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"Newsline" is the monthly Lake Country Power member newsletter and can be viewed as a PDF document online.

People Powering You at Lake Country Power

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

Name, job title and years served: Dan Cooper, Key Accounts and Business Development Manager, 5 years at LCP

Brief overview of my job: I work with our commercial and key account members to ensure they receive all the benefits our electric cooperative can provide.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy working at Lake Country Power because of the support I have received in all my roles I have participated in. This has been a great organization to be apart and grow in.

Family: My wife Sabrina and I have three children. Ellie is almost 8 years old, Cohen is 6 years old, Maci is almost 4 years old and we have a year old Goldendoodle named Maya.

Community Involvement: I have past experience as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT in Canosia Township and I also coach soccer. My wife and I also sponsor various community events through our business Northern Man Craft.

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: I enjoy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping. I enjoy the challenge and being outdoors

One random fact of interest about yourself: I have three other brothers that are lineman in Minnesota. Two brothers work at Minnesota Power out of Duluth and one works at Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative in Jordan, MN.

What did you do before working at the co-op? I delivered fuel oil and gas and also installed industrial epoxy flooring.

Education/training/background: I have an Associates Degree in Fire Technology and Administration, Electrical Lineworker Certificate and a Journeyman Lineman Card. I also was a Firefighter and Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. 

Mara Spaeth

Mara Spaeth

Name, job title and years served: Mara Spaeth, Applications and Data Analyst, 8 years in September.

Brief overview of my job: Application, database desktop and mobile device support.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: Our department has a fun culture; we work well together and there’s always plenty to do to keep us busy!

Family: Husband Joel, son Danny (20) and daughters Hope (18) and Ellie (16), puppy Piper (10 months)

Community Involvement: Involved in several levels of Boy Scouts of America as an assistant scoutmaster, district commissioner, course director of our council’s National Youth Leadership Training (twice) and will be a scoutmaster leading a group of 44 youth to the 2023 National Jamboree in West Virginia.  I’m also very active at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Virginia.

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: I like to go camping and fishing with my family.  Even though I’m way behind on my scrapbooks, I love to scrapbook.  I decided I’d rather make the memories now and scrapbook the pictures later!

One random fact of interest about yourself: I love musicals and showtunes.

What did you do before working at the co-op? I’ve worked in IT departments in several different industries since graduating from college including a list processing and marketing company, healthcare at St. Mary’s/Duluth Clinic (pre-Essentia days), University of Minnesota, Duluth and Minntac.

Education/training/background: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Harry Shears

Harry Shears

Name, job title and years served: Harry Shears, Accounting Clerk, 9 years on June 17.

Brief overview of my job: I mainly deal with accounts payable, accounts receivable, monthly bank and credit card reconciliations as well as handling random accounting related issues that may pop up.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I really enjoy working in an office where everyone gets along pretty well and will go out of their way to help others with any problems. It's generally a pretty positive environment around here.

Family: I grew up as the oldest of four boys and then went on to be a father of four girls: Autumn, Daisy, Presly and  Aubree. My oldest daughter, Autumn, married Taylor Greenwalt, who is in the Air Force. They are stationed in San Antonio currently and over the last two years have added two grandsons to the family: James, 2, and Thomas, 5 months old.

Community Involvement: I am active in the youth sports community mainly as a fan enjoying watching the kids play hockey, soccer, softball and martial arts. I was recently on the Range Runners board of directors for the last eight years. We were an official group of the Road Runners Club of America during that time until the last couple years took a toll on the club. With not enough interest in new members joining the board the official club ended at the end of last year. I am still active in the running community, and we do still have the Facebook group for interacting and hosting group runs.

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: I enjoy spending time outdoors when the weather cooperates, four-wheeling, fishing, hunting and running. About three-and-a-half years ago, I started martial arts with my youngest daughter, Aubree, doing Tang Soo Do at Resurgence Martial arts in the Thunderbird Mall in Virginia. This has been fun and challenging and we have met many great people doing it. The last few years I have really gotten into playing disc golf and that’s what I am usually doing most weekends during the warm months. I really like playing and seeing my game improve as well as being outside with friends and family.

One random fact of interest about yourself: I have run 14 full marathons and at least that many half marathons.

What did you do before working at the co-op? I worked at many different places before joining the Lake Country Power team. I worked in restaurants cooking at Hardee’s, Domino’s and Snickers Pizza. I did a summer of rock picking out at the old LTV Mine and also did some bartending and banquet serving at the old Coates Hotel in Virginia.

Education/training/background: I decided in my late 20s to go back to school and enrolled at the Mesabi Community College and completed two years there, graduating with my Associate of Arts degree. It was about a year after graduating from there that I decided I would like to go back to school for an accounting degree. So I enrolled at Rasmussen College in St. Cloud and graduated from there with my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

Al Dorr

Al Dorr

Brief overview of my job: My job entails system design of overhead and underground lines, meeting with members for new services or services changes, and addressing any questions that might arise.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy working at Lake Country Power because it is a great company, and I really enjoy what I do and enjoy my fellow co-workers.

