East River Electric welcomed Scott Shewey as the cooperative’s new Chief Financial Officer on July 26. Scott joins East River with 14 years in public utility experience at Colorado Springs Utilities, a 4-service municipal utility. He spent the last seven years in executive leadership with Colorado Springs Utilities, with the last two as CFO overseeing rates, treasury, financial planning and analysis, accounting, risk management and supply chain.
Prior to Colorado Springs Utilities, Scott managed financial operations for 11 years combined at Ford Financial and Miller-Coors. He was born and raised in the Ormond Beach area of Florida and graduated from Florida State University with degrees in accounting and finance. Scott holds a 6-Sigma Black Belt certification from Ford Financial.
Outside of work, Scott enjoys spending time with his family and is involved in a range of outdoor activities including walking, hiking, trail running, bird watching and fishing. He also enjoys all levels of sports and spent many years coaching youth baseball teams. He has run 11 marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2014. Scott and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: Jake (24), Ryne (21) and Anna (19).
Eric Fosheim of Madison will be the next Economic Development Manager at East River Electric Power Cooperative. Fosheim will lead East River’s economic development efforts and the organization’s Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund which East River administers on behalf of its member cooperatives. He takes over the role from Linda Salmonson who retired following a 30-year career with East River.
“I’m incredibly excited to join the East River team,” Fosheim said. “They have an incredible reputation of helping to build communities and driving economic development efforts throughout eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota and I’m ready to step in and help continue to advance the goals of the organization.”
The REED Fund was created in 1996 by the region’s electric cooperatives as a revolving loan fund, helping to finance hundreds of projects since its inception. The fund provides financing for businesses, non-profits, communities, health care and other vital services important to rural South Dakota and Minnesota. Fosheim will lead the efforts of the REED Fund as well as work on other economic development efforts on behalf of East River’s 25 member electric distribution systems.
Fosheim’s prior experience includes stints in banking, business development with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and South Dakota Department of Agriculture and most recently he served as the executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation based in Madison.
Fosheim will begin his role at East River Electric at the end of August.
In June, energy and water utility representatives across the U.S. nominated a new slate of officers to lead the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), effective through June 2022. During UTC’s June 21 Board of Directors meeting, UTC board members nominated Paul Lambert of East River Electric Power Cooperative as its new Chairman, Dewey Day of Pacific Gas & Electric as Vice Chair, and Kirt Mayson of NorthWestern Energy as Secretary/Treasurer. If confirmed by UTC’s membership in August, each will serve in these capacities until UTC’s June 2022 Telecom & Technology Annual Conference.
“Telecom and technology play an ever-increasing role in the quantity and quality of services provided to the end consumers of the utility industry,” said Lambert. “UTC is uniquely positioned to help ensure the safe and reliable delivery of critical services. I want to thank East River for their dedicated support of these efforts over the years and especially going forward during my tenure as Chairman of the Board. I am looking forward to continuing the mission of the UTC.”
UTC is the global association at the nexus of the energy, utility and telecommunications industries. Representing energy and water providers of all sizes and ownership structures, UTC advocates for the information and communications technology (ICT) needed for the safe and reliable delivery of these vital services. The new officers have assumed their roles on an acting basis their nominations are subject to confirmation during the Aug. 22-27 UTC Annual Telecom & Technology Meeting.
“Congratulations to Acting Chair Lambert, Acting Vice Chair Day, and Acting Secretary/Treasurer Mayson,” said UTC President and CEO Sheryl Osiene-Riggs. “Once again, the UTC Board of Directors has nominated a slate of leaders who will continue to push us forward. Acting Chair Lambert has been involved with UTC for decades and I am excited about the next year and beyond. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank and salute Immediate Past Chair Angst. I am so thankful for his leadership and support.”
Lambert is a supervisor in the Telecommunications Department at East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, S.D., where his direct responsibilities are mobile trunked radio, SCADA, load management, multiple wireless systems and their associated antenna systems, and standby generator backups. He has worked in the utility telecommunications field for more than four decades. He is a graduate of Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, S.D., with a degree in Electronics/Communications. He holds a First Class Federal Communications Commission Operators License and is a certified tower climber. Chairman Lambert previously served on the Advisory Board for the electronics program at LATI and served on the Lake County 911 Communications committee.
Chairman Lambert has been an active participant in UTC’s Region 5 for many years and is a past officer and Chairman. He currently serves on the International Board of Directors for the Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Julie are the parents of four adult children and have five grandchildren.
