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Co-op News

October 30, 2017 

UDWI REMC Names Douglas Childs as New CEO

The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC has named Douglas Childs as its new Chief Executive Officer. The UDWI REMC Board of Directors released Child’s name after a robust national search process to fill the CEO position.

Childs brings to UDWI REMC more than 32 years of experience including over 22 years working with municipal utilities for the City of Hamilton, Ohio’s Department of Public Utilities. His experience includes utility financial management, power supply planning, operations and safety, capital budgeting, rate planning and personnel management.

In his current position as Energy Management Administrator for the City of Hamilton, Childs plans and manages the City’s power and natural gas supply as well as the area’s largest renewable electric generation portfolio. He also manages all bond financing, debt compliance and regulatory compliance. Previously, he served as the Director of Public Utilities for Hamilton, managing 235 employees and an Operations & Maintenance and Capital budget in excess of $300,000,000.

Childs was named to the American Municipal Power Board of Directors in 2013 and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Prior to moving to the utility industry in Hamilton, he was named administrator of the year during his time as a Financial and Investment Analyst for Northern Kentucky University. He is a native of Hamilton, Ohio and received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from Miami University.

“We could not be happier to welcome Doug to UDWI. His solid energy background and expertise in finance and planning will serve our members, the employees, and the Board well,” said UDWI REMC Board President Ron Thompson. “We were so impressed with Doug through the entire interview process—he is a communicator and a leader, and we are looking forward to working with him to move the cooperative forward.”

Childs will assume the CEO role on Nov. 20, taking over for Dan Arnold who has served as interim CEO since July. “We cannot begin to thank Dan enough for his work during the past few months, his leadership and steady guidance have been invaluable to our Board and employees,” added Thompson.

As CEO, Childs will advise and assist the Board of Directors in the development of strategy, policies, budgets and contracts. He will also oversee the day-to-day operations, foster member relations, and ensure that the activities and operations of the cooperative are conducted in accordance with the bylaws, policies, mission and goals.

“I’m honored by the Board’s decision to select me as the next CEO of UDWI, and I want to thank everyone who has been so welcoming to me and my wife, Patricia,” said Childs. “I am excited to begin working with the dedicated staff and the Board to serve the members of UDWI. My immediate focus is to ensure that we are providing the best service and making the best operational decisions for UDWI. I look forward to becoming part of this community and beginning a new chapter with the cooperative.”


October 23, 2017 

The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC is moving into the final phase of selecting a Chief Executive Officer for the Cooperative.

During the past two months, the UDWI REMC Board of Directors received more than 70 applications from candidates around the country to fill the leadership role. After reviewing the applicants from a wide variety of industries, including both private and public sector backgrounds, the Board selected a group of around 15 candidates to proceed to phone and video interviews.

Candidates also completed a skills and personality assessment to further validate that they possess the necessary characteristics to lead the Cooperative and conduct day-to-day operations with a “members first” mentality. The field has now been narrowed to three final candidates, who were each interviewed by the Board in-person at UDWI.

“This process has been extremely thorough and we’ve taken the time to make sure the Board has the information we need to evaluate the applicants. We have been impressed with each of the people that were part of the final round of interviews, and feel very confident that we will be able to name a new CEO soon,” said UDWI Board President Ronald Thompson.

August 25, 2017

The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC Board of Directors released today the report from Phase Two of the internal control audit, performed by the independent firm Blue & Co.

The audit was conducted in two phases; Phase One reviewed detailed financial and accounting information as well as budget and operational activities at a staff and management level, and those findings were used by the auditors to make the recommendations provided in Phase Two, which reviewed UDWI’s board governance and accounting policies and procedures.

The auditors reviewed UDWI’s processes for business functions, and compared them to best practices for organizations similar to the cooperative in an effort to identify ways to strengthen the organization.

The report includes recommendations ranging from vendor selection, staff purchasing limits, paid time off, and proper documentation of credit card and cash purchases to budget review and check cashing procedures.

UDWI Board of Directors initiated the audit partly in response to members’ concerns on the cooperative’s day-to-day business operations.

“We have listened to our members’ concerns and will use the audit findings to make sure that the way UDWI functions is in the best interest of our members,” said UDWI Board President Ron Thompson. “Some of the recommendations identified in the audit, such as a more stringent review of the budget and board oversight for vendor payments, are already underway, and we will continue to implement new policies that will make our cooperative stronger.”

The UDWI Board is committed to addressing each area of the audit and will work with staff to improve and enforce policies and procedures. Members will continue to receive updates on how the cooperative is improving and strengthening operations. 

Phase Two of the audit report is now available to members.  Please click here to view.  Also find UDWI's response to the audit on pages 12-20.


August 11, 2017

The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC is seeking member input through an online survey to assist in the search for a new chief executive officer.

