Meet Your Director: Paul Nyhus, District 4
In his nearly nine years representing St. Croix Electric Cooperative’s District 4 Paul Nyhus, of Hammond, said by far the biggest challenge the board has faced has been in the last several months: Finding a successor to CEO & President Mark Pendergast.
“In over 30 years of working in several different industries, Mark has been one of the most professional people I’ve ever met,” said the director, whose district includes all of the town of Hammond, most of Warren and a small portion of Richmond. “Along with being extremely professional he is extremely knowledgeable.”
But, Nyhus said, his fellow board members have also impressed him: “We come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a lot of different perspectives but we always manage to come into agreement on what is best for the cooperative and its members.”
Nyhus’ background is in engineering – he is currently a purchasing manager for Polaris, a manufacturer of off-road vehicles, motorcycles and snowmobiles. It was that background in engineering – and a seat vacated by 15-year veteran Ken Peterson – that prompted Nyhus to run in the 2010 election.
“I’ve learned a lot since being on the board,” he said. “Right now I’m especially interested in our distributed generation and electric vehicle programs. Getting our power from a variety of sources is a good thing. It was exciting to me to be part of the Sunflower II project – it’s very visible, and it’s clean energy.”
The Sunflower II array is not far from the home where Paul and his wife Joan have lived for nearly 25 years, raising their three daughters who are now 20, 17 and 15. He grew up in Redwood Falls, Minn. and went to college at Minnesota State University – Moorhead, near the North Dakota border.
“This is a wonderful rural area with wonderful people but yet being only 45 minutes from a major metro area makes it a very attractive place to live,” Nyhus said. “I’m proud St. Croix Electric Co-op is able to keep the delicate balance of low rates and reliability. Most of the time I hear only good things from my neighbors about the good things we are doing.”
Nyhus, whose third term is up this spring, also sits on the board of St. Croix Services, a for-profit subsidiary of SCEC formed for non-electric business services and business development.