Charles Ayers, a retired board member from Wheatland, will be inducted in the Kansas Cooperative Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Kansas Cooperative Council, is valued for recognizing the contributions of co-op pioneers and honoring those who have gone "above and beyond the call" in advancing the cooperative philosophy.
Ayers has given decades of service to electric cooperatives. He served on the Wheatland Board from 1986 to 2017. During that time, he also served on the boards for Sunflower, Western Fuels Association, ACES Power Marketing, and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC).
He was nominated for his advocacy, innovation and vision that has had lasting effects on the electric cooperatives in Kansas.
"Charles lobbied hard for the Sunflower Holcomb 2 Plant, played a major role in the restructuring of the Sunflower RUS debt, and helped champion the change to the Retail Service Act that provided for the equitable protection for electric cooperatives when municipals seek to annex electric cooperatives certified service territory,' said Wes Campbell, Sunflower Board Chair.
"Charles was instrumental in the purchase by Sunflower and its members of the Aquila electric system in 2006," Campbell continued. "All of these accomplishments have helped to ensure the long-term viability of Sunflower and its members."
"As we worked together with legislators and regulators, he never lost his focus on the individual farmer, rancher, or business person that we were seeking to serve,: said Earl Watkins, retired Sunflower President and CEO, who nominated Ayers for the Hall of Fame award.
Ayers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on March 11 in Wichita. Also to be inducted is Steve Riegel, who served as Board Chairman of Ford Kingsdown Co-op and who currently serves on the Board of Directors of CHS, a leading global agribusiness company owned by farmers, ranchers and co-ops across the United States.
After a reception and dinner, Ayers and Riegel will be honored for their commitment to the growth and development of the cooperative movement.
The two inductees biographical information will be placed alongside other honorees in the Kansas Cooperative Hall of Fame showcase display a the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Located in the Pride of Kansas Building, this permanent display highlights the achievements of Kansas' great co-op leaders and preserves co-op history. It also plays a significant role in educating others about the uniqueness of the cooperative business model.
Since it was established in 1999, 47 individuals from all types of cooperatives have been inducted into the Kansas Cooperative Hall of Fame. Nominations for potential inductees are accepted each December.