ACE Energy Team

 

Vicki Zinyk/CEO

General Manager North Parkland Power REA

 

Vicki is an innovator who has led energy change in Alberta for decades.

She started her career with Nova Gas Transmission, one of Alberta’s first major pipeline companies. In her 18 years with Nova, she moved through all parts of the company and helped to redesign the tariff to dramatically change how Alberta transports natural gas.

When TransCanada Pipeline acquired Nova to create one of the largest pipeline companies in North America, Vicki facilitated the business transformation.

She then moved to ENMAX, which the City of Calgary owns. At the time, ENMAX did not sell natural gas products. Vicki’s role was to change that. She built and launched natural gas products and services for homes and industry. She found ways to bundle services into one single, easy bill—an approach ACE follows today.

Vicki worked long hours managing mergers and acquisitions for ENMAX, looking for business expansion opportunities. She was instrumental in the development of Alberta’s first wind farm in 1993. Engineers constructed the turbines, and Vicki marketed renewable energy. With the City of Calgary, she launched RIDE THE WIND on the CTrain. The campaign let riders know that green energy was now powering the trains.

Vicki later joined the Thorhild County to run the district’s utilities division, which included a gas co-op. Additionally, she was the CAO of the Town of Bon Accord and is now General Manager of North Parkland Power REA Ltd., an electrical co-op.

“Co-ops are a different type of investment,” she says. “The people I interact with own the company. They’re trusting us with their dollars. You work every day to make a difference and provide a service they value and, at the same time, grow their investment.”

Vicki is also the CEO of ACE.

“There is nothing like ACE,” she says. “It’s very ethical and open and delivers a highly valued standard of service. We’re not a business talking to a consumer. We’re talking to our neighbours and friends."

 

Robert (Bob) Peyton

Secretary-Treasurer Lakeland REA

Bob is an economist with a bachelor’s from the University of British Columbia and decades of experience running businesses and energy co-ops.

Bob started his career in Vancouver with the paper company, Scott. He went to Suncor and Fort McMurray as an internal consultant when oilsands production was just beginning. He worked in Churchill, Manitoba, and then joined the federal government’s Department of Supply and Service, first in Ottawa and then in Toronto as Director General for the Ontario region.

 

In 1981, he came back to Alberta to run procurement and logistics for the provincial government. He directed purchasing for all departments plus the agencies, boards and commissions, including the Workers’ Compensation Board and Liquor Control Board.

Bob retired in 1999 and moved to the Lamont area, where he became part of the Lakeland REA, which owns Merit Energy and Power.

 

Bob says co-ops are very good for the economy.

 

“The most important thing is they are owned by members,” he says. “It is very, very valuable for folks to actually have a say in the way their business is run.”

 

ACE is also growing, which is increasing revenues and lowering costs for all its member co-ops, making community-owned energy a certainty in Alberta.

 

David Vonesch/Vice-Chair

Chair SPARK, the Alberta Renewable Energy Co-operative

David is driving energy change in Alberta. In 2015, Calgary’s AVENUE magazine chose him as one of its TOP 40 UNDER 40, recognizing him as “a champion of renewable energy.”

David is a partner in SkyFire Energy, an industry leader that has designed and built more than 600 grid-tied, solar electric systems across eight provinces and territories.

He grew up near Olds, Alberta, on a mixed farm and in his youth worked in northern Alberta planting trees.

 

“The environment was always pretty close to what I was doing,” he says.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta and briefly toyed with doing a master’s in renewable energy in Europe but instead moved to Calgary.

There he found a network of green businesses, including SkyFire Energy, which he joined in 2007, when solar was still difficult to install in Alberta. Micro-generators who wanted to tie in to the grid had to register with the Petroleum Registry of Alberta and then apply to the Alberta Utilities Commission.

 

“It’s become a lot easier and cheaper over the years,” he says. Equipment costs have dropped dramatically. The manufacturing process has improved. Worldwide, there’s more manufacturing capacity. And it’s free and quick to connect to the electrical system.

He sees renewables and co-ops as obvious partners. Co-ops give Albertans ownership, and renewables invite us to play a big part in greening energy.

 

Harvey Yoder

Director North Parkland Power REA

 

Harvey is a creative energy thinker who has a long history with co-ops.

He has a B.Sc. in agriculture education from the Penn State University. For more than 30 years, he was a district agriculturist and forage specialist with Alberta Agriculture.

He’s director of North Parkland Power, Northern Lights Energy and Power Ltd. and Lac La Biche Natural Gas Co-op —all energy co-ops. After retiring from government in 2002, he served for many years as director of the Gas Alberta Inc., which supplies gas to Alberta co-ops, as well as to ACE.

A few years ago, Harvey and some friends started talking about new energy.

“Instead of leaving it to the big companies,” he says, “we thought there was an opportunity to do it ourselves.”

 

They formed a renewable energy co-op, SPARK, and invited Albertans to become involved in green energy. It would sell wind, solar and biofuel to Albertans and fund micro-generators with the profits.

Next, they formed Alberta Co-operative Energy or ACE.

Five co-ops—North Parkland Power REA, Lakeland REA, Northern Lights Energy and Power Ltd. Gas Alberta Energy and SPARK—created this new entity. It would sell SPARK’s green energy, as well as electricity and natural gas from the huge energy co-op system in Alberta.

