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News From The Boardroom

Posted: September 1, 2020
Mark Hayden, GM

As the old saying goes, “change is inevitable.” And while many of us at Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) were aware that a change in the boardroom was on the horizon, it became a reality in late July when District 3 Director, Susan Thraen, announced her resignation from the Board of Trustees. After more than 8 years serving the members of her district, Susan has relocated her residence outside MEC territory, and is no longer eligible to serve on the Board.

During her time on the Board, Susan was a strong advocate for the cooperative principles on which we were founded. Her prior professional experience as a nuclear engineer provided an in-depth knowledge of the energy industry, with a focus on safety, education, communication and good governance.

In addition to serving in all officer positions at MEC, and on the Board of Energy Partners, Susan was an active participant on regional and national issues as well. For example, her experience in the nuclear industry was an excellent fit to serve as Montana’s only representative to the Participants Review Board (PRB). The PRB represents the 92 utilities participating in Columbia Generating Station. This nine-member board reviews all Columbia purchases with a cost over $500,000, nuclear construction and Columbia annual budgets, fuel management plans and plans for refinancing.

Staying current on issues and trends impacting our members requires significant education of our employees and our board. With that in mind, Susan also represented MEC’s members as a Board Member of the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA). NWPPA is a not-for-profit association of over 155 public/people’s utility districts, electric cooperatives, municipalities, and Crown corporations in the Western U.S. and Canada. NWPPA was founded in 1940 and exists to enhance the success of its members through education, training, and government relations.

Susan also was an active participant in legislative advocacy for our member-owners. She was a regular participant at cooperative grassroots events in Washington D.C. for the annual NRECA Legislative Conference where directors, managers and employees of member-owned electric cooperatives come from all across the United States to spend time on Capitol Hill, talking to their congressional delegations and congressional staff about legislative issues affecting electric cooperatives and their member-owners.
On behalf of the entire Board, the employees, and the members of Missoula Electric Cooperative, I would like to thank Susan for her contributions to the organization and her commitment to excellence, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

In the interim, the MEC Board of Trustees is seeking a qualified applicant to serve until the end of Susan’s current term. Per the Cooperative By-laws, the Board of Trustees shall appoint a resident of District 3 to, “serve out the unexpired term of the Trustee whose office was originally vacated and until a successor is elected and qualified.”

Letters were sent to all active members of District 3 in mid-August, with a deadline for applications on September 1st. The Board of Trustees will be reviewing all applications in early-September, and once a successor is selected, the individual will serve the remainder of Susan’s current term, which was set to expire with the election of Trustees in March of 2021.