FreeState CEO, Steve Foss has announced retirement at the end of 2021. Board of Trustees names Assistant General Manager, Chris Parr as replacement effective January 2022.
The CEO of FreeState Electric Cooperative will retire after a 35 plus year career in the cooperative industry at the end of the year, but before he goes, he will lead the transition to a new Chief Executive Officer. Chris Parr, the current assistant general manager, will assume the role in January of 2022.
“I’m ready to spend more time with my wife, and see my grandkids,” said Foss. “I’ve had a great career and I’ve met some great people along the way.”
“I am proud of all the accomplishments I have been a part of in my long career, but it’s time to let someone else lead,” Foss added.
Parr has been with the cooperative in the assistant general manager role since 2013, first hired by Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative and was right by Foss’s side as the cooperative underwent the 2017 consolidation with Kaw Valley Electric Cooperative to form FreeState.
“The board of trustees knows that the cooperative needs stability and continuity,” said Jeanine Murphy, board president. “Chris is a great fit for the organization. He understands how the operation works inside and out, and he has all the confidence in the trustees to lead the cooperative forward.”
In 2019 Parr completed an intensive program in electric utility management with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program (MIP) is a series of workshops offered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin. The program guides participants through all facets of the electric utility industry, including the many changes occurring around the nation.
“Chris [Parr] has been an asset to the cooperative since he was hired and understands the meaning and importance of member service,” Murphy added. “The trustees are confident the transition will be a smooth one, not only for employees, but also for members.”
Parr has more than 15 years of experience in the utility industry including investor-owned, municipalities and cooperatives. He holds an M.B.A from Baker University and B.B.A in Financial Management from Kansas State University. Parr is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) from the Institute of Internal Auditors.
“I’m honored to be selected as the next CEO,” said Parr. “I am incredibly grateful for the mentorship of Steve [Foss].”
“The cooperative is a service company and will continue to operate within four pillars toward continued success,” Parr added. “Communication, agility, financial sustainability, and quality energy services.”
Parr will assume the role on January 1, 2022.