts to improve the quality of life and create economic growth in rural South Dakota.

East River Electric Power Co-op’s Linda Salmonson (center) with NREDA’s Dennis Mingyar and Clare Gustin. (Photo By: Silvius Shawnna)

East River Electric Power Co-op’s Linda Salmonson (center) with NREDA’s Dennis Mingyar and Clare Gustin. (Photo By: Silvius Shawnna)

Linda Salmonson, manager of economic development at East River Electric Power Cooperative, received the 2014 National Rural Economic Developers Association Leadership Award.

A national selection committee of electric and telephone co-ops selected Salmonson, who was honored in late July during NREDA’s annual conference in Cleveland.

At the Madison-based G&T, Salmonson also is assistant administrator of the Rural Electric Economic Development Fund, which makes loans to businesses, nonprofits and local governments in partnership with lenders. The revolving loan fund has issued nearly 250 loans of more than $56 million in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.

“To be nominated is just fabulous. But to get something from your peers is very precious,” said Salmonson, who’s managed REED since it began in 1996, with $2 million in capital.

“Salmonson is the epitome of a rural economic developer. Her vision leadership and guidance to the profession have made her source of knowledge and guidance,” said Dennis Mingyar, NREDA awards chair, during its July conference.

The NREDA honor is Salmonson’s second this year. Earlier, the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity awarded her the Enterprising Friend of Small Business.

Also winning an honor from NREDA was Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino. He won NREDA’s President’s Award for his support of the association and rural America.

NREDA is a professional organization of economic developers from electric and telephone co-ops and rural development organizations.

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