Senior Leaders

NRECA's leadership team

Jim Matheson, Chief Executive Officer

NRECA staff portraits -- NRECA's newly announced CEO Jim Matheson outside the NRECA headquarters building in Arlington, Va., June 13, 2016.

Jim Matheson is chief executive officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states. Jim joined NRECA in July 2016 following distinguished careers in both the public and private sectors.

Prior to joining NRECA, Jim served as principal, public policy practice for the international law firm Squire Patton Boggs based in Washington, D.C.

From 2001 to 2015, Jim was elected to serve as a U.S. Representative from Utah for seven terms. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Jim was known as a legislator who was able to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

He was chief deputy whip for the House Democratic Caucus and served as co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition. Jim also was a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Financial Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science Committees.

Prior to entering government service, Jim worked in the energy industry for several years.

Jim was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard University and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from UCLA. Jim’s wife, Amy, is a pediatrician, and they have two sons, William and Harris.

Jeffrey Connor

Jeffrey Connor serves as NRECA’s chief operating officer. With a background in public policy, communication, politics and coalition building, he brings 14 years of experience on Capitol Hill to NRECA.

In Congress, Jeffrey served as communications director and chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) from 2003 to 2013, when he joined NRECA. Previously, he worked as communications director for U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.).

Jeffrey was also an associate staff member of the House Committee on Appropriations, where he guided the work of the Subcommittee on Financial Services for Chairwoman Emerson following the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. He also helped expand the reach of several non-partisan policy caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He is a native Nebraskan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. Jeffrey resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Emily, and their two children.

Jana Adams

As executive director of Touchstone Energy ® Cooperatives, Jana Adams focuses on providing strategic leadership and enhancing brand equity for the organization. Jana is dedicated to building upon the brand’s strong relationships with the more than 700 cooperative members to promote and expand the Best in Class service that their consumer-members expect.
With more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience, Jana has led membership, marketing and conference development for associations representing wind energy, cosmetics, and public power utilities as well as serving on the communications staff at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Jana is a graduate of Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in international trade and George Mason University with a Master of Public Administration concentrating on nonprofit management.

Peter BaxterPeter Baxter is senior vice president of insurance and financial services. He has overall responsibility for the multiple-employer defined benefit, defined contribution and health and wellness programs offered to member cooperatives representing more than $20 billion in qualified plan assets and covering over 100,000 employees and their dependents across the country. Peter has more than 35 years of experience in the employee benefits, group insurance and financial services industries.

Prior to joining NRECA, he held a variety of leadership positions in not-for-profit, privately held and public firms, including Mutual of America Life Insurance Co., Financial Institutions Retirement Fund, American Century Investments and EDS. He has also worked for leading employee benefit consulting firms Buck Consultants and Towers Perrin. At these firms, Peter’s responsibilities included executive leadership, market strategy, product design and development, administrative operations, vendor management and service delivery. He also has extensive experience in the use of technology and industry best practices to enhance business processes, customer service and program administration.

Peter is a graduate of the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and the Executive and Policy Advisory Boards of the American Benefits Council (ABC) in Washington, D.C. He is also president of the Electric Cooperative Life Insurance Co. (ELCO), Cooperative Benefit Administrators Inc. (CBA) and Cooperating Insurance Services Inc. (CIS).

D. Scott Barash is NRECA’s senior vice president and general counsel. Prior to joining NRECA, Scott was general counsel for District of Columbia Public Schools. Before joining DCPS in 2015, Scott was general counsel for the University of the District of Columbia.

From 1999 to 2014, Scott was a senior executive at the Universal Service Administrative Co., the not-for-profit corporation that administers the multibillion-dollar federal programs that provide support for affordable telecommunications and broadband services to Americans living in rural areas, low-income consumers (through the Lifeline Program), rural health care providers, and schools and libraries (through the E-rate program). Scott joined USAC as its first general counsel in 1999 and served in that capacity until 2005, when he assumed CEO responsibilities.

