Board of Trustees

FEC Board of Trustees

A Cooperative is democracy in action. The member/owners run the cooperative through their elected representatives on the Board of Trustees. Flathead Electric includes nine districts, each with a representative on the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the cooperative. State and federal law, the articles of incorporation or conversion, and the bylaws of the cooperative govern the actions of the board.


Stacey SchnebelStacey Schnebel – District # 1 (Columbia Falls to Essex)
Term end 2019

Stacey resides in Coram, where she co-owns and operates UnderCurrent Web and Stonefly Lounge. In her first three months on the Board she obtained status as a Credentialed Cooperative Director.  Stacey now represents Flathead Electric Co-op on the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association board of directors.

Stacey is very active in the local business community, with other board positions including Past President of the Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Past President of the non-profit Trapline Association. She served on Governor Bullock’s Main Street Montana project in Helena and locally on the CFAC community liaison panel.

Through her leadership positions, Stacey has consistently demonstrated her commitment to delivering quality services for reasonable fees and increasing returns. For FEC, Stacey employs her business and organizational acumen to balance members’ energy needs today, with strategies for the future in the Flathead.

Emery SmithEmery Smith – District # 2 (Lower Valley, Cooke City, Elk Basin, Rollins)
Term end 2018

Emery has served on the FEC Board since 2002, and is proud of what has been accomplished.

“Flathead Electric rates continue to be among the lowest in the state and country. Our Rate Stabilization Plan has allowed us to keep rate hikes to a fraction of those imposed on FEC by Bonneville Power Administration. I will continue our drive to provide safe, reliable, affordable, renewable power, to protect members’ interests and keep them fully informed on Co-op issues.”

Emery has worked with General Dynamics, Honeywell, Fairchild Industries and Anaconda Aluminum. He started the local businesses Flathead video and Computer Connections.

Jay DownenJay Downen – District # 3 (Whitefish, Big Mountain, Olney)
Term end 2018

Jay Downen, now serving on the Board from Whitefish, has spent his professional career advocating for Electric Cooperatives and their consumers.

He served as CEO and General Manager of Montana’s State Association of Electric and Telephone utilities, working to assure electric rates were free of unwarranted costs.

At FEC he advocates for fiscal conservatism, supporting renewable energy sources – wind, solar, landfill gas, biomass, hydro – that keep our jobs, and power, at “home.” He has strongly supported FEC’s new savings or “rainy day” fund to protect against future rate spikes. Active in community affairs, he owns Last Mile Technologies.

Doug GrobDoug Grob – District # 4 (Helena Flats, Columbia Falls Stage)
Term end 2019

FEC Trustee since 2002, Doug is a third-generation Flathead Valley resident. Graduating from Flathead High and the University of Montana, Doug taught high school in Australia and spent several years abroad in New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

Doug’s focus has been on BPA and power supply issues. His considerable experience includes serving on the Montana Electric Cooperative Association and as past President of the Western Montana G&T.

Regionally, he serves on the Northwest Requirements Utilities Board and as alternate on the Public Power Council Executive Committee in Portland. Doug has received award recognition from his peers both statewide and regionally.


Alan RubyAlan Ruby- District # 5 (Kalispell, North of Highway 2)
Term end 2018

Alan Ruby has lived in Kalispell for 36 years with his wife and three children and has served FEC since 2002.

Owner of 3 local businesses in the Flathead Valley (Alan’s Wallcovering; Hungry Horse Liquor Store and Hungry Horse Mini-Storage), Alan has diverse small business experience that he has applied in numerous service organizations, including church council, Glacier Association board, Flathead County Solid Waste Board, Daybreak Rotary and past President of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association.

This broad based experience proves beneficial in analyzing opportunities and challenges facing FEC and arriving at the best course of action for the members.

Duane BraatenDuane Braaten – District # 6 (West Valley, Marion)
Vice President
Term end 2017

As owner and operator of Farm-To-Market Pork, Duane has over 35 years of agriculture and retail business experience. He and his wife, Janette, have raised 4 children. Duane has served on numerous boards, including the Montana Board of Livestock, the West Valley School Board and the Rates Review Committee for FEC in 2006. He was elected to the FEC Board in 2008.

Gary Boe

Gary Boe – District # 7 (Kalispell, South of Highway 2)
Term end 2017

Gary resides in Kalispell, but was raised on a ranch in Big Timber, where his family served their local cooperative. His understanding of the co-op business model served him well as Director of the Missoula Federal Credit Union for 24 years.

With degrees in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Montana, Gary has managed numerous businesses and real estate companies. His extensive resume also includes Director of Operations for Missoula County and service on a number of boards. Gary was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1972. He feels his broad experience lends itself to the Board.

Paul HollandPaul Holland – District # 8 (Bigfork)
Term end 2017

Paul is a self-employed plumbing and heating contractor for Bigfork Plumbing and Heating. He formerly served on the board of Copper Valley Electric Cooperative in Glennallen, Alaska, where he owned a plumbing and heating contracting business and two guest lodges in South-central Alaska. Paul says he is proud of his member-focus and service to the FEC Board since 2000.


Earl MessickEarl Messick – District # 9 (Libby)
Term end 2017

Retired after 30 years with GTE in Libby. Earl grew up in Maryland and came to Northwest Montana in 1956, serving at a U.S. Air Force radar site in the Yaak. Earl has been married for 60 years and has 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Earl has served on the FEC Board for 15 years.