Bill Conine assumed the role of interim president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) in March of 2019. Prior to his current role, Conine had served as the CEO and general manager of Petit Jean Electric Cooperative in Clinton since 2009. His electric cooperative career began at South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative in Arkadelphia where he held a variety of positions, including the general manager position. He has served in leadership roles on the boards of AECC, AECI, ERMCO and the Electric Cooperatives Federal Credit Union.
Michael W. Henderson
Michael W. Henderson is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and its subsidiaries. In addition, he serves as president of Today’s Power, Inc. an emerging energy technology company serving the utility industry as well as retail markets. Michael began his utility career in 1981 with Associated Natural Gas Company before working as a utility auditor for the Arkansas Public Service Commission. He joined AECC in 1984.
During his career, Michael has served the industry by serving as president, vice president, Secretary and treasurer of the G&T Accounting and Finance Association as well as other industry association committees. In 2013, Arkansas Business named Michael as the CFO of the Year in the public sector.
Michael is a Certified Public Accountant and has completed the Advanced Management Program from Duke University as well as a bachelor of science degree from Arkansas State University. He has served in volunteer leadership roles for the Levy Church where he is a deacon and Central Arkansas Christian Schools.
Robert H. McClanahan
Robert H. McClanahan is vice president of information technology and chief technology officer for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., (AECI). McClanahan began his career with AECC in 1981 as a programmer, moving to systems analyst, then department manager before his promotion to vice president in 2000. He graduated summa cum laude from Henderson State University with a bachelor’s degree in physics and computer science.
Over the past decade, McClanahan has been very active in efforts to improve the security of the electric grid. He is a past chair of the Southwest Power Pool Critical Infrastructure Protection Working Group and a past vice chair of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee. He supports the cooperatives’ interests within the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) and recently completed his term as chair of the executive committee of the ESCC’s Cyber Mutual Assistance Program.
McClanahan has served the community as chair of the Leadership Greater Little Rock Alumni Association and as chair of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Physics Advisory Committee. He currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Riley’s Warriors, Inc., a non-profit organization founded by the McClanahan Family to serve special needs families in the Central Arkansas area.
Sandra Byrd is vice president of Public Affairs and Member Services for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. She previously served as vice president of Strategic Affairs for both companies. Sandra has 35 years of legal, regulatory and public policy experience in the electric and natural gas industries, at the state and federal levels. Byrd chaired the Arkansas Public Service Commission from 2000-2007, during which time she served on the board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC); steering committee of the National Council on Electricity Policy; advisory board of the Electric Power Research Institute; chair of the NARUC Critical Infrastructure Committee; chair of the New Mexico State University Center for Public Utilities Advisory Council; and president of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference. She was also a creator and incorporator of the Southwest Power Pool RTO Regional State Committee.
During her years as a utility regulator, she testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on transmission expansion and market design, and worked with congressional members on utility regulatory issues. She is a member of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, the DOE-EPA State Energy Efficiency Action Executive Committee and a founder and member of Arkansas Women in Power. She has authored industry articles in the Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and Energy Central/Energy Pulse magazine. Byrd earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas.
Jonathan Oliver is vice president of utility sales and services for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) and has more than 24 years of cooperative utility experience. Jonathan is a licensed professional engineer, a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program (AMP190) and has degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (BEE) and Missouri S&T (MSEE). Since joining Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) in 1995, he has served in a variety of engineering and management roles prior to being named vice president of Power Production and Delivery in the fall of 2008. He moved into his current role in 2017. Jonathan has extensive knowledge of utility engineering, operations and construction as well as expertise in project management, strategic execution and business operations.
Outside of AECC and AECI, Jonathan has held many industry leadership roles including secretary of the Arkansas Rural Electric Self-Insured Trust, chairman of the Arkansas Section of IEEE, chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) technology management committee and member of EPRI’s generation council. He is also involved in the community completing Leadership Greater Little Rock (Class XIX) and serving as board chairman of AR Kids Read. Jonathan is a strong proponent of the cooperative business model and advancing the mission of the electric cooperatives by delivering reliable, affordable, and responsible products and services.
