New board officers elected, discuss future goals for co-op

The Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative Board of Directors consists of nine co-op members, who each represent one district within the territory served by PPEC. Though they don’t manage day-to-day operations, these democratically elected directors help set the “big picture” direction of the co-op and are responsible for establishing and reviewing corporate policies — like rates — to ensure that service to the membership remains foremost in mind.

The board is excited to announce new officers, effective as of April 2024.

JOSEPH KOHNEN of Monroeville, Indiana, was voted chairman. He represents District 1, including Marion, Madison, Monroe, Preble, and Union townships in Allen and Adams counties, Indiana.

ADAM SCHNIPKE of Fort Jennings, Ohio, was voted vice chairman. He represents District 8, including Perry, Jackson, Monterey, and Jennings townships in Putnam County, Ohio, and Marion Township in Allen County, Ohio.

TIM DERCK of Antwerp, Ohio, remains secretary-treasurer for his second term. He represents District 3, including Carryall, Benton, and Harrison townships in Paulding County, Ohio, as well as Jefferson, Jackson, and Maumee townships in Allen County, Indiana. Derck looks forward to serving his new members in Indiana after the co-op’s recent re-districting initiative took effect in March.

“As the new board chair, my role is to guide the board and give a fair opportunity to all board members to contribute to the direction and decisions we make together,” Kohnen said. “I sincerely hope I can make a positive impact for our members.”

Former Chairman Steve McMichael of New Haven (representing District 5) said he is excited to see Kohnen leading the board with a new perspective.

“It has been my honor serving as board chairman for the last two years, following in the footsteps of esteemed longtime Board Chair Dr. John Saxton,” McMichael said. “But I look forward to seeing the strong accounting and software background Joe will bring to the chair position. Congrats to both Joe and Adam on their new positions!”

Though he has only been on the board four years, Vice Chair Schnipke aims to complete his Board Leadership Certificate by 2025, further continuing his industry education and networking.

“I am humbled to serve in this capacity and am really looking forward to working closer with Joe, the CEO, staff, and learning more of the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that comes with guiding an organization of this caliber,” Schnipke said. “PPEC’s staff is the most dedicated I’ve ever encountered in an organization. I am ready for the responsibility that lies ahead to better serve our members.”

Derck hopes to help preserve PPEC history by streamlining the board meetings, committee notes, and record retention policies.

“This is the lifeblood of our cooperative’s history and may be needed for future reference to keep our board, membership, and management strong and growing,” Derck said. “I plan to continue striving to do what’s best for our members.”

PPEC’s management team, along with the board, scheduled a strategic planning session this summer to set long-term goals and ensure PPEC’s trajectory is aligned with member needs.

“Part of this planning will involve not only the reliability and affordability of our electric rates but also looking at how we can leverage our resources to improve the quality of life for members,” Kohnen said. “PPEC staff will look at available government funds, will promote a more synergistic relationship with our neighboring co-ops for shared resources, and will pursue opportunities for growth, which brings cost reductions to meet our members’ needs.”

All board members are required to be PPEC members and live on PPEC lines.

Schnipke believes this ensures the board’s desires align with those of the membership.

“We all want safe, affordable, reliable electricity, and that’s what we plan to do. The strategic planning and construction work plan are focused around these three things, as well as the seven cooperative principles,” Schnipke said.

Kohnen plans to lead by example and looks forward to working with CEO Randy Price to achieve PPEC’s strategic planning initiatives.

“Monitoring these goals will allow us to implement changes and keep everyone on the same path to success,” Kohnen said. “We have an extremely competent team, and we hope to build the expertise needed to meet our goals.”

One thing is for certain — PPEC is ready for an evolving future.

“There are going to be a lot of changes in this industry in the coming years,” Schnipke said. “But with great challenges also can come great opportunities. I feel PPEC is in as good of a position as we can be to embrace these changes as well as possible.”