Leadership

  • Jo Ann Emerson, Chief Executive Officer

    Jo Ann EmersonOn March 2, 2013, Jo Ann Emerson became the fifth CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Jo Ann was raised to put people before politics and during her eight-plus terms in the House of Representatives she did just that. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Jo Ann was the Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee and also served on the Agriculture Subcommittee and Legislative Branch Subcommittee. Her extensive involvement in economic development and rural policy issues enabled her to fully represent all her constituents in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District.

    After earning a B.A. in political science from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1972, Jo Ann pursued an active career in public affairs and grassroots communications. In her professional career, Jo Ann has served as the senior vice president of public affairs for the American Insurance Association, as director of state relations and grassroots programs for the small-business oriented National Restaurant Association and as deputy communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

    While in Congress, Jo Ann served as representative to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. She is also an Honorary and Life Trustee of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., and as a former Girl Scout, Jo Ann is a leading supporter of that organization. She was co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Congressional Hunger Center and a founding member of the Bipartisan Congressional Retreat, whose mission is to foster better relations in Congress with Members from each party.

    As a wife, mother and grandmother, family is the foremost priority in Jo Ann’s life. She is married to Ron Gladney, an attorney, and is the proud mother of two daughters, Victoria and Katharine, five stepdaughters, Elizabeth Emerson Leger, Abigail Emerson Gray, Alison and Stephanie Gladney, Jessica Gladney Spaniol, and one stepson, Sam Gladney. Jo Ann is the proud grandmother of Cooper O’Brien Leger, Curt William Leger, Margaret Browning Gray and Barrett “Bear” Poe.

  • Denise Aranoff-Brown, Chief Operating and Chief Marketing Officer of Touchstone Energy

    Denise Aranoff-BrownDenise oversees Touchstone Energy, the marketing and branding subsidiary of NRECA. She is a marketing strategy and brand expert with over 25 years of for-profit and non-profit marketing, communications and sales experience.

    Prior to joining Touchstone, Denise ran Brand:New Marketing, a brand strategy and identity consultancy company. Denise was also the Senior Director/Chief Marketing Officer of the National Aquarium and served for 9 years as Group Vice President of Marketing Services for the $2 billion home equity and personal lending division of Chevy Chase Bank. Denise has also held marketing positions with American Express and assorted New York advertising agencies.

    Denise has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from Cornell. She is the recipient of the Smart CEO “Smart CMO” award in 2010, first VP of a school PTSA, active in the Wharton and Cornell alumni communities and a volunteer for various service organizations. Denise and her husband, Chris, live in Gaithersburg MD with their two sons, ages 10 and 13, and two rescue puppies affectionately known as “Dimwit” and “Psycho” (or Casper and Pepper).

  • Peter Baxter, Senior Vice President of Insurance & Financial Services

    Peter BaxterPeter has overall responsibility for the multiple-employer defined benefit, defined contribution and health and wellness programs offered to member cooperatives representing over $12 Billion in qualified plan assets. Peter has over thirty years of experience in the employee benefits, group insurance and financial services industries.

    Prior to joining NRECA, he held a variety of leadership positions in not-for-profit, privately-held and public firms, including Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, Financial Institutions Retirement Fund, American Century Investments and EDS. He has also worked for leading employee benefit consulting firms Buck Consultants and Towers Perrin. At these firms, Peter’s responsibilities included executive leadership, market strategy, product design and development, administrative operations, vendor management and service delivery. He also has extensive experience in the use of technology and industry best practices to enhance business processes, customer service and program administration.

    Peter is a graduate of the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and the Policy Advisory Board of the American Benefits Council (ABC) in Washington, DC.
  • Jim Bausell, Senior Vice President of Communications

    Jim BausellJim is responsible for guiding communications and marketing strategies to achieve NRECA’s mission and goals. Under his wing are media and public relations, digital strategy, national membership support, and association marketing.

    Prior to his appointment as SVP in 2013, Jim was the Chief Operating Officer of Touchstone Energy, the national brand for America’s consumer owned electric utilities. For over twelve years he built the brand from the ground up, developing over sixty programs that helped local cooperative utilities provide value to their consumer-members.

    Before joining the NRECA and Touchstone Energy, for over 20 years Jim was Vice President at PACE, a multinational semiconductor equipment manufacturer. At various points in his career, he had the opportunity to direct PACE’s operations in California, England, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

    Jim serves on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Federation of America, and the National Rural Economic Developers Association. He holds his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his MBA from Johns Hopkins University. He is a US Coast Guard licensed Captain (50-ton Master) and an accomplished sailor.

  • Marc Breslaw, Executive Director of NRECA International

    MarcBreslaw Marc leads the NRECA International Foundation in its mandate to provide increased funding and logistical support for our overseas program. This includes the implementation of existing projects developed with partner organizations as well as finding the financial resources to develop and execute projects of NRECA International’s own design.