Before USAC, Scott was a partner in the national law firm of Jenner & Block and served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  He began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable R. Lanier Anderson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Scott received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.  He lives in D.C. and is married to Gayle Wald, who is a professor of American studies at George Washington University Law School. They have a teenage son.

Louis FinkelLouis Finkel is NRECA’s senior vice president of government relations. He leads the association’s advocacy and public policy programs, including legislative and regulatory affairs, grassroots mobilization and political engagement.

Louis has more than 25 years of experience in policy and public affairs strategy in government and in the private sector. Before joining NRECA, he held leadership roles in government and public affairs as an executive at CVS Health Corporation, the American Petroleum Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. He also has represented corporate and not-for-profit interests in Congress and executive branch agencies as a government relations consultant.

Louis served as chief of staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology and as legislative director to former Rep. Bart Gordon. D-Tenn.

He is a graduate of The George Washington University and lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Stacey, and their two sons.

Digna LouisDigna Louis serves as NRECA’s chief financial officer. With over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting, she has led many large-scale transformations across the integration of finance and technology and accounting operations. Prior to joining NRECA, Digna held a variety of leadership positions with the most recent as vice president and global head of finance strategy and solutions at Expedia Group Inc., an online travel company. She has served as senior vice president of finance and accounting at Comscore, a media measurement and analytics company, and during her 11 years at Fannie Mae, she served in several leadership roles, including vice president of finance transformation, where she modernized the major finance systems and processes of the organization.

Digna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Economics from the University of the West Indies and her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Houston.

Wayne McGurkWayne F. McGurk serves as NRECA’s chief information officer and senior vice president of information technology. As NRECA’s CIO, he is responsible for shaping the association’s technology vision and leadership as he oversees NRECA’s enterprise-wide information technology program.

Before joining NRECA, McGurk was executive vice president and CIO at MoneyGram International. Prior to MoneyGram, McGurk held various IT leadership and management roles in global retail, software, financial services and IT consulting companies. He has more than 15 years of IT experience and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor of science in engineering.

Mary Pat ParisIn her role as vice president of administration, Mary Pat Paris heads up building operations, meeting and event planning and membership. She has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of trade associations and professional societies.

Mary Pat led NRECA’s membership department for nine years before leaving to become the CEO of the International Registration Plan, a non-profit that supports the trucking industry. In 2013, she returned to NRECA to head up the Membership Department and soon assumed the duties of building operations and business development. In addition, Mary Pat supports NRECA’s Member Engagement and Service Excellence strategic initiatives.

Mary Pat is a graduate of Washington Adventist University with a degree in organizational development and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.

Dan WaddleAs senior vice president of communications, Scott Peterson is responsible for the overall direction of NRECA’s public relations and branding, national media outreach, publications, audio visual, annual and regional meetings and special services.

Before joining NRECA, Scott was senior vice president for communications at the Nuclear Energy Institute and part of its executive leadership team from 2001 to 2016. He led the development of the industry’s communications and advocacy strategy, significantly improving the perception of nuclear energy among federal and state policymakers and opinion leaders.

In 2011, Scott directed an award-winning rapid response and sustained crisis communication strategy after the reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan. NEI received the Global SABRE Award for best global association public relations campaign and the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil for best crisis communications strategy in recognition of this work.

Before NEI, Scott was the communications manager at the American Nuclear Energy Council and handled media relations at Illinois Power. He also was a journalist for seven years at newspapers in three states.

Scott has a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed the Reactor Technology Program for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Erin Pressley is NRECA’s senior vice president for education, training and events. Prior to joining NRECA, Erin served for 15 years as vice president of media and education at NACS, the association that represents the global convenience store industry, where she was a member of the association’s executive leadership team. She has also served in several sales, media and communications roles during her career, leading the development of business strategies and managing content development across many communications platforms.

