MEET OUR TEAM
Chief Executive Officer & General Manager
Brian Heithoff has been Trico Electric Cooperative’s CEO/General Manager since April 2021.
Mr. Heithoff has worked for electric cooperatives for more than three decades, including 23 years as a CEO. Prior to Trico, he has served for 10 years as the CEO and General Manager of High West Energy, Inc., which serves members in southeast Wyoming, western Nebraska, and northern Colorado, including the Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Prior to his service at High West Energy, Heithoff served in numerous positions in the electric co-op industry, including:
- CEO/General Manager at Consumers Energy in Marshalltown, Iowa.
- CFO at United Power in Brighton, Colorado.
- CFO at Morgan County REA in Ft. Morgan, Colorado.
- CFO at Clay-Union Electric in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Brian has four children ages 26 and 22 – he has two sets of twins. He has also been actively involved in the communities where he has lived serving on the governing boards of local chambers, hospitals, economic development organizations, Rotary clubs, a local bank and several non-profit organizations.
Brian is a proven CEO and General Manager adept at leading innovative and team-oriented cooperative organizations. He has demonstrated leadership collaborating with employees, members, communities, and public officials.
“Trico has a reputation for having a strong culture of service, trust, and accountability; these will continue to be our focus. Our members deserve the best service possible, and I feel honored to help navigate the future of our cooperative,” said Mr. Heithoff.
Chief Operations Officer & General Counsel
Eric Hawkins is the COO and General Counsel at Trico. Eric’s duties include oversight of the Power Supply, Marketing and Communications, IT, Environmental, Land Use, Legal, Regulatory, and Corporate Planning sections at Trico. Most recently he acted as the project manager for Trico’s new Chirreon Solar (10MW) and Battery Storage (15MW/30MWh) Facility. Eric served as Trico’s Board Counsel for five years before joining Trico in 2020.
He earned his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctorate at the University of Arizona. He represents Trico on the Cooperative Performance & Research Committee at Touchstone Energy, and has presented at multiple conferences on utility scale renewable energy projects.
Eric is a lifelong resident of Southern Arizona and serves on the Audit & Ethics Committee for the United Way of Southern Arizona and on the Board of Trustees at the Tucson Museum of Art.
Chief Financial Officer
James Freeman assumed the Chief Financial Officer role at Trico Electric Cooperative in November 2022. Prior to Trico, he had served in several financial roles at electric utilities, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative and Omaha Public Power District. James came to Trico bringing more than 35 years of finance, information systems and consulting experience. He is charged with responsibility for all financial functions, and oversees budgets, capital expenditures, investments, strategic financial planning, and is the primary financial liaison with regulatory agencies, external tax and audit entities.
James is a certified project management professional (PMP). James received a Strategic Master of Business Administration from Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska and a bachelor’s degree of science in business administration in accounting from University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In community service, James previously served as Vice Chair of New Community Development Corporation (NCDC) a non-profit, economic development focused organization. James also is retired from an extensive career of military service with the National Guard, U.S. Army and Reserves.
System Operations Manager
Justin Banales is the System Operations Manager at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2002. Justin currently oversees the management of outages, overview and control of system resources related to substations, line devices, and renewables; along with system switching, GIS/mapping, AMI metering and infrastructure.
One of the first summer interns at Trico, Justin went to school for Electro-Mechanical Drafting before returning to Trico in 2002. With over two decades of experience at Trico, Justin has gained knowledge in the areas of design, GIS, metering, new service/construction, work order/ service order processes, construction and plant asset accounting, software implementation and management, strategic planning, and supervisory and management skills.
Justin loves music and the connection it creates with people. Since 2014 he has been serving as an Audio Technician at his church. Justin is part of the Greater Tucson Leadership Class of 2023 and is an NISC Operations Software advisory member, one of eight elected out of several hundred Electric Cooperatives.
Torey Bell is the Engineering Manager at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been in the position since 2022. He oversees and manages the Engineering department for the cooperative.
Torey’s background in utilities began in 1995 when he graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. During college he worked part time for Poudre Valley REA. Upon graduation he worked for Highline Electric Association in Holyoke, Colorado, and then Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Torey brings a wealth of engineering experience to the position of Engineering Manager. In his 28 years of experience in power distribution he has headed up the construction or upgrading of over 26 substations; completed projects awarded in SSVEC’s Smart Grid Grant; and managed the design, construction, and testing of a new substation to interconnect a 20 MW solar plant in Wilcox, Arizona.