Family: My wife is Jeni, daughter Ali, son Jace 

Community Involvement: Over the years I have volunteered at my children’s schools, along with different sports and in my community.

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: Hunting, fishing, football and golf are all things I enjoy, along with any time I can spend with my family and friends.

One random fact of interest about yourself: I like to cook.

What did you do before working at the co-op? I worked at various jobs before going to line school at the age of 19. I worked at Anoka Electric, which is now Conexus, for 3 years before starting here at Dairyland Electric. Dairyland Electric Cooperative (Grand Rapids) along with Northern Electric Cooperative Association (Virginia) and Carlton County Cooperative Power Association (Kettle River) consolidated to form Lake Country Power in 1997.

Education/training/background: My background is working as a lineman for 20 years and then as a linestaker for the last 10 years. I went to lineman school in Wadena, Minnesota, specializing in leadership training and completing the Line Design Program.

Tracy Peterson Wirtanen

Tracy Peterson Wirtanen

Name, job title and years served: Tracy Peterson Wirtanen, Chief Financial Officer, employed at LCP 7 years

Brief overview of my job: As the CFO, I provide oversight and guidance for all activities related to the accounting, finance, purchasing, warehousing, billing/call center, information technology, member service, and communication functions of the coop.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy working for a member-owned cooperative – Lake Country Power is a very member and employee focused organization. The values of LCP are in sync with my own personal values.  I enjoy the daily challenge of the work I do. I enjoy and care about the people I work side by side with every day.  I enjoy serving our members.

Family: My husband Scott and I share six daughters, one son, and three sons-in-law – all ranging in ages from 19 to 31. We were blessed with two healthy and beautiful grandchildren in 2021 – Maddyn and Bentley. My parents are long-time LCP members. I have two sisters and a brother.

Community Involvement: I have been a parent volunteer for many organizations over the years – most recently the Virginia Baseball Association and Virginia Safe Student Organization.    

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: I have spent the past 20+ years cheering on my four children in their activities – figure skating, tennis, volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, and baseball – and have found such joy in that throughout the years.  Now that my youngest has graduated from high school it’s time to find new hobbies – spoiling grandbabies and traveling sound great!

One random fact of interest about yourself: I have seen over 100 rock, classic rock, pop, and country artists live in concert.

What did you do before working at the co-op? My first job after graduating from college was with the MN Office of the State Auditor in St. Paul. I have been in the professional accounting field for over 30 years, including 20 years of utility accounting and finance.  In the years leading up to my career at LCP, I worked for the Virginia (MN) Department of Public Utilities. 

Education/training/background: I am a native of Biwabik, MN and am proud to be part of one of the last graduating classes from Biwabik high school. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from St. Cloud State University and an Associate of the Arts degree from Mesabi Community College (now Mesabi Range College).

Ryan Ferguson

Ryan Ferguson

Name, job title and years served: Ryan Ferguson, Sr. Engineer Metering & SCADA, 5+ years (10/2016)

Brief overview of my job: I am responsible for overseeing our metering, AMI, load control, and SCADA systems along with supervising our member service technicians and dispatchers.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy being able to work and solve problems in northern Minnesota where I grew up and love.

Family: Wife Timarie for over 12 years, sons Kegan (10), Kyler (8), and Kason (5)

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: My favorite hobbies are fishing and camping. My family moved back to Minnesota to enjoy the outdoors and all the different recreation activities that our different seasons provide.

One random fact of interest about yourself: I am listed as an inventor on multiple patents in the United States and European Union from work I performed at my previous employer.

What did you do before working at the co-op? I worked in R&D doing automation development work for an OEM called Curt G. Joa, Inc. in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. We sold baby diaper machines to all the popular name brands people are familiar with along with other similar products.

Education/training/background: Electrical Engineering degree from the University of North Dakota with studies in mathematics, computer science, and entrepreneurship. Recently became a licensed Master Electrician in the State of MN.

Tami Zaun

Tami Zaun

Name, job title and years served: Tami Zaun, Public Relations Coordinator. Since October 1998 (23 years).

Brief overview of my job: My role is to plan, develop and administer the co-op’s information and public relations programs for key audiences including employees, members, media and the general public. Members may know me from hosting bus tours to learn about their energy supply, or at the annual meetings, district member meetings and member appreciation days, etc. Some of my key responsibilities are coordinating member events, youth events, being a media liaison and marketing our Energy Wise® heating and cooling programs.  

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy working here because we are truly co-op family. We care about one another very much. Some of my dearest friends work in the electric cooperative industry, whether they’re here at LCP, Great River Energy or across the nation at other cooperatives. When you feel part of an organization, supported and respected, it makes you love the work you do, and it motivates you to work hard and give it all you’ve got for your employer and the co-op members we serve. That’s the other part I love about LCP – our members! The friendships and acquaintances I’ve made while working on various projects like the co-op calendar contest, bus tours, annual meetings and district meetings are so enriching to my life. You all mean a lot to me and always will! So, thank you.  

Family: Married to Robert Zaun, and we have one precious fur baby named Bella.

