2021 Cooperative Hall of Fame
Clark Arrington, Senior Fellow at Seed Commons; Vern Dosch, retired National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) President and CEO; Andrew Reicher, Executive Director of Urban Homesteading Assistance Board; and Karen Zimbelman, Sr. Director of Membership and Cooperative Relations at National Co+op Grocers were officially inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame on October 7. They join 191 outstanding cooperators inducted since 1974.
When asked how cooperatives can play a bigger role in changing times, Clark Arrington had two answers. “Promote the empowerment of Black female leadership and womanhood and channel as much money as possible to cooperative economic development, said Arrington in the Hall of Fame inductees’ panel.
Reflecting on his 45-year career in technology, Vern Dosch shared that the reason the NISC was successful was because of the cooperative business model. “While our competitors were focused only on expanding the wealth of a few and improving shareholder wealth, we focused on building a culture that allowed us to care for our employees, invest in them, and protect members,” said Dosch.
Andrew Reicher came to know co-ops in college and architecture school but learned to be a co-op practitioner when he joined UHAB. “As an architect, co-ops resonated with my design sense; an elegant organizational structure, a near perfect balance and alignment of self-interest, co-op mutual interest and community-interest when well executed,” said Reicher in his Cooperative Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
Karen Zimbelman illustrated the cooperative difference by highlighting the instructions on a bar of co-op label soap in her Cooperative Hall of Fame acceptance speech. The wrapper provided instructions on how to make the bar last longer. “You don’t sell more bars of soap by telling people to make them last longer, said Zimbelman. “This is the really big difference about how co-ops operate,” she continued.
The 2021 Cooperative Hall of Fame was sponsored by CFC, CoBank, Gallagher, National Cooperative Bank, National Co+op Grocers, NRECA, and Nationwide. Watch the full ceremony here. The 2022 Hall of Fame will be held at the National Press Club on October 6.