Prairie Profiles: Jim Krueger

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A change is upon electric cooperatives that will bring them into the world of renewable energy, and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services President and CEO Jim Krueger said he is excited to be a part of that change.

“Certainly in today’s energy environment there are a lot of challenges,” he said. “To be part of that change is exciting to me.”

Krueger, an Austin resident, began at Freeborn-Mower in January 2005 as the CFO, but was named president and CEO March 31 after Tim Thompson vacated the position. Thompson announced in November 2007 his move to CEO of the Lake Region Electric Cooperative in Pelican Rapids, at which time Krueger served as interim manager.

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After the Freeborn-Mower Board of Directors went through a nationwide search process it decided on Krueger.

“It really was natural,” he said. “I always wanted to be a cooperative supervisor, and I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”

Before coming to Freeborn-Mower, Krueger spent 10 years as an auditor and certified public accountant for LarsonAllen CPAs in Austin. Through that position, he spent days at a time in electric cooperatives during the auditing process, which created an interest in the industry for him, he said.

“It’s an interesting line of work in a challenging field,” Krueger said. “They always seem to be good working environments.”

Now that he has his dream position, he said he enjoys interacting with members, which he gets to do more as a CEO than when he was a CFO. Plus, he said, every day is a new challenge and something different.

In today’s energy world, he said, there is a trend toward renewables and conserving energy.

“We’re part of that change,” Krueger said.

Freeborn-Mower can help focus energy conservation and promote the wise use of energy, he said. The company just recently added “environmental stewardship,” according to Krueger, to its strategic plan and objectives.

Soon Freeborn-Mower could come out with programs focusing on energy conservation, he said.

As the leader of an energy cooperative, Krueger said he wants to continue the history of providing affordable energy to its members, though the affordable part could become more challenging.

When he is not working, Krueger enjoys golfing and spending time with his family. He grew up in Byron, just outside of Rochester, and graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a degree in accounting.

Krueger has lived in Austin since 1994, which is where he moved right out of college.

Age: 37

Address: Rural Austin

Livelihood: President and CEO of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services

Family: wife, Angie, of seven years; 4-year-old daughter, Samantha and 8-month old son, Elijah

Interesting fact: Krueger experienced Disney World for the first time this spring when he took his family. He said he enjoyed seeing his daughter react to Cinderella’s Castle and meeting Mickey Mouse.

His No. 1 sport is golfing, he said, but he also enjoys football as a Vikings fan and likes to camp. Krueger serves on the supervisory committee for Accentra Credit Union and on the Development Corporation of Austin — similar to the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.

An advantage to having grown up in southeastern Minnesota, he said, is that he’s rooted in the community for a while and knows the culture.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

Freeborn-Mower is a distribution-only energy cooperative with 5,300 members serving 6,000 meters. It has 32 employees and 9 linemen.