East River Electric Power Cooperative, which provides power to 24 electric distribution systems and one municipal electric system in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, is now supplying the region’s electric cooperative consumers with more than 40 percent carbon-free energy. In 2020, more than 25 percent of East River’s power supply came from wind and more than 17 percent came from hydropower from the dams on the Missouri River. An additional two percent came from carbon-free sources including recovered energy technology and nuclear energy.
As a generation and transmission cooperative, East River receives its power supply from Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the Western Area Power Administration. East River owns and operates over 3,000 miles of transmission lines and 250 substations across South Dakota and Minnesota that safely and reliably deliver low-cost wholesale power to member distribution systems which, in turn, deliver power to homes and businesses in the region.
“Over the past few decades, our cooperative family has been adding renewables to our generation mix using a realistic and fiscally responsible approach,” said East River Electric General Manager Tom Boyko. “If you look back about 10 years ago, just 8 percent of our power supply came from wind. Even more, the percentage of coal in our power supply has dropped 17 percent in the past decade, now making up only about 45 percent. This is a proven, realistic and fiscally-responsible approach of adding renewable energy to our generation mix.”
The trend of increasing renewables is set to continue, with solar energy being added to East River’s generation mix through two new solar projects that were recently announced by Basin Electric. In Feb. 2020, Geronimo Energy, a National Grid company, and Basin Electric announced the execution of a Power Purchase Agreement for the Wild Springs Solar Project, a 128 megawatt (MW) solar energy project that is being constructed near New Underwood, S.D., and is projected to be operational by 2022. Once operational, Wild Springs will be the largest solar project in South Dakota. In June 2020, Basin Electric announced its second solar energy project—the Cabin Creek Solar Project with Clēnera Renewable Energy. When complete, Cabin Creek will consist of two, 75 MW projects in southeastern Montana.
“Our cooperative network is always looking to ensure we have a mix of power resources to meet the needs of our membership and renewable energy is an important part of that strategy,” said Boyko. “These solar projects are important strategic steps as we look to the future in continuing our strong history of providing safe, affordable and reliable power.”
East River Electric’s 57th annual fundraiser to support LifeScape was a success, raising over $37,000. LifeScape is an organization which promotes independence for over 2,500 children and adults with disabilities throughout South Dakota. This year, the event was held as an online auction and an online raffle. Several local businesses generously donated items to the auction and cash to the LifeScape organization.
“The online auction and raffle were very successful and a direct tribute to our employees fulfilling our Touchstone Energy Cooperatives principle of Commitment to Community,” said East River General Manager Tom Boyko. “I want to thank our employee committee who really stepped up and organized the fundraiser. We also want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the local businesses and member cooperatives that donated items to the auction. Our fundraiser was a success because of your generosity!”
East River’s annual fundraising efforts have helped provide for the very best in medical care, therapy, education and other services for the children at LifeScape. Several local children and people from around the region are served by LifeScape.
The East River Employees Committee donated $1,000, a total matched by East River Electric at $1,000 and matched by Basin Electric at $2,000. CoBank also contributed $2,000 to the event this year. In the 57 years since the East River fundraiser began, more than $335,000 has been raised to help LifeScape provide services to children and adults in rural South Dakota.
PHOTO CUTLINE – LifeScape empowers people to live their best lives.
East River Electric employees continue decades-long fundraiser tradition in a new format
MADISON — East River welcomes the public to support the 57th annual LifeScape Fundraiser on Thursday, April 15. It will be a virtual event instead of an oyster feed this year. “The Employees’ Committee knows the importance of supporting non-profits in our area, such as LifeScape. We knew that even though we couldn’t hold an in-person event, we still wanted to hold a fundraiser for LifeScape,” said Paul Letsche, East River Employees’ Committee chairperson. “We will be holding an online auction with items generously donated by businesses in our community.”
Proceeds from the online auction will benefit LifeScape, formerly Children’s Care Hospital and School and SD Achieve, whose mission it is to empower people to live their best lives. With more than $298,000 contributed to LifeScape over the years, East River’s annual fundraisers have helped provide for the very best in medical care, therapy, education and other services for the children at LifeScape.
“We are grateful for the partnership between LifeScape, East River Electric and the Madison community. It helps transform the lives of children and adults with complex care needs,” said Jessica Wells, LifeScape Foundation president. “This support enables LifeScape’s Journey of Hope to bring increased technology-based solutions, leading research in innovative treatment options and care closer to home. Nearly 1,400 children and adults from the Madison area and within the footprint of East River Electric Coop, will be impacted.”
To participate in the auction, register at the secure site: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/mountainoyster2021/
PHOTO CUTLINE – LifeScape empowers people to live their best lives.