Maria Bunting Smedley is the vice president of human resources and corporate strategy for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and has worked in the electric utility industry for more than 15 years and within the manufacturing industry for ten years. Maria is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Virginia with degrees from George Mason School of Law (JD), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga (MBA) and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (BSBA). Maria is also a graduate and class speaker of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program (AMP196) and also holds several human resources certifications.
In 2018, Maria was recognized as a Chief Human Resource Officer Leader of Distinction at the North American HRO Today Forum and as a top Chief Human Resources Officer in HR Today’s Magazine. She has also received a Sensational Business Leadership Award. Smedley is one of the founders of Arkansas Women in Power, the president of the National Generation and Transmission HR Professionals Association and serves on the boards of the National Industry Liaison Group, the Arkansas Foodbank and the School of Business Advisory Board of Philander Smith College. Maria has held previous human resources leadership roles with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, World Wide Automotive a Delco Remy Company, Solectron Technology, a Flex LTD subsidiary and Duracell, Inc. Maria is a strategic change agent committed to effectively navigating the transformation of the electric utility industry.
Kirkley Thomas is vice president of governmental affairs for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI). Thomas began his career with the cooperatives in January of 1998 as manager of community and economic development. Before joining AECI he worked for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and as a professional staff member in the United States Senate. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism/public relations from Arkansas State University and is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma.
Andrew Lachowsky joined Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) in 1990 and has served as vice president of Planning and Market Operations since September 2014. He previously was responsible for generation planning and economic studies for AECC.
Lachowsky graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Arkansas.
Lachowsky currently serves on the Electric Power Research Institute’s research advisory committee. He serves on the board and executive committee and is a former president/chair of the Southwestern Power Resources Association. Lachowsky serves as vice president/vice chair of the board of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization and served on the Arkansas Alternative Energy Commission from 2014 to 2016.
Lori L. Burrows
Lori L. Burrows is vice president and general counsel for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and has more than 15 years’ public utility experience. Lori is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program (AMP193) and holds a Juris Doctor, with honors, from the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Arkansas. Lori served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the Pacific island country of the Federated States of Micronesia as well.
Lori is a Founder as well as the Inaugural and current President of Arkansas Women in Power; Lori is President of the Historic Arkansas Museum’s Foundation Board, Board Secretary for Tree Streets and on the Friends of KLRE/KUAR board. Lori is currently in LeadAR (Class 18), a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock (Class XXX), was an honoree in Arkansas Business’ 40 under 40 and featured by AY Magazine as the 2016 Power Woman in Law. Recently, Lori’s public service work was featured in Vanguard Law Magazine and she was named to the Arkansas Business’ 2018 Arkansas 250 list. Immediately before joining AECC, Lori served as a legal advisor to the Arkansas Public Service Commissioners and was an assistant attorney general in the consumer division of the Arkansas Attorney General’s office. Lori is a corporate governance and complex business transaction expert who is recognized as a strong public advocate for the cooperative story and the non-profit public utility business model.
Steve Metcalf is vice president of power production and delivery for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and is responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and operation of AECC’s transmission resources and wholly owned generation fleet. He joined AECC in 1981 and has held a variety of positions, most recently as senior director of power production. During his tenure at AECC, Steve has had an active role in the design, construction, commissioning, repowering and/or acquisition of eight of the cooperatives’ 10 wholly owned power production facilities.
Steve is a former chairman of the Saline County Regional Solid Waste Management District board of directors, a former member of the Arkansas Inter-District Waste Tire Management Program board of directors and a past advisor on the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored Southeast Regional Bioenergy Roundtable. He is currently a member of the Electric Power Research Institute Generation Section Council. Steve has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas and is a registered professional engineer in Arkansas.