DMEA, a nonprofit electric distribution cooperative, is governed by a nine-member board, and three board seats are up for election, every year.
Running for the District 1 seat are Virgil Turner and Bill Patterson. Incumbent Ken Norris is term-limited.
Turner came to Montrose in 1984 with his employer, Best Manufacturing. He spent his early career in the private sector as both a business owner and manager, but in 1988, became an officer with the Montrose Police Department. He later advanced to the information technology department, and is now the administrative services director for the City of Montrose. His duties include energy management for municipal facilities, said Turner. Turner also organized Sustain Montrose and served as co-chairman for Focus On Resource Efficiency (FORE Alliance).
Patterson graduated from Ohio State with a master's in mechanical engineering. After working as welder, consultant and chief engineer, he decided to go into business for himself and started TEI Rock Drills, the Montrose-based manufacturer of rock drills that are sold around the world.
The company has become a major employer in Montrose, which requires fiscal responsibility and close financial management to maintain success, Patterson said.
Patterson has also served as Montrose County commissioner and city mayor.
In District 2, incumbent Brent Hines faces challengers Kay Heinschel and Tammy Theis.
Hines farms in Delta and Montrose counties, raising onions, sweet corn, beans, wheat and alfalfa. With his father, he operates an onion-sorting facility that sort and ships about 13.5 million pounds of locally grown onions a year.
Hines has served on several organizational committees, and as an owner of a large facility, he said he understands the importance of affordable and reliable power.
Heinschel is a Colorado native and University of Wyoming graduate, who began his mechanical engineering career in Denver, has worked in coal-plant development, and has been involved in the engineering, design and construction of 15 hydrogen plants.
Heinschel said he recognizes the value of alternative energy, and has built two houses that rely heavily on passive solar technology and energy efficiency.
Theis also is a Colorado native. For 35 years, she worked as a staking engineer for DMEA, until just recently, when she left that position to run for the DMEA board.
Theis said she set out to achieve her political goals four years ago, after being inspired by her community service roles that included president of Western Colorado Trades and Labor, and vice-president and political education chair of the local union of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Incumbent Marshell Collins is unchallenged for the District 5 seat.
There will be two opportunities for DMEA members to meet the candidates, both facilitated by The League of Women Voters of Montrose County.
• On Tuesday, May 8, a candidate forum takes place, from noon to 1 p.m., at the Orchard City Town Hall Community Room, 9661 21.00 Road in Austin.
• On Wednesday, May 16, a candidate forum takes place, from 6 to 7 p.m., at DMEA's Montrose office, 11925 63.00 Road.
There will be light refreshments at both events.
DMEA will mail ballots and a summary of each candidate's background, starting May 21. Only members who have had electrical service through DMEA as of April 30, 2012, are eligible to vote.
Ballots must be returned by mail to DMEA's election credentials committee no later than June 13. Members also can vote in person at DMEA's annual meeting at the Montrose Pavilion on June 14, from 8 to 9 a.m. Members who attend that meeting also will be eligible to win door prizes, but RSVPs are required; call 970/240-1273 or toll-free at 877/687-3632, extension 273.