Survey questions address qualities, experience and competencies desired in a CEO candidate.  Upon conclusion, results will be compiled and considered by the Board of Directors as it progresses with its interview and decision-making processes.

“We encourage all members to let their voices be heard by taking part in the survey.  We hope to receive as many survey responses as possible.  The cooperative wants to hear our members’ ideas, concerns and comments,” said UDWI REMC Board President Ronald Thompson.

As a member-owned electric cooperative, UDWI REMC adheres to the principle of “democratic member control” to provide part of the framework for the way the cooperative, its members, and the community to work together.  This principle exists to ensure all members have a voice in their local cooperative, and completing the survey is one way to allow members to provide input and offer new ideas.

Members can find the survey link on the UDWI website at and need to have their account number on hand to complete the survey.  The survey period will close on August 22, 2017.  A written copy of the survey is also available from the UDWI office in Bloomfield.


August 2, 2017

As the Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC moves forward in the process of selecting a full-time CEO, UDWI members have the opportunity to take an active role in the process by providing their input in an online survey.

“UDWI REMC is an electric cooperative, and the UDWI Board of Directors believes members should have a voice in how their cooperative is run and who runs it,” explained UDWI Board President Ronald Thompson. “As we prepare to select a CEO who will lead us into the future, we value our members’ input.”

The survey link is now available on the UDWI REMC website at Members who do not have internet access may complete the survey at the cooperative or contact the UDWI REMC office for additional assistance. The survey will remain open until Aug. 22, 2017.   

Prior to interviewing candidates, the electric cooperative will implement a two-prong information-gathering process, a behavioral assessment combined with a targeted selection aspect. The UDWI Board will use a behavioral assessment tool to measure a candidate’s performance against the needs of the cooperative. Targeted selection will gather input directly from the members by means of the online survey. Survey questions address qualities, experience and competencies desired in a candidate. Upon conclusion, results will be compiled and considered by the Board of Directors as it progresses with its interview and decision-making processes. 

 “We are forging ahead into the future with a continued commitment to serving our members by ensuring that we understand their needs,” Thompson said. “We want to keep the lines of communication open, and we encourage our members to take an active role in their cooperative.”


July 19, 2017

The UDWI Board of Directors has named Dan Arnold to serve as interim CEO. 

Arnold is a veteran REMC employee with 42 years of experience. He served in a number of management positions and eventually as CEO during his 18 years with Johnson County, and then as CEO of Orange County REMC for 24 years before retiring in 2015.

Under Board direction, Arnold will run day-to-day operations for UDWI, and provide leadership, advice and assistance to the employees while the Board conducts the search for a permanent CEO. 

The Board is working to identify possible candidates to serve as the new CEO, and will work with a facilitator to assist in the selection process during the next few months. 

The Board also wants to hear from the members during the search for the future CEO. Beginning in August, members can complete a survey that will provide input to the Board about which qualities and career experiences are most important for the new CEO. We will notify members when the survey period begins and how they can participate.


June 30, 2017

The UDWI REMC Board of Directors met Thursday and voted to terminate the employment of Chief Executive Officer Brian Sparks.

Upon our review of the information from the internal audit, and after much thoughtful deliberation, we determined that Mr. Sparks did not fulfill management expectations for UDWI. Mr. Sparks is relieved of all duties and responsibilities effective immediately.  A search for a new CEO will begin immediately.

In the coming weeks, our members will receive a summary report from the audit, which will be followed by actions the Board will take to strengthen our cooperative. The findings of the audit did not reveal any specific problems or incorrect information on our members’ accounts or bills. Information from the audit pertaining to individual staff members will not be released based on UDWI employment policies.

We will continue to provide updates to our members as they become available, but at this time, the Board will provide no additional comments on the audit or the termination of Mr. Sparks.


June 20, 2017

The UDWI Board of Directors remains committed to keeping our members informed on the activities taking place at UDWI. Since our last update, the staff have been working diligently to provide the auditors with all necessary information for the thorough evaluation of the financial records of the organization.

The independent accounting firm, Blue & Co., has informed us that the audit is progressing as planned, and that we can expect them to provide information to the Board in the coming weeks.

When the audit has been completed our members will receive a report on the findings and recommendations, which we will make available on our website. After the results have been evaluated, we will also share how UDWI will incorporate the audit’s recommendations into the operations of the cooperative.

As we reported last month, a separate federal investigation is also underway. The Board and leadership continue to cooperate fully with this investigation. We understand that our members have questions about the investigation, but should any information on the findings be released it would be through agencies leading the investigation and not UDWI. 

UDWI Executive Officer Brian Sparks remains on a paid leave of absence. Michael Chapman and Shane Smith continue to serve as interim CEOs.

We also want to thank our members, and the community, for their continued support and interest in UDWI. We will provide additional information to you as it becomes available. 

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