Brian and Karen Rude will reign as Festmaster and Frau of the 57th Oktoberfest celebration starting Thursday, September 28, 2017. The couple were announced at the Festmaster Ball on Saturday, August 26 at the La Crosse Center. They reside in Coon Valley.
Brian Rude is Vice President of External and Member Relations of Dairyland Power, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dairyland is a generation and transmission cooperative serving 600,000 consumers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Karen is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
Brian is responsible for government relations, community and member relations, communications, printing and graphics, administrative services and energy efficiency. He also serves as a member of Dairyland’s Senior Management Team.
Brian has an extensive career background in politics and communications. He served on the research staff of the Iowa and Wisconsin State Senates, and worked in the Corporate Communications Department at The Trane Company.
In 1982, Brian was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly and in 1984, to the Wisconsin State Senate. On two occasions, he served as President of the Senate, from 1993-1996 and again in 1998. After a 17-year career in public office, in 2000 he resigned from the Senate to begin his work at Dairyland.
He received his BA degree in history and political science from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and his MA in public administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Brian represents cooperatives on the Board of the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute in Madison, and is active in many community activities, including as a member of Lions and currently serving as President of the Wisconsin Historical Society and as a member of the Coon Valley Industrial Development Corporation, the Vesterheim Museum Board and River Bank Board.