Patrick F. Ledger, Chief Executive Officer
Patrick Ledger was named CEO of Arizona G&T Cooperatives in 2011. Ledger joined the cooperatives in 2002 as corporate counsel. He moved on to become senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO). He also serves as chairman of the board of ACES, AzGT’s energy management partner. Ledger earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College, and master’s and juris doctor degrees from the University of Arizona.
Division Managers Group
Eileen Brien, Director of Contract Services
Eileen Brien participates in all levels of the creation and execution of Arizona G&T Cooperatives power and transmission agreements, contracts with Members and customers, and related contract matters. Any future project acquisitions and inter-utility contracts are also her responsibility. She joined AzGT in 2013 as energy services manager, and specializes in energy billing and scheduling.
Before joining AzGT, Eileen was the smart grid program manager for Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC), a Member of AzGT. Before assuming that role, she was a financial controller for SSVEC. Prior to entering the cooperative world, Eileen managed finances and agreements for a government contractor. She also has extensive experience with the financial and regulatory requirements associated with the healthcare industry after being chief executive and financial officer for a multi-specialty medical group.
Eileen has a bachelor’s of science in accounting from New Hampshire College and a master’s of science in administrative studies from Boston University. She holds an inactive certified public accountant license.
Barry Brown, Executive Director of Engineering and Transmission Maintenance
Barry Brown was named as an executive director in 2016. He supervises transmission engineering and operations, file administration, drafting, and geographical information system services. Barry joined Arizona G&T Cooperatives in 1988, and became engineering manager for generation projects in 2007. He was named director of engineering in 2012 before his role expanded to his current duties. He has managed projects including upgrading coal handling systems; replacing cooling towers; and installing gas burning, emissions reduction and distributive control systems.
The Cooperative Research Network appointed Barry to its Member Advisory Group on Generation, Fuels, and Environment. He’s also a member of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) G&T Balance Scorecard Committee.
He earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University. While in college, Barry worked summers at the Rocky Flats nuclear facility and Los Alamos National Laboratory. After graduating, he returned to Los Alamos National Laboratory as an engineer.
Ben Engelby, General Counsel
Ben Engelby was named general counsel of AzGT in April 2019. Prior to joining us, Engelby was ACES vice president of regulatory and reliability services; he joined ACES in 2012. In addition to his general counsel duties, he is the AzGT chief compliance officer and CIP senior manager.
Ben has extensive experience in the energy industry, including bulk power operations and electric reliability organization compliance. He has served in leadership roles on several industry committees, including as executive committee member of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Compliance and Certification Committee, and a voting member of NERC Members Representative Committee.
A licensed attorney in California and an active member of the Energy Bar Association, Ben earned his juris doctor degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and his bachelor of science in business marketing from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
Michelle Freeark, Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Services
Michelle Freeark began her career with Arizona G&T Cooperatives in 2005 as an environmental planner, and moved up to manage environmental, safety and health issues and compliance. She was promoted director of environmental services in 2011. Her role expanded to executive director in 2016.
Michelle supervises the cooperatives’ Environmental, Safety, Security, Land Services, and Resource Planning Departments. Much of the environmental, safety and compliance issues handled by the division relate to air, waste and water. In addition, Michelle’s team sites and permits new transmission projects in addition to wildlife issues along our transmission lines and other properties. A big part of Michelle’s job includes monitoring and commenting on proposed federal and state environmental regulations. Michelle’s team also manages the physical security requirements of our business locations.
Michelle was appointed to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory board, the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, in 2018. The board issues reports directly to the President of the United States on identified environmental issues. She’s chairman of the environmental subcommittee of the G&T Manager’s Technical Advisory Committee, chairman of the ACE Implementation Subgroup of the NRECA Environmental Policy Council and is president of the Western Energy Supply and Transmission (WEST) Associates. She earned her bachelor’s in environmental science from Northern Arizona University.
Jon Martell, Executive Director of Energy Services
Jon Martell returned to Arizona G&T Cooperatives as executive director of energy services in 2017. Before that, he spent four years with ACES as portfolio director for the Western Regional Trading Center, where he built on WRTC’s capabilities.
