Director Candidates

In 2020, the director seats for districts 2, 5, 7 and 8 are up for election. 

If you reside in one of these districts, you are encouraged to vote for one of the candidates. Learn more about the candidates below. 

How Do I Vote?

If you are a member in district 2, 5, 7 or 8, you were mailed a ballot in mid-September. The ballot contains information about voting, which can be done online or via mail. Due to challenges associated with COVID-19, in-person ballots will not be accepted at the Annual Meeting.

Mailed ballots must be received on or before October 8, 2020. Online voting will be available until 9 a.m. on October 8.

In the event the Annual Meeting is postponed or canceled, the election of Directors will continue. 

District 2

There is one candidate for District 2.

Duane "Butch" Lindenfelser

Duane “Butch” Lindenfelser is the incumbent director running in District 2. Lindenfelser has served as a board director since 1996. He has been a Wright-Hennepin (WH) member for more than 50 years. He and his wife, Patricia, have four children and seven grandchildren.

Lindenfelser has spent the bulk of his professional career in the food, beverage and entertainment industry. He also worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation on road research in Monticello, Minn., where he drove Class A commercial vehicles and worked with the University of Minnesota on new technology.

He is the secretary/treasurer for WH Holding, and has completed the certified cooperative director course. Additionally, Lindenfelser was a member of the Monticello Lions Club for 34 years where he served as past president. Lindenfelser has also been a charter member of the Monticello Knights of Columbus since 1976 and a member of the Monticello Sportsman Club since 1989. He is a lifelong member of the St. Albert Catholic Church.

“I will continue working to keep our energy costs at an affordable and reliable level for the members of WH,” Lindenfelser said. “I will also work to implement green technologies, such as solar and battery storage in the immediate future.”

District 5

There is one candidate for District 5.

Chris Lantto

Chris Lantto is the incumbent director running in District 5. Lantto has served as Wright-Hennepin’s (WH) District 5 director since 1987 and was chairman of the board for 15 years. He and his wife, Vicki, have nine children and 10 grandchildren.

Lantto has owned Lantto’s Store in French Lake for more than 40 years and is a member of the Annandale and Cokato Chambers of Commerce. His other volunteer efforts include serving on the Riverside Cemetery Association, and he is a past board member and chairman of the First Apostolic Congregation of Cokato.

“I consider it a privilege to be a director of such a progressive organization like WH, and to be able to work with talented individuals on the board and management,” Lantto said. “The last few years have been especially challenging with wholesale rate increases, flat energy sales, renewables, natural gas gaining market share, coal playing a lesser role in our power supply mix and preparing to accommodate the rise of electric vehicles within our service territory. Keeping our retail rates competitive and reliable for our members is still our number one priority. The years ahead will have more challenges and I am eager to be a part of the process.”

District 7

There is one candidate for District 7.

Kenneth Hiebel

Ken Hiebel is the incumbent director running in District 7. He has been a director since 2012 and a WH member for more than 18 years.

He serves on the policy and planning committee and is a trustee on the MREA Political Action Committee. He has earned the Credentialed Cooperative Director Certification, Board Leadership Certification and Director Gold Credential from NRECA.

He lives in the Reserve Townhomes in Plymouth and served on the townhomes’ board. Before moving to Plymouth, he was on the St. Anthony/New Brighton school board for nine years.

Prior to retiring, he was vice president of Dyco Petroleum Corporation, an oil and gas investment company, where he headed marketing and investor services. Before, he did contract management for Honeywell’s aerospace division and the Latin America Region.

He has a BA in business from the University of St. Thomas, where he did development work.

“I am proud to be a part of the WH community, a national leader in innovation, service, reliability and value. WH is a leader in creative solutions for power supply costs, cost control and was the first cooperative to offer options like community solar and for members to purchase their power from renewable sources. WH consistently provides rates and services that are better than Xcel Energy. WH is preparing for the forecasted increase of electric vehicles and charging stations they will require. I would be proud to continue to serve the members of WH, and respectfully request your vote.”

District 8

There are nine candidates for District 8.

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson is running for director in District 8. Mike and his partner, Karla Leis, have three adult children, live in Maple Grove, Minn., and have been members of WH for 10 years.

