Randy Kleaving always heard one proverb when he was young: “No matter how good something is, when you’re done with it, you need to leave it better.”
That’s something he says he’s always taken to heart: in his vocation as a farmer, and multiple avocations as volunteer firefighter, county commissioner, and director on his local, state, and national electric cooperative boards.
After a four-year stint on the executive board of Indiana Electric Cooperatives, he was elevated to board president in December 2021. He is the first IEC board president to simultaneously represent Indiana on the board of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
When Kleaving, 57, a director from Southern Indiana Power, ran for NRECA board in 2018, he questioned whether he was biting off more than he could chew. “That weighed on my mind quite a bit — if I had the time to dedicate myself to those organizations,” he said. But after thinking it over, he decided he could make the time. And, now three years in, he is making both the time and the most of the challenges.
Among the biggest challenges he sees looming before him as president is setting the course for the future of the venerable statewide organization. That includes both what it will look like down the road, and what address it literally will occupy on that road.
Before purchasing or building IECs next home, the directors of the 87-year-old association, which serves Indiana’s 38 local electric distribution cooperatives (REMCs/RECs), need to determine what its needs are and will be into the future.
Fortunately, Kleaving’s multiple past experiences have prepared him well for looking at facilities. As a board member and a past firefighter on his township’s volunteer fire department for 38 years (he first volunteered when he was 18), he’s been part of two building programs there. On the national electric cooperative association board, he’s chairman of the association’s building committee which oversees NRECA’s properties.
While setting the future course, Kleaving also has a long bloodline of electric cooperative services behind him beginning with a grandfather he never had the chance to meet, George Kleaving. “He passed away really young, but he was one of the individuals that really pushed for rural electric in our area. He helped put the lines into the farm. He saw his house wired, but he passed away before the electricity was energized. When I became a board member, I always thought of that.”
His father-in-law, Louis Evrard, had been a director on Southern Indiana Power’s board many years earlier, too. Evrard always said serving on the co-op’s board was a way to make a really positive difference in the rural community. Kleaving appreciates being elected and the opportunity to represent the co-op members.
“When something sparks your interest, it’s just easier to work with — no matter if it’s a local board or if it’s IEC or the national board,” Kleaving said. “My interest is rural America and what we can do for our members. Anytime I make a decision, I always step back for a second and put myself in the member’s shoes. Once you put yourself on the outside looking in, that’s how you know you’ll make the best decision with the information you have.”
About Randy …
- Age: 57
- Married: Dawn Renee; Sons: Blake and Adam
- Native of rural Perry County, Randy is a grain and cattle farmer, raising corn, soybeans and Holstein calves.
- Hobbies: passion for collecting International Harvester tractors; Jeep riding and spending time with family and friends.
- Co-op service: Director of Southern Indiana Power, over 16 years.
- Director of Indiana Electric Cooperatives, 15 years
- Director of National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, three years
- Randy is also an elected county official, serving as county commissioner for nine years.
- Board director and retired firefighter for the Anderson Township Volunteer Fire Department where he served for 38 years