Valley’s newly appointed CEO staying in Wisconsin

Updated September 26, 2018 - 8:09 pm

Valley Electric Association Inc.’s newly named CEO changed his mind about accepting the job just days after the cooperative’s board of directors announced he was set to take the position later in 2018.

Byron C. Nolde, who currently holds the CEO title at Oconto Electric Cooperative in Wisconsin, will not be heading to the Pahrump Valley in early November. Ken Derschan, president of Valley’s board of directors,noted in a news release on Friday that Nolde was set to take over as CEO on Nov. 5.

But on Tuesday, Valley reported that Nolde was not taking the position and another CEO would be announced in the future.

“I guess he just had a change of heart,” said Michael Hengel, an executive vice president at the VEA.

On Tuesday, a reporter with the Pahrump Valley Times contacted Nolde who said he’d received a counteroffer from his current Oconto board, which he had accepted, and he plans to stay in Wisconsin. Nolde added that he did “not anticipate this would happen.”

The announcement comes roughly five months after the announcement of Thomas Husted’s retirement in May. Angela Evans was named interim CEO following Husted’s departure.

In the release from Valley on Friday, Derschan had praised Evans for her “leadership” over the past several months.

“I can’t say enough about the exceptional job Angela has done to keep the cooperative headed in the right direction,” said Derschan.

The board has been on a months-long nationwide search to find a new CEO.

Valley has been assisted in its search efforts by Ken Holmes, director of executive search for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Nolde, who has worked in the cooperative industry for 29 years, was scheduled to arrive in Pahrump on Nov. 5. He said he was closing out of his position at Oconto Electric Cooperative in Oconto, Wisconsin, during an interview with a reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times on Monday.

Over the years in the cooperative industry, Nolde “has served in numerous leadership positions, including NRECA’s (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s) legislative standing committees, the Wisconsin statewide organization, and the board of the Rural Electric Supply Cooperative,” a release from Valley stated.

According to a release from Valley, Oconto was formed in 1937 to serve electricity needs in rural northeastern Wisconsin. The co-op has 38 employees and 9,600 members throughout Oconto, Marinette and small portions of Shawano and Brown counties.

Before joining the co-op in Oconto, Nolde worked as chief financial officer for Presque Isle Electric and Gas Cooperative in Onaway, Michigan.

“Nolde is a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in accounting,” a release from Valley stated.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at

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