After 27 years, Jack Hoeke will park his service truck and hang up his hard hat. Jack has been employed with Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative (WVEC) since June 5, 1995. He began as an apprentice electrician and by furthering his education and gaining experience, he now works as a contractor electrician. He is licensed in South Dakota and Minnesota.
Jack is retiring from WVEC on February 28, but has accepted a position with Agralite Electric Cooperative in Benson, Minnesota. His decision was made easier because he grew up in Willmar, Minnesota, and many of his old friends still reside in the area. He is looking forward to catching up with them and spending more time with his girlfriend, Tanya, who is a jailer in the Swift County Sheriff ‘s Department. “I guess you might say that’s the biggest reason for the change,” Jack stated. “Working at Whetstone Valley Electric has been a great opportunity,” Jack said. “I thank Whetstone and its members for the opportunity to serve them. Every day was different than the day before, but repairing storm damage lines and hooking up generators was more fun in my thirties than it is now.”
He recalled many changes from the day he started working at WVEC until now. “There were a dozen or so employees in a small office. Now we have a heated warehouse-garage to park vehicles and equipment in and cordless tools that can do just about anything. Using mini excavators to fix underground faults versus a shovel is probably my favorite improvement!”
Jack also talked about his work “family” and the many different people he has interacted with over the years. He specifically mentioned the realization of never knowing when it might be the last time you work with someone. “Joey George, R.I.P. He was a good friend!” he reminisced.
Jack’s family also includes a daughter, Angela, who recently graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. She plans to continue her education by pursuing an education degree at the University of Minnesota. His son, Josh, recently purchased part of the family farm near Revillo. Following in his father’s footsteps, Josh also works for Engelstad Electric.