Formed in 1939 with a loan from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SWECI) is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative located in Southwestern Illinois. Southwestern Electric Cooperative serves nearly 24,000 residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial member accounts in parts of Bond, Clay, Clinton, Fayette, Effingham, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Shelby and St. Clair Counties.
Headquartered in Greenville, Illinois, the co-op maintains nearly 3,500 miles of power line and employs more than 80 people.Southwestern Electric also owns a 47-megawatt peaking plant.
Southwestern Electric's board of directors has worked diligently to reduce the cost of service by buying wholesale power at competitive prices so that retail rates remain stable. At the same time, our cooperative works to increase its membership base by promoting residential, commercial and industrial development, thereby spreading out the fixed cost of service.
Southwestern Electric Cooperative exists to serve its members in the best manner possible. The cooperative will:
- Strive to provide the best possible service to all members within its service territory.
- Provide energy at the lowest sustainable prices while holding true to the highest standards of service.
- Develop a stable financial structure, maintain a sound organization, and train leadership on a long-range basis.
- Promote the safe and efficient use of electricity, electrical appliances, and electrical equipment.
- Work to stimulate and support initiatives that will promote economic development.
- Keep members informed about the organization’s operations, plans, problems and progress.
- Develop the democratic process as it applies to members, encouraging their participation in cooperative affairs.
- Ensure that no person shall—regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin—be barred from participating in the cooperative’s democratic process.
- Develop understanding and support of cooperative objectives, plans and programs.
- Provide leadership and cooperate with community and civic groups in fostering programs that contribute to the area’s development.
- Work to improve the standard of living for all members.
Southwestern Electric Cooperative's offices are handicap accessible and ADA compliant.
YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Your directors are responsible for establishing policy, ensuring members' needs and concerns are given fair and timely treatment, and guiding the overall direction and financial stability of Southwestern Electric Cooperative.
The board of directors consists of nine Southwestern Electric Cooperative members − three from each voting district. District I includes the co-op’s service territory in Macoupin, Madison, and St. Clair Counties. District II includes Bond, Clinton, and Montgomery Counties. District II includes Clay, Fayette, Effingham, Marion, and Shelby Counties.
Southwestern Electric Cooperative's Board of Directors meets monthly. Special board meetings may be called by resolution of the board, by three directors, or by the board president. We've posted board meeting minutes below. You'll find board meeting minutes here.
Vice President of the Board
Sandy Grapperhaus has served as vice president of Southwestern’s board of directors since 2018. She chairs the cooperative’s Business Development & Marketing Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee, Policies & Bylaws Committee, and Technology & Cybersecurity Committee. She has earned a Credentialed Cooperative Director designation from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She and her husband, Dan, live on a small farm between Troy and Collinsville.
Richard Gusewelle has served as a director for District I since 1984. He served as vice president of the board of directors from 1996 to 2009 and is active on Southwestern’s Member & Community Engagement Committee and the Scholarship Committee. He earned Credentialed Cooperative Director and Board Leadership certifications in 2001 and 2003 respectively, from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. A member of Southwestern Electric Cooperative since 1966 and a lifelong resident of Southwestern Illinois, Richard and his wife, Joyce, reside southwest of Hamel.
Bill Jennings was elected to the board in 2018. He was elected treasurer by Southwestern’s board in September 2019, and earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director Certification from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association soon after. Jennings chairs the cooperative’s Member & Community Engagement Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and Cyber Security Committee. He has been a Southwestern Electric member since 1993. Bill Jennings lives northwest of Alhambra with his wife, Patty.
Jerry Gaffner has been a member of Southwestern Electric for more than 20 years. He brings a background in agricultural business to Southwestern’s board, and is currently chairman of the board of HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville. Gaffner served as president of the Illinois Milk Producers’ Association from 2002-2008, and as an elder on the Greenville First Christian Church board from 2003 to 2010. He’s also served on strategic planning committees at the University of Illinois and at Bond County Community Unit School District #2. He resides on his farm northwest of Greenville with his wife, Sherri. They have three children, Jonah, Abby and Hannah.
Sandy Nevinger spent more than 30 years as an employee of Southwestern Electric before being elected to the board in 2011. As the co-op’s director of member services and public relations, she acted as a liaison to the membership and brought member issues to the board and management team. A member since 1977, Nevinger chairs the Policy & Bylaws Committee, and serves on the Business & Economic Development Committee and Cyber Security Committee. She’s a lifetime member of the Bond County Memorial VFW Post 1377 Auxiliary and a past board member of the Bond-Madison Water Company. Sandy and her husband, Mike, live northeast of Greenville.
Ted Willman has been a co-op leader for more than a quarter century. He served on Southwestern's Nominations Committee for 13 years before being elected to the board in 2001. He’s earned the Credentialed Cooperative Director designation and a Board Leadership Certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and serves on Southwestern's Business & Economic Development Committee and the Scholarship Committee. A farmer since 1976, he resides south of Greenville.
For Annette Hartlieb, being involved in Southwestern Electric Cooperative is a family tradition. She grew up on a farm north of New Douglas and was raised on Southwestern lines. Annette chairs the cooperative's Business & Economic Development Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and Cyber Security Committee. She earned Credentialed Cooperative Director Certification from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in 2019. Annette and her husband, Dennis, live southwest of Vandalia with their children, Alexi, Bryce and Mason.
President of the Board
Ann Schwarm brings to her role on the board a diverse professional background, with experience in agricultural communications, program development, education and small-business management. She retired from the Regional Office of Education in 2016 with 21 years of service. She has served as a director since 1993 and president of the board since September 2016. Ann and her husband, Gene, live on a farm in rural Loogootee.
A member since 2009, Jared Stine grew up on Southwestern lines. He has served on the Southern Illinois University Ag Leadership board since 2009, the St. Elmo Community Unit School District 202 board since 2013, and chairs the St. Elmo Christian Church board of directors. He also served on the Illinois Wheat Association board from 2014 to 2018. Jared and his wife, Krista, live with their children, Sydney, Anna, and Wade, south of St. Elmo, where they operate a fifth-generation grain farm.
YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Bobby Williams, Chief Executive Officer
Michael Barns, Art Director
Christopher Botulinski, Vice President of Engineering
Victor Buehler, Vice President of Information Technology
Dylan Casey, Manager of Engineering
Susan File, Vice President of Member Services
Leslie Frandsen, Vice President of Billing
Carrie Knebel, Vice President of Human Resources
Russell Gilbert, General Manager of Freedom Power Station
Neil Sperandio, Manager of Operations
Thaddius Intravaia, Director of Information Technology
Becky Jacobson, Chief Financial Officer
Andrew Jones, Vice President of Business Development & Marketing
Julie Lowe, Energy Manager
Joe Richardson, Vice President of Communications
Brooke Scott, Executive Assistant
Michael Willman, Vice President of Operations