    Before assuming his current role in August 2014, Marc was the director of external relations for Global Rights, a human rights advocacy organization active in Afghanistan, West and East Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Earlier, he served as executive director of the U.S. Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the American organization responsible to educate the American public and raise funds for the U.N. Refugee Agency, a position he held until 2012. Marc was also chief operating officer for the New Israel Fund, a human rights and social justice organization that builds and trains civil society organizations in Israel that represent marginalized populations.

  • Jeffrey Connor, Chief of Staff

    Jeffrey Connor, Chief of StaffJeffrey leads strategic planning and implementation efforts and manages cross-departmental functions and coordination. With a background in public policy, communications, politics and coalitions, he brings 14 years of experience on Capitol Hill to NRECA.

    In Congress, Jeffrey served as Communications Director to U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) and Communications Director and Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO). As Associate Staff of the House Committee on Appropriations, Jeffrey also guided the work of the Subcommittee on Financial Services for Chairwoman Emerson following the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. He helped expand the non-partisan Center Aisle Caucus and the policy-oriented Tuesday Group.

    Jeffrey is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

  • Kirk Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Relations

    Kirk Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government RelationsKirk is responsible for formulating legislative and regulatory positions on issues important to cooperatives and developing and implementing strategies to advocate those positions before Congress and federal agencies.

    Prior to joining NRECA in 2001, Kirk worked for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad for 9 years, serving as the Senator’s energy, environment, and natural resources advisor. Kirk has spent over two decades working on energy and environmental issues in Washington, DC.

    In 2000, Kirk received the Lignite Energy Council’s “Public Service Award” for his efforts on behalf of energy development in the state. That same year Kirk was named a “Commodore” in North Dakota’s Mythical Navy by former Governor Ed Schafer (R-ND) for his work to develop North Dakota’s water resources and protect its communities from flooding.

    Kirk is a native North Dakotan, received his BA in Political Science from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), and attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota. He is married to Janet Woodka and is an avid golfer who also loves fishing, sailing, traveling, and playing with their dogs Dakota and Gumbo.
  • Veneicia Lockhart, Vice President of Finance

    Veneicia Lockhart, Vice President of FinanceVeneicia oversees the finance and accounting operations for NRECA, its wholly owned subsidiaries and affiliated nonprofit entities, and the three multiple employer plans for which NRECA is both the plan sponsor and administrator. Veneicia is a CPA with over thirty years of experience.

    Prior to joining NRECA in 1997, Veneicia was the Director of Internal Audit at the National Academy of Sciences. She also worked in public accounting for ten years with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Washington, D.C., Hantzmon & Wieble & Company in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Glenn Ingram & Company in Chicago.

    Veneicia has a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Concord University in Athens, West Virginia.

  • Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President of Member and Association Relations

    Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President of Member and Association RelationsMartin ensures that NRECA excels in serving the needs of its 1,000 members and helping to direct the implementation of the association’s strategic plan.

    Joining NRECA in 1982, Martin started out as Assistant Manager of NRECA’s Computer Services Division and eventually became Manager of NRECA’s Consulting, Training and Market Research Division. Prior to this, he served five years as manager of the Engineering and Technical Services Division for a Washington-based management consulting firm.

    Martin serves on the board of Ralph K. Morris Foundation and the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) Board of Directors. He served as the Chairman of NCBA from 2008-2011, Chair of the NCBA International Committee from 2007-2008, and was the Chair of the NCBA Strategic Planning and Issues Committee from 2004-2007. Currently he is a member of the NCBA Executive Committee. Elected in 2013 as the U.S. Representation to the board of the International Cooperative Alliance. He also is a board member of RE Advisors, Inc. and the National Cooperative Bank.

    Martin received a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) from DePaul University and a Ph.D. from Duke University.
  • Richard Meyer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

    Richard Meyer, Senior Vice President and General CounselRich is responsible for the association’s legal, compliance, internal audit, risk and governance functions. Rich brings nearly forty years of legal experience in the association, government and private sectors.

    Prior to joining NRECA, he held a variety of leadership positions including Senior Legal Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Senior Regulatory and Corporate Counsel of multiple energy subsidiaries of a Fortune 50 corporation. He began his career as a trial lawyer in private practice.

    Rich is currently president-elect of the Energy Bar Association, which has several thousand energy lawyer members worldwide. He is past President of the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association and past President of the Foundation of the Energy Law Journal. He is the third recipient of the Energy Bar Association’s prestigious Nordstrom award.

    Rich has an LLM from George Washington University, a JD from St. Mary’s University where he was an associate editor of the law review, and a BA in philosophy from New York University. He is also certified as a commercial mediator by George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution.

