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CPSS Minutes - Fall 2019

Center for Power Systems Studies - Fall Meeting
MINUTES (Unofficial)
Brookings SD – October 8, 2019

Call to Order

Steve Hietpas called the meeting to order at approximately 9:42 am.

Recording Secretary

James Turner – STAR Energy Services LLC  

Roll Call


Steve Hietpas             SDSU

Chad Orris                  MidAmerican Energy Company

Steve Mundahl          Basin Electric Power Cooperative

Austin Hoekman       Missouri River Energy Services

Mark Buchholz         Western Area Power Administration

Randy Diede            Western Area Power Administration

Craig Fergen           NorthWestern Energy

Dan Coomes           East River Electric Power Cooperative

Christian Winter      Minnesota Power*

Brian Amann           Otter Tail Power Company

Todd Bockorny        Black Hills Corporation

Associate Members

Joel Lankutis          Power Engineers Inc

James Turner        STAR Energy Services LLC

Blair Metzger        DGR Engineering

Chris Graff           Power System Engineering Inc

Bert Magstadt       Watertown Municipal Utilities

Members not represented

Heartland Consumers Power District

Xcel Energy


Todd Meyers         – Western Area Power Administration


*Attended via Teleconference

Approve Agenda

Mark Buchholz moved, and Craig Fergen seconded to accept the agenda as submitted.  Motion Carried.

Approve Minutes of April 25th, 2019 spring meeting:

Austin Hoekman moved, and Chad Orris seconded to accept minutes.  Motion Carried.             


The Coordinator’s Report was included in the meeting packet.  Some of the highlights of the report included

  • Summer 2019: Faculty and Student Summer Projects/Research Update
    • Dr. Tonkoski is leading the search for the new department head. He is also taking a sabbatical this upcoming spring for a research opportunity at Sandia National Laboratories.
    • Dr. Hanson received the IEEE HKN teaching award. 
    • Dr. Hietpas has been actively working with the CPSS committees, including selection of the WEK award and the 2020 SoDaRP conference.
  • Power-Faculty Course Update
    • There is not a large change in the power-faculty courses. Additional discussion about the impacts of SDSU pursuing a computer engineering degree.
    • With recent changes in faculty staff and an open position all professors are taking a heavier teaching load.  
    • Continuing to work with and explore opportunities to partner with SMT on course offering.
  • Student Activities
    • This past summer was the power industry tour. There were 16 students with 2 vans. One interesting stop was a small hydro facility south of Duluth where Henry Ford built the plant.
    • Student Enrolment is down in engineering and the entire college. 
  • Scholarship Activity
    • The department awarded approximately $60k in scholarships with approximately 45% of those funds coming from the power community.
  • Review of CPSS Impact
    • CPSS continues to make impact though the scholarships provided and support of field trips and the Power Technology Tour
    •  The fall banquet and biennial conference provide an excellent opportunity to introduce power students to the big picture.
  • Membership Update
    • There have been a lot of changes to the membership in the past year.

The new representatives are:

  • Dan Coomes            East River Electric Power Cooperative
  • Cristian Winter         Minnesota Power
  • Todd Bockorny        Black Hills Corporation
  • Joel Lankutis          Power Engineers Inc
  • James Turner         STAR Energy Services LLC
  • Bert Magstadt         Watertown Municipal Utilities
  • Committee Descriptions/Terms/Responsibilities
    • Committee Descriptions were passed out and review by the present members. These descriptions will help future members understand the roles and responsibilities of the various committees. 

Conference Committee:

  • Selection of new Conference Committee Member – 3-year:
  • Outgoing member(s): none
  • 2017-2020:  Craig Fergen (NorthWestern Energy)
  • 2018-2021:  Dan Coomes (East River Electric Power Cooperative)
  • 2019-2022: Christian Winter (Minnesota Power)

Special Project Committee

  • Selection of new Special Project Committee Member – 2-year: 
  • Outgoing member(s): Nate Jones (Heartland Consumers Power District)
  • 2018-2020: Kevin Doe (Ulteig Engineers)
  • 2019-2021: Chad Orris (MidAmerican Energy)

Budget Committee

  • Selection of new Budget Committee Member – 2-year: 
    • Outgoing member(s): Joe Dold (Otter Tail Power Company)
    • 2018-2020: Jay Dring (Nebraska Public Power District)
    • 2019-2021: James Turner (STAR Energy Services)

Awards Committee

  • Selection of new WEK Excellence in Power Award Committee Member – 3-year: 
    • Outgoing member(s): 2018 WEK Recipient John Kappenman and Blair Metzger (DGR Engineering)
    • 2017-2020:  Jean Waltz (Xcel Energy, Inc. South Dakota) 2018-2021:  Mark Buchholz (WAPA)
    • 2019-2022: Austin Hoekman (Missouri River Energy Services)
    • 2019 WEK Recipient Jim Edwards (East River Electric Power – Retired)

Old Business

  • N/A

New Business

  • 2020 SoDaRP Conference Update
    • Event will be October 5 & 6th 2020 at the Alumni Building. The 5th will be all day and the 6th will be the fall meeting. Conference Committee will send out list of topics to members. The committee are still nailing down the speakers.
  • 2018-2019 Financial Report
    • Minnesota Power is maintaining membership and Burns and McDonnell has paid but was after the report was created. Cost of the industry tour was close to $6,000 for two vans. Could possibly consider taking the trip every year instead of every other. Sending students to conferences is part of the overages. 
    • There was a lot of discussion on scholarship amount. It was discussed to look at the budget to see if there were ways to increase funds for scholarships.  
  • Place/Date for 2019 Spring Meeting 
    • Host: MidAmerican Energy – Location: Sioux City, IA  – Possible Dates: April 9th or 16th, 2020
    • *exact venue and date to be finalized in early January


  •  The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:50 am - with a motion by Austin Hoekman and seconded by Dan Coomes.  Motion carried.



Respectfully submitted,


James Turner, STAR Energy Services
Recording Secretary
October 8th, 2019
Typed and Submitted January 7th, 2020