Torey also helped develop and implement the EIT (Engineer in Training) program at SSVEC. He has supervised multiple engineers and seen many of them progress from Engineer I to Engineer 4 to Engineering Manager. Torey has his Professional Engineering (PE) license in both Arizona and Colorado, and he is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Torey is married to Shannan. They have two sons, Noah and Joshua. They have involved themselves in their community through serving at church, coaching youth sports, and coaching robotics teams. They are also very involved in the lives of their previous foster daughters, Rebekkah and Destiny.
Matt Fredericksen is the Electric Operations Manager at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2015. He oversees all new construction and the maintenance of power lines.
Matt has been in the electric utility industry for 20 years, doing everything from labor work to reading meters (before AMI), to completing an apprenticeship to become a journeyman lineman. He then became a journeyman substation technician, eventually becoming a senior substation technician. Matt has worked at Page Electric Utility (13 years), Electric District 3 (6 months), and has now been with Trico for 8 years.
Matt is a softball and theater dad and loves enjoying the outdoors with his family.
Utility Services Manager
Charlie Gourdin is the Manager of Utility Services at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2015. Charlie’s responsibilities include the oversight of Trico’s procurement department, warehouse operation, fleet department, and Facilities.
Prior to becoming the Manager of Utility Services, Charlie served as Trico’s Supervisor of Procurement & Warehouse from 2015 through 2021. Before joining Trico, Charlie served as the Director of Procurement, Warehousing, and Facilities for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where he spent 24 years in multiple capacities. In addition to his director role, Charlie also served for several years as the Assistant Coordinator of the MDA Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.
Charlie is a lifelong resident of southern Arizona, and his family has been a Member of Trico Electric for over 30 years. Charlie was a collegiate baseball player, and both his daughters were collegiate athletes while earning their master’s degrees. Charlie served his community for several years as an Arizona Game & Fish Department hunter safety instructor and Marana Little League softball coach. Currently, Charlie serves as the Chairman of the Grand Canyon State Electrical Cooperative Purchasing Group Committee.
Member & Energy Services Manager
Laree St. Onge is the Manager of Member and Energy Services at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2010. Laree manages the areas of Member Services, Billing, Economic Development, Strategic and Commercial Accounts, and Trico’s Sustainable Energy programs.
Laree has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Arizona and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. Laree came to Trico from Tucson Electric Power where she was a Project Manager, and has over 16 years of experience in the utility industry.
Laree serves on the Board of the Peak Load Management Association. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs in her free time, as well as watching NASCAR and drag racing.
Human Resources Manager
April Park is the Human Resources Manager at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2014. In her role, April provides strategic direction for all Human Resources functions that include Talent Acquisition, HR Management Systems, Training and Development, Employee Relations, Compensation, Benefits, Workers Compensation and Labor Relations. Her focus is to develop and implement HR programs, systems, and policies to align and maximize operational and business strategies.
April is a human resource professional with over 15 years of diversified and progressive experience in human resource management. Her professional experiences include experience in automotive, research and development, and engineering industries. April has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and received her Professional Human Resources Certification (PHR).
April is a member of both SHRM national and the local Tucson SHRM chapter and was recently appointed as a Co-Director for College Relations. She enjoys giving back to her community and has volunteered through United Way, a local homeless shelter, and other meaningful organizations.
Executive Assistant/Records Management Supervisor
Sandra Nelson-Mendez is the Executive Assistant/Records Management Supervisor at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 1993. Sandra is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and Board of Directors; as well as oversees and manages Trico’s corporate records section.
Sandra, who has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, is a member of AZARMA, ARMA International and the National Notary Association. She has served on the GCSECA Education and Professional Development Committee approximately 25 years, with 6 of those years as the Committee Chair.
Distribution Maintenance Supervisor
Andy Betancourt is the Supervisor of Operations Maintenance for Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2015. Andy’s main duties include supervising the overhead, underground, and right of way cable replacement crews and third-party contractors.
Andy’s career in 1985 when he joined Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative. After 27 years with SSVEC, he moved to Trico to continue his career.
Member Service Supervisor
Rachel is the Supervisor of Member Accounts at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2022. Rachel oversees the Member Services Department, which is the primary point of contact for Trico members needing to establish or transfer service, ask account or billing questions, establish a new account, make payments, and more.
Prior to coming to Trico, Rachel spent 15 years in emergency services and served in leadership roles in 911 dispatch for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services.