  • Peter Morris, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

    Peter Morris, Vice President and Chief Investment OfficerPeter has overseen the investment of approximately $13 billion in the benefit programs and mutual funds since 1978. He joined NRECA in 1974 as an Investment Analyst.

    Peter also serves as President and Director for RE Advisers Corporation, Vice President and Director for RE Investment Corporation, and President and Director of Homestead Funds, Inc. In addition, Peter is on the advisory board of RFE Investment Partners.

    Peter is a member of the CFA Institute and the Washington Society of Investment Analysts. He graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with an undergraduate degree in Economics and has done graduate work at the University of Iowa.

  • Shaara Roman, Senior Vice President for Human Resources

    Shaara Roman, Senior Vice President for Human ResourcesShaara oversees recruiting, talent management, and employee health and wellness programs at NRECA.

    Shaara joined NRECA in 2013, bringing more than 20 years of broad HR experience in professional and financial services, IT and healthcare organizations. Prior to joining NRECA, Shaara most recently served as Vice President of Human Resources for CGI’s global corporate services organization where she was responsible for the integration, cultural alignment and change management activities to create a unified and effective global corporate leadership team. Prior to her career at CGI, Shaara also held several human resources leadership positions at Fannie Mae, Visa and Allied Capital Corporation.

    Shaara is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and on the Board of Directors for the Human Resource Leadership Forum. Shaara holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and an MBA in International Business from Georgetown University. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband and their two children.

  • Jim Spiers, Vice-President of Technology, Engineering and Economic Analysis

    Jim SpiersJim Spiers joined NRECA in June 2014 as the vice-president of technology, engineering and economic analysis. Spiers came to NRECA from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Westminster, CO, where he served as senior vice president of business strategy/chief technology officer.

    Spiers directed Tri-State’s engagement in several high-profile research initiatives, including carbon dioxide mitigation through inducement prize development (XPRIZE), development of an R&D test center at a coal-fired power facility and the formation of an international network of researchers focused on capturing and converting carbon emissions from industrial complexes into an asset.

    At Tri-State, Spiers focused on scientific and technical issues, technology innovation, research and development, the transformation of capital into strategies to advance business objectives; leveraging intellectual property for the benefit of Tri-State members and analyzing the financial, operational and long-term performance of the organization.

    Spiers’ more than 25 years of experience spans utility and infrastructure industry operations and planning, rate setting, regulation, restructuring, technology assessment, business planning and strategy and technology assessment. As an independent consultant prior to his tenure at Tri-State, Spiers helped clients on a diverse array of issues that ranged from technology assessments and business planning to rate recovery and regulatory compliance. Spiers also provided technology, market and regulatory research and consulting services to utilities world-wide through Gartner Inc.

    Spiers served as director of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from 1986 to 1991, and before that, as a hearings officer and researcher at the Colorado Department of Highways. Spiers has a law degree University of Colorado School of Law and a B.A. from Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colo.

  • Tom Stangroom, Vice President and Chief Information Officer

    Tom Stangroom, Chief Information OfficerTom has served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Vice President of Information Technology since 2000. Prior to that, Tom held leadership positions in information technology for NRECA, American Red Cross, and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). He began his career in information technology with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, DC.

    Tom earned his B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from the George Mason University School of Management.

  • Tracey Steiner, Senior Vice President of Education and Training

    Tracey Steiner, Senior Vice President of Education and TrainingTracey's overall responsibility is developing and delivering NRECA’s Annual and Regional Meetings, national conferences, board of directors training, and executive and staff-level education and credentialing programs.

    Before assuming her current position in March 2012, Tracey served as one of NRECA’s senior attorneys in the Government Relations department for 15 years, where she assisted electric cooperatives with matters related to general cooperative law, corporate governance, intellectual property, federal marketing and consumer protection, federal telecommunications policy, data privacy and security, records management practices and e-commerce. She also served as a writer and editor for NRECA’s monthly Legal Reporting Service and as a frequent instructor at NRECA conferences. Before and while earning her law degree, Tracey worked in communications and marketing roles for NRECA.

    Prior to coming to NRECA in 1992, Tracey worked for the principal of a small economic consulting firm in Washington, D.C. She earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland and her J.D. from the George Washington University. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar, American Bar Association, and the American Society of Association Executives.

  • Dan Waddle, Senior Vice President of NRECA International

    Dan WaddleDan oversees the NRECA division that promotes cooperative development and designs programs to offer access to modern electric service in developing countries. Dan directs a portfolio of rural electrification and utility efficiency program activities in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and South Asia that focus on low-cost expansion of electric service through establishing and strengthening rural electric utilities using conventional grid extension and off-grid energy solutions.

    Dan has worked on rural energy and rural electrification issues for more than 35 years dating back to the mid-1970s. Prior to joining NRECA in 1991, Dan led renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in Southeast Asia and East Africa as a member of the research staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and as an independent consultant.