Co-op Staff

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General Manager/CEO


Thomas Cheek began his utility career, with the Cooperative, in 1997 as a Staking Technician. While at HILCO Electric, Thomas has worked in the Operations and Engineering Department throughout his tenure. Most recently as VP of Operations, where he oversaw HILCOʼs lineman and engineering staff along with overhead, underground, and right-of-way contractors. In 2020, Thomas was promoted to the General Manager/CEO.

Thomas is the 8th General Manager since the Cooperative was established in 1937. He comes at a time when...

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Chief Financial Officer


Paula is a graduate of Itasca High School and 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 Hill...


Chief Human Resources Officer


Lea Sanders has worked in the electric utility industry since 2000 and with HILCO Electric Cooperative for over 19 years. She has served in a variety of capacities with HILCO and is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of talent management including recruitment, training and development, and benefits administration. Additionally, she is responsible for strategic initiatives of the cooperative and its subsidiary, HILCO United Services, Inc.


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Chief Operating Officer

Danny Taylor serves as the Chief Operating Officer 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 Manager of Special Equipment where he oversaw HILCO Special Equipment, GIS Mapping staff, and Internet Services for all locations. In 2020, Danny was promoted to his current position of Chief Operating Officer...

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Director of Marketing


Kendra Markwardt began her career with HILCO in 2007, within 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....

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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...