Anderson is a retired business leader focused on superior customer service and operational excellence. He served as senior vice president of Plymouth Industries, a holding company which ran a wholesale distribution business catering to commercial roofing companies and three manufacturing companies in the fall protection, pavement maintenance and commercial roofing equipment markets. He previously served as a director and general manager of Tennant Company, a world leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of solutions that help create a safer and healthier world.

Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a Speech Communication minor from the University of Minnesota and an Executive Mini-MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

“As a WH Director, I will use my creativity and common-sense approach to ensure that members of the cooperative receive top value in the electricity and services provided while preparing for the changing times ahead.”

Steve Draeger

Steve Draeger is running for director in District 8. Steve and his wife, Sue, have two adult children and two grandchildren. They live in Maple Grove, Minn., and have been members of WH for 20 years.

Draeger is a problem-solver who utilizes process thinking and thrives in fix-it situations. As a leader, he builds an organizational culture that establishes challenging goals and sets clear objectives. He worked as President and CEO of United Hardware Distributing Co. a member-owned hardware distribution cooperative in Plymouth where he created and implemented the company vision and mission.

Draeger was Chair of the Risk Committee at Elite Distributors Insurance Company, Officer of The Hardware Group Association and Director of Distribution America. He graduated top of his class from the Hardware Management Program at Dakota County Technical College. He later attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Executive Education Programs.

“I would be honored to serve you as Director of District 8. I’m confident my past experience will enable me to serve the interests of the cooperative’s members while providing both support and guidance to management.”

Dr. Sunday Enubuzor

Dr. Sunday Enubuzor is running for director in District 8. Sunday and his wife, Harriet, have five children, live in Maple Grove, Minn., and have been members of WH for 11 years.

Enubuzor is the President and CEO of Harrisun Information Technologies, where he serves as a management consultant in general business management, facility and energy management. He was previously a professor at Argosy University in Eagan, where he taught operations management and other relevant management courses to graduate and undergraduate students.

Enubuzor has 15 years of combined experience as a professor of operations and project management, strategic management and as a business entrepreneur.

Enubuzor is a social justice board member, Sir Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and is a member of the Walden Ambassador Group, the New York Institute of Technology Ambassador Group and the SUNY Alumni Group. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Sciences from Walden University.

“If elected, I assure the members of the Board of Directors of Wright-Hennepin Electric, my endow commitment to serve and to ensure the interests of the entire cooperative members are duly protected at all times.”

Deborah "Debbie" Larson

Deborah “Debbie” Larson is running for director in District 8. Debbie and her husband Michael, have one child, live in Maple Grove, Minn. and have been members of WH for 8 years.

Larson is the senior vice president at Sirius Computer Solutions, where she is responsible for a $450 million business unit covering the Midwest area. She helped grow business by 10 percent in 2019 over 2018 and led the top sales unit in 2019.

Larson is an action-oriented executive with almost 29 years of experience in the technology industry. Her strengths include a candid and transparent approach to removing bottlenecks and driving results, launching new initiatives, and turning ideas into action.

Larson holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University and is currently vice president of the Providence Academy Parents Association.

“I am excited for the opportunity to leverage my experience and strengths to serve the members of the cooperative. I look forward to working with the board and the management team to mindfully address the business initiatives and challenges that are both known and yet to come.”

Rick Lowenberg

Rick Lowenberg is running for director in District 8. Rick and his wife, Holly, have three children. They live in Maple Grove, Minn., and have been members of WH for 9 years.

Lowenberg has 30 years of experience in manufacturing, distribution, consulting and field service operations. For the past 12 years, he has been president and co-owner of RSR Electric (DBA Highland Electric), an electrical contractor based in Mendota Heights. He is also President of Minnesota Elevator, Inc. (MEI), a commercial elevator contractor with eight locations in the Midwest, including a manufacturing facility in Mankato.

Lowenberg has been a driver for Meals-on-Wheels for the past 10 years and participated in various food packing and volunteering events with MEI and its divisions. He was President of the Elevator Association of Minnesota and has and holds several other board-level positions.

Lowenberg has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of North Dakota, and a Master’s of Business Administration degree in manufacturing from the University of St. Thomas.

“If elected, I feel my past experience will enable me to work with board members and WH management to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the Cooperative.”

