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 Schnebel – District # 1 (Columbia Falls to Essex)
Term end 2022
Stacey Schnebel resides in Coram with her family, where she co-owns and operates UnderCurrent Web and Stonefly Lounge. Stacey is a Credentialed Cooperative Director, and she represents Flathead Electric Co-op members on the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association board of directors.
Stacey is active in her local and regional community, with other past board positions including President of the Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and President of the non-profit Trapline Association. She serves locally on the CFAC community liaison panel, and she also represents the electric cooperatives of Montana in a governor-appointed position on the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission.
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.
Jake Van Houten – District # 2 (Lower Valley, Somers, Lakeside, Creston, Rollins, and Cooke City)
Term end 2024
Jake Van Houten lives outside Lakeside with his family. He has spent his entire working career in the electric utility industry. He began as a construction laborer, worked his way to becoming a Journeyman Lineman, and now manages large scale, major projects for the largest electrical contractor in North America. His work all over the US allows him to see both the good and the bad of how multiple power companies are managed. He hopes to use this industry experience to help guide FEC into the future in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner while serving his community and neighbors.
Jay Downen – District # 3 (Whitefish, Big Mountain, Olney)
Term end 2024
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.
Steve Streich – District # 4 (Helena Flats, Columbia Falls Stage)
Term end 2022
For the last 30 years, Steve has owned and operated Streich & Associates, a three-generation Montana seed potato farm located near Creston that has been family owned and operated for nearly 70 years.
With a BA in Business Administration and Accounting from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Steve also serves as a board member for CHS-Mountain West Cooperative; Flathead Farm Mutual; Montana Potato Improvement Association (MPIA); and the US Potato Board where he serves as an executive committee member, the only seed potato grower on the committee, and has traveled extensively internationally on trade missions promoting US potatoes. His experience as a board member for several cooperative businesses has given him an understanding of the importance of strong leadership and member involvement. He is glad to serve as a Trustee because he believes that it is important to give back to his local community with time and service.
Alan Ruby- District # 5 (Kalispell, North of Highway 2)
Term end 2024
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 Braaten – District # 6 (West Valley, Marion)
Term end 2023
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 – District # 7 (Kalispell, South of Highway 2)
Term end 2022
Showing his commitment to serve his community, Gary was appointed to fill an open vacancy created with the untimely passing of a Flathead Electric trustee in 2016. Because of Gary’s extensive background and dedicated service, he has since been re-elected to the Board by the members of Flathead Electric and quickly moved into the role of Secretary/Treasurer, and now, Vice President of the Board. As a trustee, Gary advocates for fiscal conservatism, low electric rates, and ensuring that Flathead Electric keeps up with changes in technology.
Gary was raised on a ranch in Big Timber, Montana where his family was heavily involved with Park Electric Cooperative. He honed his understanding of the cooperative business model as a board member of the Missoula Federal Credit Union for 24 years and was a long-time board member of the Missoula County Airport Authority. His extensive resume includes Director of Operations/Investment for Missoula County and President of Northwest Business group. He honorably served our country in the U.S. Navy and has an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Montana. Because he is passionate about continuing his education, he most recently completed the Director Gold Credential Program through NRECA.
Jerry was raised on a farm in Wyoming and attended high school in Laurel, MT. He received a BS in Business Administration/Accounting from the University of Montana and resides in Bigfork. After 41 years, Jerry retired as President/Director of Flathead Bank of Bigfork. He serves on the Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork. He has served on the Roundup for Safety Board, as a Bigfork Volunteer Firefighter and Trustee, and on the Big Brothers & Sisters Board, among numerous other groups.
Jerry’s education and financial experience provide a sound foundation and useful insight to serve as an FEC Trustee.
Terry Crooks – District # 9 (Libby)
Term end 2023
Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Terry served as the Roundup for Safety District 9 representative. Terry and his wife Thesia have lived in Libby for 44 years.
He graduated from Butte High, York College (Nebraska) and Oklahoma Christian University. He has served on eight different non-profit boards through the years including David Thompson Search and Rescue, Western Montana Search Dogs, National Search Dog Alliance, South Lincoln County Critical Stress Management and Yellowstone Bible Camp. Terry is also the local minister for the Libby Church of Christ and manages the Yellowstone Bible teen camp.