Rachel is an avid equestrian, training and competing in Eventing, a discipline which comprises dressage, show jumping, and cross country. She is also a professional dog trainer and serves as a volunteer trainer and foster for an Arizona-based Great Dane rescue.
Land Services & Environmental Supervisor
Wesley Crane is the Supervisor, Land Services & Environmental at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2003. He oversees Trico’s easements and rights-of-way secured from Members, Tribes, and governmental agencies, directs Trico’s environmental programs to adhere NHPA, NEPA, CWA, MBTA, ESA, and other criteria, supports Trico’s vegetation management and wildland fire prevention plans, and assists other departments as needed.
Wesley graduated from Georgia Tech in 2003 and worked at The Georgia Power Company’s Carrollton Operating Headquarters as a Distribution Engineering Cooperative Education Student during University. Previously at Trico, Wesley was a Senior Distribution Designer-Subdivision.
While Wesley has never ridden a horse, he has ridden an elephant. He serves on the Southern Arizona Home Builder’s Association Technical Services Committee and the NRECA’s Wildfire Coordination Group.
John W. Dungan is the Safety Director at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2000. John’s primary duties include facilitating Trico’s Safety Committee, teaching safety across the cooperative, and being a resource, researcher and positive safety model for employees.
John completed the NRECA Certified Loss Control Program, as well as several additional certifications to support the co-op’s needs. Prior to Trico, he spent 7 years at Vroom Engineering as a shop welder/field repair man on mining equipment, and four years at Industrial Motor and Control as a general laborer. John also served for four years in the U.S. Navy.
John enjoys the outdoors and spending time camping, hunting, and fishing. He also likes to build things with his hands using wood, steel, and epoxy resin. John serves his community as a volunteer at the Gadsden Toy Train Museum.
Economic Development & Strategic Account Rep
Michael Jansen is the Economic Development & Strategic Account Representative at Trico Electric Cooperative since 2022. In his role, Michael is responsible for working with stakeholders and jurisdictions to promote Trico’s service territory as an attractive area for new business locations and expansions. He also serves as the point of contact for Trico’s strategic accounts. This involves building relationships, serving these members’ energy needs, and looking for expansion opportunities.
Michael received his Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. Prior to working with Trico, Michael worked as an Economic Development Specialist for the Town of Sahuarita, Arizona.
Michael serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED). In his free time, Michael enjoys reading, hiking, playing board or card games, and spending time with his growing family.
Yoli Lazos is the Commercial Account Specialist at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2016. Her duties include assigning rates and deposits to new builds, periodic rate reviews, and on-site visits to commercial businesses.
Originally hired as a Bilingual Member Services Representative, Yoli transitioned to Member Service Rep II, then Lead Member Service Rep, and eventually to Commercial Account Specialist.
Yoli enjoys working with her hands and is an all-around handy woman.
Digital Marketing Director
Megan Litwicki is the Director of Digital Marketing at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2022. She is responsible for overseeing and implementing the digital marketing efforts of Trico and works to ensure a vibrant, cohesive digital communications program. Key areas she manages includes Trico’s website, social media accounts, digital content creation, and video production.
A southern Arizona native, Megan attended the University of Arizona where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film & Television, and Master of Science degree in Marketing Management. Prior to joining Trico, she worked as a marketing professional across several industries including local film, tourism and entertainment, and philanthropy.
Megan represents Trico as a committee member on Touchstone Energy Cooperatives’ National Brand Standards Committee. Megan supports her community by volunteering on grant committees for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and promoting the arts as a volunteer at The Loft Cinema.
Marketing & Communications Director
Roberta Lopez-Suter is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2015. Roberta directs marketing and communications needs related to key business objectives and initiatives for both Members and employees. She also develops programs and plans including: advertising, newsletters, media relations and corporate giving and organizes events such as the Annual Meeting and townhalls.
Prior to joining Trico, Roberta worked for the City of Tucson both in the City Manager’s Office and Tucson Water as a Public Information Officer. Roberta graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter prior to working in public relations.
Currently, she serves on the Boards of the Marana Chamber of Commerce and the Sahuarita Food Bank. She is also on the Board of the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) and serves as the External Communications Chair. Roberta is also on the Public Relations Society of America (S. AZ Chapter) Board and serves as the APR Chair. She has been Accredited in Public Relations (APR) for more than 20 years.
Dana McGehee is the Controller at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2005. She is responsible for overseeing all accounting operations at Trico.
