Date ArticleType
3/25/2022 Press Release

MEA Announces Eric Kozak as Chair of the 2022 MEA Board of Directors

Bloomington, Minn. (March 25, 2022) — MEA Energy Association (MEA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Erik Kozak as chair of the board and welcomes the full slate of officers and directors for the 2022 MEA Board of Directors.


“We are pleased to welcome the 2022 Board of Directors,” said Patrick Van Beek, president of MEA. “Under their direction, MEA can be a partner to the energy utility industry and help utilities focus on safely delivering natural gas and electricity. I look forward to Eric’s leadership.”


For over 30 years, Kozak has been a leader in the natural gas industry. He started his career in gas planning for Illinois Power in Decatur, Ill. He has worked in a variety of roles and with varying responsibilities in fleet operations, electric operations, and engineering. Currently, he serves as vice president of natural gas operations and distribution for Ameren Illinois.


“I’m extremely proud and humbled to serve as the new chair of the MEA Board of Directors. I’m looking forward to helping lead MEA's team achieve their mission of empowering the energy industry through education, leadership, and industry connections,” said Kozak. “We have an opportunity as an organization to start educating people to ensure the energy transition is done in a responsible manner that doesn't increase costs for underserved communities, maintains or improves reliability, and moves the country forward in a reasonable transition to a cleaner energy future. There are no simple answers to the energy challenges we face, but I have no doubt that the men and women in this industry will rise to the occasion.”


MEA is proud to share the 2022 board of directors:


Officers (listed by role):

Chair, Eric Kozak, vice president, gas operations of Ameren Illinois Company (Ill.)

1st Vice Chair, James Lorenz, assistant vice president, electric operations of Madison Gas and Electric (Wis.)

2nd Vice Chair, Wes Ashton, vice president of customer experience of Black Hills Corporation (S.D.)

Treasurer, Steven Karolweski, vice president of operations of Groebner (Minn.)

Secretary, Patrick Van Beek, president of MEA Energy Association (Minn.)

Past Chair, John Webster, director natural gas division of Hutchinson Utilities Commission (Minn.)

Executive Committee Delegate Jamie Kiely, senior director distribution operations of Evergy (Mo.)

Executive Committee Delegate, Mark Johnson, director of SEMI gas operations of DTE Energy (Mich.)


Directors (listed by surname):

Salvador Arana, director field operations of WEC Energy Group – North Shore Gas (Ill.)

Rich Asiyanbi, vice president operations of Nicor Gas – Southern Company Gas (Ill.)

Mike Beatty, vice president, of Liberty Utilities (Mo.)     

Nancy Conder, director of safety management system and quality of CenterPoint Energy (Ind.)

James Conway, vice president, smart meter operations, ComEd, an Exelon Company (Ill.) 

Lauren Gilliland, senior director of operations of Xcel Energy (Colo.)   

John Guy, vice president, electric delivery of MidAmerican Energy Company (Iowa)  

Bill Herdegen, vice president operations of Henkels & McCoy (Ill.)   

Erin Inman, president & CEO of Primera Engineers (Ill.)    

Keith Johnson, executive vice president/business unit leader – utilities of EN Engineering (Md.)

Elizabeth Jost, director, Wisconsin gas operations of WEC Energy Group (Wis.)  

Scott Kranstuber, vice president of sales & marketing, SENSIT Technologies (Ind.)  

Steve Mills, vice president & general manager – Missouri West of Spire (Mo.)

Keith Moyle, chief operating officer of Upper Peninsula Power Company (Mich.)  

Keith Napier, director of customer field operations, Duke Energy (N.C.)   

Mike Nelson, president of Nelson Technologies, Inc. (Minn.)     

Bobbi Schroeppel, vice president, customer care, communications, & human resources of NorthWestern Energy (S.D.)

Chris Shellberg, executive director of fleet & facilities of Consumers Energy Company (Mich.)

Mike Shruba, vice president of transmission & distribution of AES Indiana (Ind.) 

Christe Singleton, regional vice president, gas operations of CenterPoint Energy (Minn.)  

Dave Walter, vice president, power delivery of NiSource (Ind.)    


For more information about MEA, board of directors, or committees, please visit


About MEA

MEA serves the people that deliver electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses. We were founded as a trade association in 1905 by distribution utilities whose vision was to improve safety and efficiency. Today, we fulfill the same purpose through education, leadership development, and industry connections. Energy delivery companies, contractors, and suppliers around the country benefit from our summits, roundtables, and webinars, 400+ online technical courses, safety assessments, evaluator training, operator qualification compliance tools, and leadership courses for field personnel.