Executive Team

Golden Spread Electric Cooperative’s executive team consists of professionals with a vast amount of experience in all facets of the utility industry.

Mark Schwirtz

President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Schwirtz joined Golden Spread in December 2008 as the President and CEO and has 34 years of electric utility experience. Mr. Schwirtz currently serves on the following Boards: Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, Inc. the ACES Board and was recently elected as an Officer as well as an Alternate to the ERCOT Board of Directors. Before Golden Spread, Mr. Schwirtz was the CEO, General Manager of Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc. of Marana, Arizona, and a Member of the Board of Directors of Southwest Transmission Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Benson, Arizona. Previously, Mr. Schwirtz served as Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Benson, Arizona, and as President of Consumers United for Rail Equity, the Western Coal Traffic League, and Western Energy Supply and Transmission Associates. Mr. Schwirtz has also testified numerous times on fuel and other utility issues before Federal and State regulatory bodies as well as Congress. He has extensive experience in power supply planning, environmental permitting and electric utility operations and management and is the author of several environmental publications. Mr. Schwirtz holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Texas A&M University and was a Commissioned Officer in the United States Naval Reserve.

Bill Harrelson

Chief Legal and Compliance Officer

Mr. Harrelson joined Golden Spread in the Spring of 2012 as Associate General Counsel. Mr. Harrelson was selected Chief Legal Officer in July, 2016 and Chief Compliance Officer in August, 2019. Bill is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law with over 35 years of legal experience. After serving as General Counsel to the Missouri Public Service Commission, Bill handled major regulatory proceedings before the Texas Public Utility Commission for an investor-owned electric utility. Bill went on to represent former telecommunication giant, MCI, as Senior Counsel for Regulatory Affairs in the Western Region, leading MCI’s strategic regulatory initiatives and litigation before the California PUC and other commissions in the West, as well as negotiating and arbitrating complex interconnection agreements with AT&T and Verizon. In private practice, Bill handled regulatory, court and appellate proceedings for several corporate clients, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Intellectual Property Law, with Honors.

Scott Gross

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Gross joined Golden Spread in March 2013 and has over 30 years of finance, accounting, and management experience. As the Chief Financial Officer, he is responsible for upholding strong financial management and accountability while providing timely, accurate, and reliable financial information and enhancing internal control. Prior to joining Golden Spread, Mr. Gross served as the Director of Accounting and Finance for Power Plant Management Services, LLC where he managed several special purpose entities that own independent power projects. Among his significant previous positions, Mr. Gross also served as Vice President for Quixx Corporation, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, and as Senior Financial Analyst for Southwestern Public Service Company, an investor-owned utility. Mr. Gross as extensive knowledge in financial analytics, accounting management, merger & acquisition activities, asset acquisitions & divestures, negotiating transactions, manage a portfolio of power projects, and business development. Mr. Gross holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from West Texas A&M University and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Texas. He is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Peg Rupert

Chief Strategy and Information Officer

Ms. Margaret (Peg) Rupert PMP, serves as the Chief Strategy and Information Officer at Golden Spread Electric Cooperative of Amarillo, Texas, and has over 23 years of utility industry experience. Peg is a leader in IT and business strategy, business process improvement, change enablement, and project and program management. Peg started her career with a “big 5” consulting organization where she worked for 10 years delivering multi-million dollar transformational programs for Fortune 500 companies, including many of the country’s largest utilities. In 2004 she joined the team at one of the nation’s largest electric and gas companies as a technology executive. Throughout her career she has held a series of increasingly responsible positions and a variety of roles such as application programming, methodology development, strategic planning, program management for merger and acquisition integration, and as a technology application executive responsible for development and operations of 400 systems and team of over 200 members. Since joining Golden Spread as the CIO in 2013, she has centered on creating the technology competency necessary to support a growing company, with a focus on building a business results-based technology strategy. Leading her team through a time of significant changed, Peg’s current challenges include guiding the cooperative through its first formal strategic planning evolution, integrating Golden Spread’s strategic planning processes, developing a NERC CIP-compliant cyber security program, and rolling out a cooperative-wide ERP solution.

John Eichelmann

VP, Member Services and Power Delivery

Mr. Eichelmann joined Golden Spread as Director, Member Rates and Technical Services in April, 2013. Mr. Eichelmann’s primary focus is identifying and serving Member needs including rate, regulatory and technical services that Golden Spread provides to its Members. Prior to becoming an employee, Mr. Eichelmann served Southwestern Public Service Company/Xcel Energy for nearly 21 years. He began his career in the rate department where he was responsible for performing cost of service models, testifying in rate cases, and responding to rule makings. This experience led him into origination being responsible for making wholesale sales in the southwest United States. Ultimately, Mr. Eichelmann moved into Wholesale Account Management responsible for SPS’s long term wholesale contracts. Mr. Eichelmann holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in Economics from New Mexico State University. The Master of Arts degree included an emphasis on public utility regulation and pricing. He currently serves on the Board of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO).

Michelle Blackmore

VP, Human Resources

Ms. Blackmore joined Golden Spread in December 2012 and has 16 years of experience leading HR and Organizational Development initiatives. In her role at Golden Spread, Ms. Blackmore is helping to accelerate Golden Spread’s transformation through leadership and building and sustaining a high performance culture. Ms. Blackmore has had extensive experience leading organizational transformations both at the function and organizational level. Prior to her current role, she was HR Manager for Tait Communications where she led the HR function for the North American operations. Previously, Ms. Blackmore served as HR Business Partner and Account Manager for ADP TotalSource, and Organizational Development Team Leader for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ms. Blackmore began her HR career as Employee Services Manager for 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma. Ms. Blackmore earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University, a Masters degree in Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management, and earned a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) certification from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Kari Hollandsworth

VP, Commercial and Asset Operations

Ms. Hollandsworth joined Golden Spread as employee number fourteen in August 2009 as an Energy Analyst. Ms. Hollandsworth has more than 20 years utility experience including asset management, business development, resource planning, finance and risk management. During her tenure at Golden Spread, Ms. Hollandsworth served as Resource Planning Administrator, Manager of Electric Trading, Manager of Finance & Financial Forecasting and Director of Finance & Risk. She was instrumental in generation planning & technology selection during Golden Spread’s extensive generation capital expansion period. As Vice President of Commercial and Asset Operations, Ms. Hollandsworth is currently responsible for Market Operations and Power Supply activities ensuring that initiatives and operations are in alignment with the strategic direction as outlined by the Board of Directors of the cooperative. Prior to joining GSEC Ms. Hollandsworth worked for an investor owned utility and an independent power producer. In her youth, Ms. Hollandsworth also served as a distribution cooperative meter reader in rural Montana. Ms. Hollandsworth holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Management from Cornell University.