“The big thing about co-ops,” says Harvey, “is members can become directors. They get profits back, but they can also get involved.”

And when members get involved, innovation can take place.

ACE is a perfect example.

 

Larry Dykstra

Vice-President Gas Alberta Energy

 

“We had end-use energy contracts when I was Vice President of Marketing at Ulster Petroleum in the mid to late 1990’s. I really enjoyed helping our consuming customers reduce their energy costs so when Ulster was bought in 2001, I made it my career to represent Alberta natural gas consumers by moving them out of retail and into the wholesale market. First, with PremStar Energy Canada Limited, one of the largest independent direct marketers in Canada, and then through a partnership with Gas Alberta.”

Having 30 years of experience in energy transportation, marketing and trading, Larry Dykstra began his career as a geologist before moving to marketing in the mid 80’s. Over his career, he has developed a comprehensive understanding of the physical and financial markets for crude oil and natural gas. “Speculating on natural gas prices as a trader gave me the knowledge to advise clients on hedging strategies to help them reduce their costs and minimize the risk associated with long-term contracts,” he says.

In 2003, Larry partnered with Gas Alberta Inc. and formed Gas Alberta Energy (GAE), “Gas Alberta’s rural heritage and cooperative values are the foundation of our business. Our success is built on the longstanding partnerships we have established with our customers and their businesses. We have upheld an unwavering commitment to keep the interests of our partners at the forefront of everything we do. We take great pride in our role as a trusted advisor to our partners and will continue to recommend innovative solutions to support their business,” he says. “It’s not all about making money, it’s about helping people save money and if you do a good job, they’ll reward you with their business.”

 

Robert (Bob) Coppock

Director Lakeland REA

 

Bob is a strong believer in the co-op business model for selling and delivering energy.

A veterinarian, Bob started his professional career in in his home state of Michigan in clinical pharmaceutical research for a large company. Next, he went into private practice in Michigan and Manitoba.

Bob has a PhD in toxicology from the University of Illinois and is a board-certified specialist in toxicology— one of two in Canada. He immigrated to Alberta in 1984 to lead scientific research and clinical investigations in toxicology with Alberta Environment at the Vegreville research facility.

In 2002, he set up his own specialty toxicology practice. Working from home on his quarter section north of Holden, he consults nationally and internationally on animal poisoning issues and also provides expert opinion. 

He is a Director with ACE and Lakeland REA, a co-op that owns electrical transmission wire and sells electricity.

“I am a big believer in co-ops,” he says, explaining that co-ops keep business and decision-making local and put pressure on other providers to bring down their service prices. He adds that electrical co-op wire owners serve 70 per cent of the land mass in the U.S., and many of these co-op also own generators.

“ACE is a co-op that is linking energy co-ops together in Alberta," he says.

"We’re bringing together the co-op community spirit for ACE customers and making sure the benefits, decision-making and point of contact stay local.”

 

Carl Beniuk

Director North Parkland Power and Northern Lights Energy and Power

 

Carl is President of Craigend Recreation and Agriculture Society as well as a director of North Parkland Power, Northern Lights Energy and Power and Alberta Community and Co-operative Association.

 

He is a community leader involved in many local groups volunteering to help rural development wherever possible. He feels it is very important do to our part to improve our communities and the co-op model is the ideal vehicle to do this. ACE is the next step in the energy cycle; expanding our cooperative model and filling a market void.

 

After graduating from University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Agriculture, he worked in the corporate world as an agronomist. A few years later, he came back home and took over the mixed family farm where he resides today with his wife Angele.

 

David Rumer

Director

 

 

Tina Marleau

VP Business Development

Tina's career, predominately in the dairy sector, started at the ground level at Canada Safeway in Edmonton, where she developed and led the Safety Committee while expanding her knowledge on all aspects of the operation. Then when the need for lean manufacturing became apparent, Tina led the charge, developing the plan and leading the team through successful execution.

 

Having established due diligence and a result-oriented leadership style, she assisted the Burnaby, British Columbia plant in its reorganization and efficiency enhancement processes. 

 

Upon achievement of the plant's goals, Tina transferred to the Lucerne Edmonton Milk plant in a supervisory capacity. She led a capable team while spearheading an extensive inventory control initiative, with hard work and determination inventory was under control in short order.   

 

Tina then accepted the role of the Plant Superintendent for her prudent change management approach and effective leadership.  It was there that Tina was able to truly assist the corporation in its achievement of goals through her natural propensity to search out and achieve win/win resolutions for the team and the corporation. It was during this time that Tina entered the co-operative sector through Agropur Dairy Cooperative's purchase of the milk plant, which became part of the largest dairy cooperative in Canada.


Tina is excited to be working with a cooperative organization again as the collaborative environment is unique in its support and transparency of its operations, a sector that genuinely seeks out mutually beneficial solutions on behalf of its members.

As for ACE, Tina says she is pleased to see that ACE offers very competitive energy rates with the option of supporting renewable energy in an ethical, open and transparent environment, which includes the opportunity to be a member of the cooperative, what more can you ask for? FUSION? We've got it!!

© 2020 Alberta Co-operative Energy

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