Erin received her B.S. in English from the University of Mary Washington, her M.A. in English from George Mason University, and has attended executive education programs at Cornell, Yale, MIT, the Kellogg School of Management and the Wharton School of Business. She is a founding board member of Professionals for Association Revenue and is a member of Chief, a private member network focused on supporting women executive leaders. Erin is also a certified association executive through the American Society of Association Executives.

She and her husband live in Alexandria, VA, with their daughter Madeline.

Michele Rinn is NRECA’s senior vice president of human resources. She leads the development and implementation of talent management and rewards programs to ensure NRECA attracts, develops and retains top talent to achieve the association’s strategic priorities and serve the nation’s electric cooperatives. Those responsibilities include recruitment, training and development, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and member workforce programs.

Michele has more than 25 years of experience in human resources and started her career at the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). Prior to joining NRECA, Michele has led human resources departments at several national trade associations and professional societies. She also has headed other corporate services functions, including IT, facilities, creative services and general membership.

Michele has a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from Marymount University. She has earned professional certifications from the Society for Human Resources and the American Society of Association Executives and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources.

Mark Santero is President and CEO of NRECA’s investment management subsidiary, RE Advisers. He also was elected CEO of Homestead Funds, the mutual fund company created by NRECA, by the investment vehicle’s board of directors.

Santero brings more than 30 years of experience in investment management to RE Advisers. Most recently, he was the CEO at Dreyfus Corporation, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon Investment Management. He was chief operating officer of BNY, where he oversaw the legal, administration and technology departments and a staff of more than 500 professionals in intermediary sales, institutional sales, operations and investments.

He also served as head of distribution operations at OppenheimerFunds, where he was responsible for strategic planning and budgeting, client service, sales operations, distribution technology, event planning and sales data science capabilities. Before that, he oversaw the Global Investment Division of Ivy Asset Management.

Angela Strickland is NRECA’s senior vice president of Business and Technology Strategies. BTS provides valuable research, collaboration and resources to help electric cooperatives successfully operate, optimize and transform their systems and relationships with consumer-members and works with service members and associate members on joint solutions for cooperatives and industry leadership.

Angela has more than 25 years in the energy industry and most recently served as managing director at GDS Associates, where she led the group’s work on advanced energy roadmaps, sustainability and electric transportation strategy. She also collaborated on strategy and new market opportunities for ICF’s smart communities and innovation initiatives. Prior to her consulting roles, Strickland was Energy Innovation Center Product Development director at Southern Company and held leadership positions at Gulf Power and Georgia Power. Angela received her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee and her Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University. She holds a professional engineer license.

In her role as Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Danielle Sieverling currently oversees compliance for both the Homestead Funds, Inc. (a registered investment management company), and for the multiple-employer retirement, health, and welfare programs that the Association offers to member cooperatives. Additionally, she is responsible for leading the Association’s risk management strategy.

Danielle has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of audit, risk management and compliance. She is an ASPPA Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) and an NRS Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional® (IACCP). She holds the FINRA Series 6, 26, and 63 securities licenses.

Before joining NRECA in 2000, Danielle served as assistant vice president and risk officer at State Street Bank in Kansas City, focusing on mutual fund and insurance clients. During her tenure at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, she was responsible for training and developing the audit programs for state insurance departments. Danielle received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kansas State University and her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Rockhurst University.​

Dan WaddleDan Waddle is senior vice president of NRECA International, the NRECA affiliate that promotes cooperative development and designs programs that offer access to modern electric service in developing countries. He directs programs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South Asia. The programs focus on low-cost electric service expansion through establishing and strengthening rural electric utilities using conventional and off-grid solutions.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dan is an expert in electric power supply and demand-side efficiency and in the design and implementation of renewable energy projects. He has hands-on experience in designing small and micro-hydro projects; biomass combustion and gasification for power applications; solar photovoltaic applications; and wind-diesel hybrid projects. He has managed numerous projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Dept. of Energy; the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Dan has a B.S. and M.S. in agricultural engineering and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.