October 12, 2023

Utility leaders honored at WPPI Energy Annual Meeting

Member Utilities

WPPI Energy is a not-for-profit, wholesale energy provider made up of the 51 utility members it serves. On September 14, the joint action agency held its annual meeting in Sheboygan, Wis.

“Our organization is member-led and member-governed,” stated Jim Stawicki, WPPI Energy board chair and general manager of Sturgeon Bay Utilities. “WPPI owes its success to the women and men who have dedicated their time and efforts into building it into the organization it is today. We’re proud to honor the individuals recognized at today’s awards ceremony.”

Shining Star Award

Honored at the meeting were ten recipients of the Shining Star Award. The award recognizes new or tenured managers and employees demonstrating growth, leadership, and proven dedication to strategic initiatives within the utility. These individuals have gone above and beyond for their customers and communities:

  • Craig Bever, electric crew leader for Hartford Utilities
  • Niki Erickson, office coordinator for Mount Horeb Utilities
  • Emily Hein, billing clerk for Jefferson Utilities
  • Kristin Hubertus, finance manager for Menasha Utilities
  • Kathy Kovach, business manager for New Holstein Utilities
  • Gina Sampe, office manager for Two River Utilities
  • Kim Sankbeil, customer service for Waunakee Utilities
  • Barry Sorenson, superintendent for Waterloo Utilities
  • Russell Swanson, account clerk for River Falls Municipal Utilities
  • Wendy Tokheim, customer service billing for River Falls Municipal Utilities

 Individual Achievement Award

Receiving the Individual Achievement Award were utility managers or employees who make significant contributions to the success of WPPI through active participation in committees, task forces and advisory groups. Those individuals are:

  • Tim Herlitzka, general manager for Waunakee Utilities
  • Eric Miller, manager of engineering and project management for Kaukauna Utilities
  • Mike Reynolds, city engineer and director of public works for Boscobel Utilities

Community Service Award

Three public officials and member utility managers were recognized with the Community Service Award. The award recognizes those who demonstrate the utility’s value through their active participation in the community and commitment to volunteerism. This year’s recipients included:

  • Wendell Dompier, village president for the Village of Baraga
  • John Staver, utility commission treasurer for Cuba City Light & Water
  • Jack Temby, utility commission chair for Mount Horeb Utilties

Utility Leadership Award

Each year, a utility earns the Utility Leadership Award. The award recognizes WPPI member utilities that have advanced WPPI’s strategic initiatives, provided benefits to the membership, acted as a model for other utilities to follow and been a strong supporter of public power and joint action.

Sun Prairie Utilities was selected as this year’s recipient of the Utility Leadership Award.


Milestone Anniversaries

Eight utilities celebrated a milestone anniversary this year.

  • Gladstone Power & Light – 95 years
  • Brodhead Water & Light – 110 years
  • L’Anse Electric Utility – 115 years
  • Waterloo Utilities – 115 years
  • Columbus Utilities – 125 years
  • Eagle River & Water Utility – 125 years
  • Florence Utilities – 125 years
  • Independence Light & Power, Telecommunications – 130 years

Joint Action Leaders

Five individuals completed the Joint Action Leadership Certification Program, a multi-year curriculum which helps utility leaders deepen their knowledge of the joint action model, enhances unity among WPPI members and promotes member engagement.

  • Robert Affeld, Juneau Utilities
  • Jim Brooks, Evansville Water & Light
  • Nick Gahlman, Juneau Utilities
  • Clara Pickett, Kaukauna Utilities
  • Rick Wicklund, Sun Prairie Utilities

Joint Action Hall of Fame

Welcomed into the WPPI Joint Action Hall of Fame this year was Dale Lythjohan, who retired after three decades as general manager of Cedarburg Light & Water.

“The Joint Action Hall of Fame is our organization’s highest honor. It recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary and substantial contributions to the development and success of WPPI and joint action,” shared Stawicki. “I am proud to announce Dale Lythjohan as the 35th inductee into our Hall of Fame.”