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CPSS Minutes - Fall 2020


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


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 pass 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


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

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