Awards and Recognition

MMUA's Nominations and Awards Committee is accepting nominations for MMUA awards. This is a great way to recognize a municipal utility colleague, a public official, or a municipal utility system for showing leadership and innovation and providing an example for others to follow.

All nominations will be considered, and the awards will be presented at the MMUA Summer Conference on August 20, 2024. Following is a brief summary of the awards for which we are accepting nominations. The deadline to submit a nomination is June 30, 2024.

This prestigious award acknowledges a long professional life dedicated not only to the advancement of municipal utilities locally, but also for the betterment of our industry on a statewide basis.  

Nomination form

The 2023 Lifetime Honorary Membership Award recipients were Chuck Heins, Tom Heller, and Mark Kotschevar.

Chuck Heins

Chuck Heins has spent 43 years in the electric industry, with 42 of those years working for municipal utilities in Minnesota. He started as a lineman for Virginia, then moved to positions as a line foreman for Olivia, a line superintendent for Blue Earth, and 23 years as the public utilities superintendent in Redwood Falls. Throughout this time, Chuck has been a unique leader who has focused on serving the public and building public power. He has mentored many, helping others to make an impact on the electric industry like he has.

Tom Heller

Tom Heller has spent nearly 48 years working in public power. He started at Moorhead Public Service, where he worked his way up to general manager. In 1992, he was hired as the fourth CEO of Missouri River Energy Services. Tom has served on many regional and national boards and committees. Tom has been an active advocate for public power his entire career and has also been involved in public power state associations in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Mark Kotschevar

Mark Kotschevar has worked in the electric industry since 1981, when he joined Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) as an electrical engineer. He then became manager of Maintenance and Construction and director of Core Services. In 2014, he became general manager, a role he held until retiring this year. Mark guided RPU as it grew with the community, and helped convert and construct power systems and stations that will serve the community for decades to come. Mark has been a leader in helping a utility achieve, from conservation efforts to innovations related to electric vehicles.

This award is given to an individual who has performed long and well in support of a municipal utility at the local level.  

Nomination form

The 2023 Community Service Award recipients were Bruce DeBlieck and John Dietz.

Bruce DeBlieck has exhibited excellence in community service by actively participating at many levels of local, state, and national electrical industry governing boards for over 40 years, starting with his service to the Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission starting in 1981. Bruce currently serves on the Commission, as well as an MMUA Board Member and in other roles. His service at many levels has made his community and the industry stronger.

John Dietz has been the longest-serving commission member in the history of Elk River Municipal Utilities, serving 27 years and counting. John has also been on the City Council for 29 years and has been the mayor of Elk River for the last 13 years. John’s service to his community includes completing a move of the utility’s offices in 2004 and his work in 2009 to stop the sale of Elk River Municipal Utilities. John has worked to expand the utility’s reach and make Elk River a better place to live.

This award is given to a local, state, or federal elected or appointed official who has been a strong supporter of MMUA and its members.  

Nomination form

The 2023 Public Service Award recipients were Senator Nick Frentz and Senator Andrew Mathews.

Senator Nick Frentz chaired the 2023 Energy, Utilities, Environment, and Climate Finance and Policy Committee. He authored the 100 percent carbon-free bill that passed this session. Senator Frentz worked to hear MMUA’s concerns about the bill and shaped it in a way that led MMUA to not oppose it as it moved out of committee. Senator Frentz worked to keep municipal utilities free from items like benchmarking and cumulative impact testing, and also helped municipals and co-ops secure $5.3 million in grants to deal with resiliency issues.

Senator Andrew Mathews served as the Minority Lead of the 2023 Energy, Utilities, Environment, and Climate Finance and Policy Committee. He made sure that voices opposed to bills favored by the majority had a chance to be heard. In this way, he strengthened the legislative process and made sure that amendments could receive meaningful debate. Senator Mathews also helped secure a hearing on a bill to conduct a study of advanced nuclear power.

This award recognizes a future leader who has demonstrated a dedication to the goals and principles of municipal utilities through problem solving, creativity, and job knowledge.  


The 2023 Rising Star Award recipient was Paula Houts.

Paula Houts first joined Anoka’s Finance Department in 2015. Her hard work and interest in the city’s operations led her to be chosen as Assistant Director of the Anoka Municipal Utility in 2021. Paula has taken classes after-hours to learn more about the electric industry and has been a leader in employee training and running the Conservation Improvement Program.

This award is given to a utility that has demonstrated leadership and innovation in customer service, energy efficiency or renewables, technology, or other areas.  

Nomination form

The 2023 System Innovation Award recipient was Kasson Public Utilities.

Starting in 2020, Kasson Public Utilities and the City of Kasson have made major investments in technology at the utility. Kasson has done complete GIS mapping of the entire utility, as well as the installation of AMI metering infrastructure. Simple questions about how the utility operates have led to a more complete picture of the city’s electric and water systems, as well as other benefits like better incident response and customer service.

This award is given to individuals who perform outstanding service in support of the association and its goals.  

Nomination form

The President's Award is chosen annually by the MMUA Board President. It is meant to recognize people whose contributions as an individual, to MMUA or the industry as a whole, have been exemplary in the past year.

David Meyer, General Manager at Glencoe Light & Power, was the 2023 award recipient. 

David Meyer

What follows are the words of former MMUA Board President Don Martodam, who chose David for the award:

"One of the more enjoyable things the president gets to do now is to give out the President’s Award. Today, I’m looking forward to doing that. When I was asked by Karleen whose name would be on that award this year, a number of people entered my mind.

After some thought, one person that I’ve known for some time stood out. I’ve confided in this person for both advice and sometimes clarity on matters concerning public power. This person always gave me that, straight up and honest. I like that. I can also always count on this person to address topics at meetings freely and with solid information. This person is also good at making motions. Every meeting leader likes that. 

Glencoe Public Utilities and MMUA are lucky to have this person on their team. So, with great pleasure I get to give this award to David Meyer."