Ibragim Mirzoyev

Ibragim Mirzoyev is running for director in District 8. Ibragim and his wife, Rasheda, have five kids and have been living in Maple Grove since May of 2018 when they moved from Eden Prairie and became WH members. Ibragim made MN home about 16 years ago when he and his family immigrated to the US from Russia.

Ibragim is CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and works as a senior tax manager at Wipfli in Minneapolis. Over the past 22 years, he has been working in tax management roles and has a combination of broad public accounting and industry experience. He has extensive experience with private companies including strong manufacturing and distribution industry experience. Ibragim also volunteers as treasurer of the Rosemary Woods Homeowner Association and on the Board of Wayzata Youth Wrestling.

He enjoys spending his free time with the family and tries to take his boys to as many wrestling tournaments around MN as he can.

Ibragim earned a Master of Business Taxation degree from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. He previously earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science in Banking degrees from State University in Russia.

“If elected, I will work with fellow board members and WH management to meet the challenges facing the cooperative in providing reliable power at a competitive rate.”

Andrew Schroepfer

Andrew Schroepfer is running for director in District 8. Andrew and his wife, Jill, have two children. They live in Plymouth and have been members of WH for 6 years.

Schroepfer is the CEO and Founder of If I Were .XYZ, an investment firm and ideation agency. His firm researches, invests in, and publishes content on growth ideas best understood as new revenue opportunities for firms embracing innovation with minimized risk and maximized potential.  He developed a native iOS app for idea-seeking leaders to view summaries and vote for their favorite ideas.

His career in technology began in finance at Piper Jaffray, Goldman Sachs, and Tier1 Research – a firm he built and sold, which is now owned by S&P Global. Andrew then successfully managed a hedge fund before taking operational roles with cloud computing firms including Chief Strategy Officer at Hosting and Vice President of Enterprise Strategy at Rackspace.

Schroepfer holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from St. John’s University. He is a member of the Metropolitan Breakfast Club and Wayzata Country Club. In 2020, he published three books relating to career advice, investment manager mindset during crisis, and digital innovation.

“It will be an honor to contribute my knowledge in technology and finance as a WH Director to ensure all members have access to energy innovations. If elected, expect me to be a disciplined fiduciary and a member who wants the same as you – reliable power at competitive rates.”

Fawad Shah

Fawad Shah is running for director in District 8. Fawad and his wife, Saima, have three children. They live in Plymouth and have been members of WH for 4 years.

Shah is the president and CEO of Minnesota Crop Improvement Association where he leads operations, new service development, exceptional service delivery and overall growth. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Minnesota where he developed and taught a Seed Science, Technology and Society course. He also works with researchers and NGO’s to aid in international agricultural development.

His previous roles include Director of the USDA Seed Regulator & Testing Division in North Carolina where he enforced the Federal Seed Act nationwide and represented as the US National Designated and Voting Authority at the OECD Seed Schemes.

Shah holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Seed Technology. His research has been published, he’s served on multiple boards and has been invited as a speaker at various national and international conferences. In his spare time, Shah plays cricket, and is a member of the Northern Lights Cricket Club. 

“I’ll work toward the interests of the members and ensure they’re getting the best value for the services provided.”

David Silver

David Silver is running for director in District 8. David and his wife, Gail, live in Maple Grove and have been members of WH for 27 years.

Silver was a 40-year member of the Local Union 160, IBEW and completed his construction apprenticeship to earn his Journeyman Lineman’s license. He continued working construction then was hired by Northern States Power, which merged to become Xcel Energy Inc. He was hired as a substation electrician and worked his way up through positions including Foreman, Lead and General Foreman. He was challenged to meet and surpass safety goals, improve customer satisfaction and cultivate an efficient cost-effective workforce. He also worked to prepare non-benefit employees for potential company benefit positions. He retired from the company in October 2013 after 28 years.

While at Xcel, Silver worked on distribution line upgrades, underground distribution installation, storm restoration and PCB hazardous waste disposal projects.

Silver served in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman. David and Gail have a son, Jarrod. They attend Wayzata Evangelical Free Church. He is a member of Shamrock Golf Course and is a volunteer at Cross Food Shelf in Rogers.

“I would be honored to share my experience and knowledge in support of our cooperative.”