WaKEENEY — Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc. president Craig Crossland announced Tom Ruth has been selected to serve as the next general manager. Stacey Malsam and Dennis Deines have been serving as co-interim managers since Darrin Lynch, former manager, accepted a position with National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. in September 2017.

Ruth will begin his duties April 30, and comes to Western Cooperative after working for South Central Indiana Rural Electric Member Cooperative in Martinsville, Ind., most recently as the Vice President Distribution Services. While at South Central Indiana, Ruth was responsible for field operations, engineering, field communications, metering, relay testing and maintenance, system operations center, operations technology and vegetation management. Prior to joining South Central, Ruth has extensive experience ranging from journeyman lineman duties to operation and engineering responsibilities.

“The Western Cooperative board selected Tom from over 30 well qualified candidates following a national search utilizing the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) search team,” Crossland said. “The board and the NRECA search team spent a great amount of time analyzing excellent resumes of all who applied, but several factors made Tom the right person to lead Western. In addition to having extensive experience in operations, engineering, and safety, he has a genuine interest in rural culture from growing up in rural Missouri. Along with a rural connection, Tom has invaluable experience of working in many facets of the electric utility world.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve Western and evolve the strengths of Western while embracing cooperative principles,” Ruth said. “Since growing up in rural Missouri, I enjoy the culture of the mid-west, including the people, and look forward to be a consensus builder and mentor for the Western Cooperative Electric family.”