Co-op Staff

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General Manager/CEO


Debra Cole has over 35 years in the utility business. In 1978, Ms. Cole began her utility career with Texas Electric Service Company in the Fort Worth office, as a Customer Service Clerk. After 2 years, she was transferred into the Credit Department, as a lead representative. After relocating to Itasca in 1983 Ms. Cole left her position with TESCO after a year of commuting in hopes of obtaining employment with HILCO. Ms. Cole began work for HILCO, then Hill County Electric Cooperative, in 1984.

Ms. Cole previously...

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Vice-President of Operations


Thomas Cheek began his utility career, with the Cooperative, in 1997 as an Engineering Technician. While at HILCO Electric, Thomas has held the positions of Economic Development Manager, in 2003, the Assistant Director of Engineering, in 2007 and the Director of Operations/Engineering, in 2010. In 2014, he was promoted to his current position as the Assistant General Manager of Operations where he oversees HILCO’s lineman and engineering staff along with overhead, underground and right-of-way contractors.


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Vice-President of Administration


Paula is a graduate of Itasca High School and of Hill College in Hillsboro. She finished college at Tarleton State University, where she graduated Summa cum Laude in 2000 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. She earned her Certified Public Accountant license in February 2006 and was designated as a Chartered Global Management Accountant in 2012.

Paula served as the City Clerk for the City of Itasca for five years. She left that position to become a Deputy District Clerk for the...


Director of Strategic Initiatives


Lea Sanders has worked in the electric utility industry since 2000 and with HILCO Electric Cooperative for over 15 years. She has served in a variety of capacities with HILCO and is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Lea graduated Texas A&M University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics and in 1997, she received her Master of Business Administration in Management from the University of North Texas. In 2001, Lea obtained her Professional Human Resources designation...

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Director of IS and IT


Matt Fehnel serves as the Director of Information Services and Technology for HILCO Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Since joining HILCO in 2001, Matt Fehnel has been instrumental in updating information technology systems and implementing new communications programs at the cooperative. Matt graduated from Baylor University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He worked for two national corporations and brought 13-years’ experience in the IT industry to his position at HILCO.

An Itasca native, Matt is active...

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Director of Marketing


Kendra Markwardt began her career with HILCO in 2007, in the I.T. Department. In 2014 Kendra was promoted to Director of Marketing.

Kendra has been involved with and taken the lead on programs relating to the Pre-Pay Meter program, Outage Management Program, Paperless work order program, Online billing and other new technology programs offered by HILCO.

Kendra and her husband, Eric, live in Itasca and have two children. She enjoys spending time with family, photography and being outdoors. She is...

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Manager of Special Equipment

Danny Taylor serves as the Manager of Special Equipment for HILCO Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Danny started his career with HILCO in 2012 as a Communication Technician. Danny brought over ten years’ experience in the IT industry to his position, and was also part of the team that designed, built, and implemented the entire wireless communication.

In 2014, he was promoted to his current position as the Manager of Special Equipment where he oversees HILCO Special Equipment, GIS Mapping staff, and Internet Services for all locations. These two departments are responsible for SCADA...