Before becoming the Controller for Trico, Dana worked in several areas of Trico’s accounting department and gained expertise in capital credits, payroll, accounts payable, and corporate planning. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BBA degree and held several management positions prior to joining Trico.
Technical Services Supervisor
Scott McWilliams is the Supervisor of Technical Services at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since June 2015. Scott’s department maintains Substations, Apparatuses and Relays along with Voice communications and SCADA communications.
Beginning his electric utility career in 1989, Scott spent 25 years as an apprentice lineman, substation construction, and system automation at Page Electric Utility. He then spent four years doing NERC testing and substation construction at Valley Electric Cooperative before joining Trico. Scott attended the International School of Correspondence where he studied electrical science and power generation.
Scott has been on apprenticeship committees for over 20 years, and currently serves on the Standards and Apprenticeship Committee. He has two grandkids he enjoys spending his free time with.
Distribution Construction Supervisor
Chris Neely is the Supervisor of Distribution Construction and has been with Trico since 2001. His job entails working with and supervising construction scheduling, inspector/locators, Trico’s Tucson and Sahuarita line crews, and Trico’s Tucson service crew. He ensures the Trico construction work plan, new construction workorders, and new service wire and meters are completed in a safe and timely manner.
Chris started at Trico as an apprentice and worked his way up to Journeyman Lineman, Lead Lineman, Crew Leader, and now Supervisor.
In his spare time, Chris’ favorite things to do are golfing and fishing.
Corporate Planning Supervisor
Rohan Pease is the Supervisor of Corporate Planning at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2018. He manages the various planning functions within the cooperative, which includes Load Forecasting, Power Supply, Rates Administration, and Financial Planning.
Prior to joining Trico, Rohan worked for Arizona Electric Power Cooperative for 11 years, serving as Treasury Services Manager.
Rohan has a passion for cars, both vintage and racing. Outside of work he enjoys volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
Distribution Design Supervisor
Robert Quihuis is the Supervisor of Distribution Engineering and has been with Trico since 2001. Robert directs the engineering department that is responsible for performing system analysis to help maintain reliability and efficiency of Trico’s distribution and transmission facilities. He also oversees the analyzing and preparation of construction workplans, which include distribution feeder upgrades, new and existing substation work, generation interconnections, and long-range forecasting of Trico’s system requirements.
Robert has worked in the Design & Engineering department his entire career at Trico and served several of those as a steward for the local 1116 Union. Robert graduated from the University of Phoenix with a degree in Business Information Systems. His hobbies include golf and running marathons.
Loren Shelton is the Metering Supervisor at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with the co-op since 2012. Loren supervises the metering team and all metering duties/functions. He was a journeyman meter tech for 15 years and has worked in the utility industry for 25 years.
An avid hiker, Loren has hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and to all the highest peaks in Arizona.
Fleet Operations Supervisor
Mike Sutherland is the Fleet Supervisor at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2010. Mike oversees a proactive and service-oriented program for the maintenance and repair of the cooperative’s vehicles and equipment. He ensures that the fleet is always available and operational to support the cooperative’s needs.
Mike completed a three-year heavy-duty mechanic/welder apprenticeship from 1996-1999. He received an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Central Arizona College. He is also an ASE certified medium-heavy truck master technician.
In his spare time, Mike likes to go boondock camping with his wife in their travel trailer to remote locations.
Manuel Velasquez is the Dispatch Supervisor at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2014. His primary role is to maintain the efficient operation of the 24/7 Dispatch section at Trico, and support service continuity and reliability objectives of Trico’s electric distribution system.
Manuel is a native Tucsonan and Navy veteran who has 9 years of control center experience working at Trico. He is currently pursuing an electrical engineering degree from Arizona State University.
Distribution Design Supervisor
William Voorhees is the Supervisor of Distribution Design at Trico Electric Cooperative and has been with Trico since 2005. He oversees and reviews the distribution design of projects, updates the New Service and workflow processes, and assists in the process of the construction work plan.
William has a B.S. in Business Administration and spent his first three years at Trico as a Meter Reader, and then later a Meter Service Specialist. These positions consisted of daily meter reading, when meters were still manually read, as well as disconnected services for non-payment. He then moved into the Design Department at Trico where he has spent the last 15 years.
William is a big sports fan and loves cheering for all the childhood teams he grew up near in Los Angeles. He spends a lot of his free time coaching his kids in soccer and baseball.