The Board of Directors at Southeastern Electric Cooperative (Southeastern) is looking for an experienced electric utility leader to join the cooperative as its next CEO. The preferred start date is July 2023. Southeastern’s new leader will replace Brad Schardin, who is retiring after 40 years of service to the cooperative.
Southeastern has engaged GreatCo-Ops (www.greatcoops.com) to assist with this search.
Southeastern’s new CEO must be an excellent leader and communicator who is committed to furthering a culture where employees thrive and members receive outstanding service. The cooperative’s next CEO must possess the ability to create a compelling vision that has the support of the board and employees. An unwavering commitment to ethical conduct and safety are a must, as are the team orientation and self-awareness that are hallmarks of good leadership.
The next CEO of Southeastern must have the experience and competencies required to help the cooperative continue to perform well in safety, reliability, operational excellence, and financial soundness. He/she must have the skills required to build productive relationships with Southeastern’s members, power suppliers, statewide association, and other key stakeholders.
Southeastern is looking for a leader who can work effectively with the board and cooperative staff to continue to achieve outstanding results.
About Southeastern Electric Cooperative
Headquartered near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Southeastern is among the largest electric distribution cooperatives in the state. Southeastern employs a team of approximately 55 individuals who are committed to delivering reliable, affordable, and dependable electric power to more than 16,000 cooperative members at nearly 22,000 different metering locations.
Southeastern is one of the fastest growing electric cooperatives in South Dakota and the nine-state region, serving a wide variety of members in and around Sioux Falls and nearly a dozen small towns/communities. Southeastern continually ranks as one of the top electric cooperatives in the nation in the categories of member growth, financial strength, low cost of service, kWh sales growth, low cost of purchased power, and electric rates for members. Strong membership growth and kilowatt hour sales from large commercial members, as well as residential and agricultural growth, provides a broad economic base for the cooperative. Continued growth throughout Southeastern’s service territory provides a host of opportunities for the next CEO to grow along with the cooperative.
A strong management staff and employee group help Southeastern achieve excellent member relations and member service on a continual basis, as revealed in recent member satisfaction surveys and reviews. The board, management staff, and employees work hard to meet the current mission statement of “Member Focused, Member Driven”.
Southeastern is a committed and valued corporate citizen in the communities throughout its 2,500- square mile service area. “Commitment to Community” is evident in the co-op’s collaboration with area economic development organizations that promote economic growth in rural and urban areas alike. Southeastern’s employees provide a host of services on a voluntary basis in the six communities where the cooperative’s service centers are located.
The Board currently has eight engaged and experienced directors who look forward to working collaboratively with the cooperative’s next CEO. Southeastern’s board continues to work together effectively after a consolidation in 2000 and merger in 2006, combining three area cooperatives.
The cooperative’s power supply is provided by East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, SD (East River). East River delivers electric power through their transmission system to 32 power supply substations in Southeastern’s service area. East River holds power contracts with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) from the hydro-electric generation off the Missouri River, and it purchases all supplemental power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. out of Bismarck, ND (Basin). Basin is one of the largest Generation & Transmission Cooperatives in the nation. East River’s power supply mix through Basin and WAPA to Southeastern continues to evolve, with 45% coal, 25.2% wind, 17.5% hydroelectric, 9.8% natural gas, 1.3% nuclear, and 1% recovered heat.
Fast Facts about Southeastern Electric Cooperative
Approximately 16,000 members
Approximately 22,000 metering locations
4,434 miles of line – 50.5% underground and 49.5% overhead
Serves 4.86 meters per mile
Annual operating revenue approximately $68.5 million
Total assets $202 million
55 Employees located at six dedicated service centers
With a population of approximately 200,000, the greater Sioux Falls area provides a variety of housing, professional, educational, cultural, healthcare, and civic opportunities. Sioux Falls has been ranked recently among the Top 10 U.S. cities in which to live, and in 2022 Sioux Falls was ranked as the Number 1 most affordable city in the U.S. The city was ranked as the 6th happiest U.S. city in 2020.
Applications from those who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.
Verifiable, successful leadership experience at the Vice President level (or equivalent) or above with an electric utility (We recognize that many utilities refer to those reporting to the CEO/GM as something other than “Vice President.” In such situations, individuals who are direct reports to the CEO/GM are welcome to apply, and they must be clear that they are a direct report to the CEO/GM in the cover letter or resume.)
Demonstrated success in building high-performance teams and excellent organizational cultures
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
Excellent leadership and communication skills
An unwavering commitment to ethical conduct
Knowledge in electric utility operations, safety, power supply, customer/member needs and expectations, finance, and technologies
An understanding of electric utility industry trends, their likely effects on cooperatives, and ways to leverage those trends for the benefit of Southeastern and its members
An understanding of – and an appreciation for – the cooperative business model and Seven Cooperative Principles
A demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with boards of directors, executive teams, and support staff
A demonstrated ability to build effective relationships with key external stakeholders
Significant work experience in the electric cooperative industry
Experience with the RUS lending process
An advanced degree or certification in an area relevant to leading an electric utility, including but not limited to law, management, finance, accounting, economics, or engineering
Application Process and Deadline
Interested individuals who meet the required qualifications must email a cover letter and resume to Monica Beavers, Director of Client Services at GreatCo-Ops, at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to discussing the applicant’s fit for the role, the cover letter must also include the individual’s perspectives on one significant trend in the electric utility industry and how it is likely to affect Southeastern, given the cooperative’s unique characteristics.
References will be requested at a later time for applicants who progress through the process. Finalists must be willing to undergo a comprehensive background check.
Applications are preferred by February 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm Central. However, applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.
GreatCo-Ops is a professional services firm focused exclusively on creating higher performing electric cooperatives. We help co-op leaders thrive in their roles and create organizations with healthy cultures that deliver unsurpassed member satisfaction. We work hard to earn the trust and respect of our clients by combining a strategic mindset, decades of experience, an obsession for unrivaled service, and an unwavering commitment to ethical conduct.
Our seasoned team leverages experience-tested, data-driven techniques and tools to give our clients powerful new insights they can use to solve their cooperatives’ greatest challenges. Our services include strategy consulting, risk management advisory, governance assessments, leadership development programs, executive coaching, executive search, employee surveys, member experience consulting, data analytics, and related offerings.