Agri-Valley Communications, Inc., parent company of Pigeon Telephone, Thumb Cellular and Agri-Valley Services, has appointed three new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the Board are Liesl Eichler Clark, Hans Eichler and Ray Leppien.
Each new appointeeis a descendant of a current or former Agri-Valley Communications board member, continuing the company’s legacy and providing guidance for the future. Liesl Eichler Clark, 42, is the daughter of Edwin H. Eichler who has been Agri-Valley Communications’ President and CEO since 1986.
Hans Eichler, 40, is the son of Agri-Valley Communications Vice President Neal B. Eichler, who has also held his position since 1986.
Ray Leppien, 61, is the son of former board member Karl Leppien, who served from 1972 to 2011.
“While planning for the future of Agri-Valley Communications and its subsidiaries, we determined it was time to introduce the next generation of leadership,” said Edwin H. Eichler, President and CEO of Agri-Valley Communications.
“As a family-owned company with a 110 year heritage, the board felt strongly that the new members should possess strong business acumenand an understanding of this company’s importance to the rural Thumb community.”
Liesl and Hans are the third generation of the Eichler family to lead Agri-Valley Communications. Their late grandfather, John E. Eichler, purchased the original company, Pigeon Telephone, in 1972 and partnered with JamesJ. Christner in 1981. Jim still serves on the board to this day.
“Jim, Neal and I will continue to lead the company with the assistance of Liesl, Hans and Ray,” said Ed Eichler. “Each of the new board members will continue their current careers, but will become increasingly involved in Agri-Valley Communications business decisions.”
Liesl Eichler Clark is the co-founder and partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a policy consulting firm specializing in clean energy and the environment to the public and private sector. She is also the president of Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, where she leads more than 100 businesses in growing Michigan’s advanced energy economy.
Previously, she held several prominent positions advocating clean energy for the State of Michigan. She holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in political economy and international relations from Michigan State University.
Hans Eichler is the manager of Agri-Valley Services truNet wireless broadband internet. He joined Agri-Valley Communications as a telecommunications technician at Pigeon Telephone in 1998 and excelled through the ranks, holding positions as wireless administrator, RF engineer and system performance engineer before becoming truNet manager in 2017.
In his current position, Hans is tasked with ensuring wireless broadband quality and overseeing the truNet team. He holds an associate degree in business administration from Davenport University.
Ray Leppien joined Agri-Valley Communications as chief financial officer in 2014. In his role, he is responsible for the company’s long-term strategic plan, subsidiary positioning and financial operations.
With more than 30 years of professional experience, Ray has held several executive leadership positions in the real estate development and homebuilding industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Arizona State University.
About Agri-Valley Communications, Inc.
Agri-Valley Communications, Inc. (AVCI) is the parent company ofPigeon Telephone, Thumb Cellular and Agri-Valley Services. Headquartered in Pigeon, Michigan, the family-owned company is focused on providing communication services to rural Michigan communities, including those in the Thumband Northern regions of the state.
Through its subsidiaries, the company offers landline telephone, cellular voice and data, and broadband internet services. Most recently, it expanded its portfolio with the addition of AVS Tech Team, providing computer-related technology support throughout Michigan’s Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac counties.
Agri-Valley Communications is a supporter of community betterment, providing grants, scholarships, volunteered time and charitable donations to local non-profit organizations.