The Great Plains Institute (GPI) is pleased to announce Will Kaul has taken the helm of the board of directors, effective May of 2018.

Kaul was vice president and chief transmission officer at Great River Energy (GRE), where he served for nearly 39 years. Among his achievements, he spearheaded GRE’s grid modernization program and is a well-recognized thought leader on the topic. He also helped found CapX2020, a groundbreaking collaboration of 11 utilities that jointly planned and built a $2.1 billion, 800-mile expansion of the high voltage electric grid serving a large region in the Upper Midwest.

“Will Kaul has been an invaluable member of our board for many years, and we are thrilled to have someone of his caliber and depth of experience to help lead the Great Plains Institute as the scope of our work grows nationally,” GPI President and CEO Rolf Nordstrom said. “I’d also like to thank his predecessor, Win Rockwell, for his six years of leadership as board chair, positioning GPI to pursue our full potential for impact. I am so pleased Win will continue as a member of our board. This is an exciting time for GPI, and our board’s level of experience and expertise is key to achieving our ambitious goals.”

Prior to his position at Great River Energy, Kaul worked at the Minnesota Legislature and the Minnesota State Planning Agency, served on an advisory council to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, and as a director of the Will Steger Foundation. Kaul has appeared before Congress and numerous state and federal legislative and regulatory bodies. He is an energy consultant to Fresh Energy and a frequent presenter at national conferences.

“I have long been impressed with the Great Plains Institute’s unique ability to bring seemingly disparate interests to the table to build consensus and find solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible,” Will Kaul said. “All the pieces needed for the energy transition are emerging, and GPI is just the organization to assemble them and usher in an energy system that is cleaner, more resilient, reliable, and affordable.”

You can read more about Will Kaul’s extensive experience in the energy sector in this Midwest Energy News interview which was conducted shortly after he announced his retirement in 2017.

GPI’s board leadership is rounded out by new vice chair Amy Skoczlas Cole, secretary Doug Jaeger, and treasurer Dan O’Neill. Each will serve a three-year term.

Skoczlas Cole is the managing director of the Water Main, a new national initiative from American Public Media Group. She has worked at the intersection of the global environment and society for more than two decades in Fortune 500 companies, foundations, and leading non-profits.

Doug Jaeger is president and CEO of Ulteig Engineers, which provides engineering and technical services to the power, renewable energy, oil and gas, transportation, and water sectors. He serves or has served on numerous non-profit boards and has been selected from the Twin Cities business community as one of the “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” and a “Forty Under 40” honoree for his achievements and dedication to community.

Dan O’Neill’s 40-year career in banking and finance includes structuring of water, wastewater, solid waste, public power, transportation, and sports/event facilities. He served as a city councilman in Afton, MN and in various roles on regional and local planning boards and committees. O’Neill worked with the University of Minnesota in the development of biomass energy concept projects that utilize combustion and gasification technologies.

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