Jon started his career with AEPCO in 1992 at Apache Station as a laborer. Over the next five years he was promoted up through the ranks in plant operations and capped off that time as control room operator, then moving into AEPCO’s System Control Center as a power controller. In 2001, he transferred over to AEPCO’s Power Trading Department as an hourly trader, and moved into the day-ahead trader position in 2005. In 2007, he moved into the role of transmission services manager, where he streamlined AEPCO’s Member billing process. In 2011, when AEPCO moved power trading to ACES, Jon transferred to AzGT as the energy services manager. He then joined ACES as portfolio director of WRTC in 2012. He has a degree in electronic technology.
Mike Nelson, Executive Director of Power Production
Few people have Mike Nelson’s level of experience and knowledge in managing a generating facility. Apache Generating Station operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Under Mike’s direction, Apache Station is one of the most reliable plants of its type and size in the U.S. The plant consistently earns a 97-plus percent rating.
Mike was named executive director of power production in 2016. His responsibilities include operations, mechanical, instrument and electrical maintenance; planning; regulatory affairs; and managing fuel and limestone quality. He brings his expertise to the following areas:
- Managing the plant’s generation assets
- Managing exempt, non-exempt and bargaining-unit plant personnel, including negotiating and managing labor union agreements
- Facilitating fuel and material negotiations and procurement
- Reviewing, approving and prioritizing generation-related capital projects
- Managing North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) compliance for the plant
- Blending coal, which results in higher efficiencies and fuel savings leading to lower and more stable rates, and
- Managing generating unit operations and maintenance. His team has conducted 12 successful major overhauls on a six-year cycle and 30 annual overhauls.
Mike joined Arizona G&T Cooperatives in 1977, and has worked as fuel material handler, auxiliary operator, control room operator, shift supervisor, operations manager and manager of power production.
Shane Sanders, Executive Director of System Operations
As executive director of system operations, Shane Sanders manages a team that works around the clock to ensure system reliability by monitoring and controlling all or a portion of 866 miles of transmission lines and associated substations, more than 1400 MW of system peak load, and more than 1200 MW of generation. His team works with a SCADA system that provides refreshed system data every two to four seconds and real-time operations control.
Shane began working for AzGT in 1984 at Apache Generating Station. He transferred to the Benson headquarters as a power systems controller in 1991, and moved to power trading in 1999. In 2004, Shane became systems control manager. In 2007, he was promoted to manager of system operations, where his responsibilities included the pre-schedule and transmission billing departments. In 2011, another promotion made him director of system operations. He became executive director in 2017.
Pete Scott, Chief Financial Officer
Pete Scott has been with Arizona G&T Cooperatives since December 2011. He has more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience. Before joining Arizona G&T Cooperatives, he was director of finance and human resources and assistant secretary to the board at Labcyte Inc., a biotech manufacturing company in California’s Silicon Valley. At Labcyte, he oversaw the financial operations of a worldwide technology company with subsidiaries in five countries. He helped the company raise several rounds of private equity investment, managed the financial and accounting details of two corporate mergers, and negotiated and managed numerous private lines of credit and venture debt.
Previously, he was senior manager of accounting at Picoliter Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., and accounting manager at AlphaGraphics in Tucson. He has a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College and completed his CPA coursework at the University of Arizona.
Tisha Brackeen, Member and Customer Services Liaison
Tisha Brackeen works with Arizona G&T Cooperatives management, Member cooperative staff, and other customers, assisting with new services, operational issues, and driving program and project initiatives.
Tisha began her career in the human resources area as total compensation and benefits manager in 2002. Several years later, she transitioned to support manager for the cooperatives’ integrated accounting system, SAP, and helped install and implement the software system. In 2011 the SAP department and the IT department merged and Tisha managed that newly integrated group through 2012. These positions focused on organizational and financial analysis, contract administration and process development and improvement.
Prior to joining AzGT, Tisha worked for a New Mexico municipal electric utility. She has a degree in business management.