Rodney Hager, a director of Orange County REMC, was chosen as the new president of the Indiana Statewide Association of RECs.
has always been a man on a mission, taking the fast track to his
various leadership roles.
Back when he was 21 years old, he was the youngest township trustee elected in Orange County and served in that position for 12 years.
Fast forward to this past December: Hager was chosen to lead the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives after less than seven years on its board.
As its president, heâ€™ll be guiding and helping set policy at the Indianapolis-based service association.
provides government relations, training, communications assistance and more for the stateâ€™s 39 electric cooperatives.
An Orange County cattle farmer and entrepreneur, Hager
was first elected to the Orange County REMC
board of directors in 2001, following in the footsteps of his
father, Kenneth, who was an Orange County REMC director from 1970-84.
was appointed by his
local co-op to the Indiana Statewide board in 2003.
Three years later, Hager
was elected to Indiana Statewideâ€™s seven-member executive committee, representing southeastern Indiana.
He became association secretary-treasurer in 2008 and assumed the vice president position in 2009.
officially took over presidential duties in January.
, 63, is no stranger to association leadership.
Active in the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, he served on its board from 2000-07 and was its president in 2006.
experiences on the Beef Cattle Association
and Indiana Statewide boards taught him that â€œItâ€™s very important to build a relationship with the legislators.â€
takes over the reins of Indiana Statewide
during an economically challenging time with threats of astronomically high electric bills due to looming cap-and-trade legislation and EPA carbon regulations.
Though times are tough, heâ€™s not intimidated by the situation or his
role in convincing legislators to listen to our positions and support our issues. â€œI just try to be truthful,â€ he
said. â€œIf you state your case, you usually get along with most people.â€
has visited congressional offices in Washington, D.C., on several occasions, on behalf of both the Indiana Beef Cattle Association
and the electric cooperatives.
Guided by the old adage, â€œIf youâ€™re not at the table, then you are probably on the menu,â€ Hager is savvy about nurturing relationships with people who can make a difference.
While hosting the first Indiana Beef Producers Field Day in 2006, Hager
welcomed more than 300 cattle industry leaders, and national and state government officials, to his
Orleans farm to talk about agriculture-related issues.
That same year, he
was one of six people to testify during a House Agriculture Committee
hearing on the importance Farm Service Agency equipment assistance programs.
Though he previously worked at the General Motors plant in Bedford, Hagerâ€™s roots are definitely in agriculture.
Heâ€™s always farmed, he
In 1968, at age 21, he
raises 400 acres of row crops with the remaining 600 acres used for pasture and hay.
has a 150-cow commercial beef herd and typically has 250 total head of cattle on hand.
Last summer, he was recognized for his outstanding work in agriculture and dedication to his community and professional organizations by being named an Indiana Master Farmer.
love of farming was instilled in him when he
was a boy. â€œI picked corn by hand and was driving a team of horses by the age of 5,â€ he
On Sundays, Hager serves as the shopâ€™s meat cutter.
Working seven days a week has always been the norm for Hager
, who for several years was a single dad raising his
three children, Steven, Marty, and Ronetta, now all adults. (He is also stepfather to Kathyâ€™s daughter, Candace.) Hard work with no breaks was instilled in him during his
days at GM
believes in putting forth maximum effort in all his
He hasnâ€™t missed an Indiana Statewide or Hoosier Energy annual meeting since he joined the local board.
Heâ€™s also served as a delegate to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation
One thing is certain as Hager begins his term as Indiana Statewide president: His administration will do everything necessary to continue the associationâ€™s dedication to Indianaâ€™s electric cooperative members.
Master Farmer acceptance speech, Hager
quipped that he
always looks ahead toward new challenges. â€œIâ€™m kind of like an old fellow I went to church with,â€ Hager said. â€œHe used to say, â€˜Iâ€™ll never retire, Iâ€™ll work â€™til the day I die.â€™ I keep trying to accomplish things.
Just to sit down ... thatâ€™s not me.â€ Learning is something he
looks forward to every day.