Community Involvement: I’ve been in the Grand Rapids Rotary Club for over 20 years where we do fun community projects and fundraisers for scholarships, etc. I serve as a board member on the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and serve as secretary of the Alliance Church ministry board.  

Hobbies… what are your favorites and why: I love traveling to places near and far to experience life there, see new places, and have fun soaking it all in. Spending time on the lake, paddle boarding, snowmobiling, music and just loving all four seasons in the Midwest are all favorites too.

One random fact of interest about yourself: Did my first tandem skydive on August 2, 2009 in Wisconsin – 13,000 feet and a 120 mph free fall before he pulled the parachute. Second jump was with my brother in Fargo. It’s fun!   

What did you do before working at the co-op? I worked in Grand Forks, ND for Disaster Outreach, a program funded through FEMA right after the devastating flood of April 1997.

Education/training/background: University of North Dakota, Bachelor of Arts with a major in communication (emphasis in public relations).

Jake Koen

Jake Koen

Name, job title and years served: Jake Koen, Member Service Technician, 5 ½ years

Brief overview of my job: I provide service to our members anywhere from sales and education of our off-peak and dual fuel Energy Wise programs, to service and support on your heating systems and water heaters. I also address energy consumption concerns you may have.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy my job because there is no limit to where you can go and what you can learn if you are motivated to do so. I also can’t imagine finding better coworkers anywhere – they are a very helpful, caring and fun group of people.

Community Involvement: I’m a volunteer fire fighter for McGregor Fire Department.

Hobbies: Anything outdoors like hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

One random fact of interest about yourself: I am the proud father of two beautiful little girls. 

Before I worked for the co-op? I was an apprentice electrician for Local 242 in Duluth.

Education/training/background: Hibbing Community College for electrical maintenance and construction; journeyman electrician; Certified Energy Manager.

Sean O'Neil

Sean O'Neil

Tree Crew

Brief overview of my job: The biggest part of my job is removing hazard trees to help provide safe and reliable power to our members.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: One of the things I enjoy most about working at LCP is the area I get to work in. I get to travel the whole service territory.

Community Involvement: I most recently volunteered at the "Take a Vet Fishing" event on Lake Vermilion.

Hobbies: My favorite hobby is trapping. I started trapping a couple years ago. It has challenged me and taught me much more about nature and animals than anything else ever has. My favorite animal to trap is beaver.

One random fact of interest about yourself:  I am a triplet.

Before I worked for the co-op? I worked for a line clearance contractor for another co-op in the north metro for 4.5 years before moving to the Iron Range. During the last two years of employment with them, I was a foreman on a bucket crew frequently tasked with training new employees.

Education/training/background: I have an associate’s degree in law enforcement. I completed the training at my last employer for bucket operator, tree climber, and specialized equipment operator. Recently I have been studying for the exam for the International Society of Arboriculture certification.

Gabrielle Gropp

Gabrielle Gropp

Customer Account Representative

Brief overview of my job: I provide customer service to members via phone and in person. Take payments from members and apply them to their accounts. Assist members with any capital credit inquires. Assist members with their outage calls and concerns.

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I am a people person and I enjoy working with my coworkers and members. I like being part of a team and problem solving. I thoroughly enjoy working for the Cooperative. It is a light-hearted atmosphere and I enjoy coming to work every day.

Family: Family is very important to me. I have been with my husband for 21 years and we have 2 daughters. I’m also blessed that my parents, 4 brothers and their families live in the area and we get to visit often.

Community Involvement: I volunteer with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) and have served on their Executive Board in the past as a Regional Director.

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time fishing and camping with my family and friends and attending music festivals/concerts.

One random fact of interest about yourself: I was on the first girl’s hockey team in Grand Rapids, MN.

Before I worked for the co-op? I previously worked for the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) as the Program Coordinator and Turn in Poachers (TIP) as the administrator of the program.

Education/training/background: I have a teaching degree in Art Education from Bemidji State.

Matt Beal

Matt Beal

Member Service Representative

Brief overview of my job: My primary responsibility is working with co-op members to promote Lake Country Power’s Energy Wise® load management programs, like dual fuel and off-peak heating. 

Why I enjoy working at LCP: I enjoy serving our members. I like promoting our load management programs because I believe in the value these programs bring to members’ lives – both from an energy-efficiency perspective and from an economical advantage. I also enjoy the family atmosphere at work. 

Family: Married to my wife, Tonia for nine years. We have three children: Dara (19), Chad (14) and Ruby (7). 

Community Involvement: I’m a member at the Moose Lake Golf Club and play men’s league. I also volunteer through the junior golf program to teach ages 6 – 17 how to play golf. 

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my family boating, fishing and golfing. 

One random fact of interest about yourself: Back in the late 1990’s, I won an award through the American Red Cross for extraordinary action in a nature rescue.

Before I worked for the co-op? Prior to working for LCP, I worked for AT&T and also Cellular One to sell features like data and text plans. This was prior to when everyone had unlimited texts and data. Now this is included in almost all cellular phone plans.

Education/training/background: I’ve had extensive training in customer service and sales throughout my tenure working for LCP and AT&T/Cellular One. 

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