After a 43-year cooperative career, North Star Electric’s Ann Ellis recently retired. Four decades ago, Ellis was hired as an office assistant at the co-op, learning the ropes of the energy industry, finance and member service. Ellis was promoted to billing coordinator, and in 1986, to finance manager. She served as finance manager until 2015 when the North Star board gave her the nod to become the co-op’s general manager.
As the general manager, she was always guided by one focus – the members – and work to ensure employees shared that same commitment.
“It’s what you have to remember when you’re making decisions about what to do on a project or how to treat a member in the field – everything we do is about the members. And relationships just flow from that,” she said.
As a servant leader, Ellis earned the respect and friendship of those within the building and throughout the Minnkota system of cooperatives. She says she’s proud of North Star’s employees and board directors, adding that their hearts are in the right place and they will continue to serve the region.
In her retirement, Ellis and her husband of 40 years, Steve, plan to build a new home on a 40-acre parcel that her family bought and filled with forestry when she was young. “I helped my dad plant some of those trees when I was around 12,” she says. “So, you can just imagine how beautiful those maples and Norway pines are now.”
Josh Compton has been named general manager and CEO of North Star Electric following Ellis’s retirement.
Recently, Compton served as manager of regulatory affairs at the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) in Dulles, Virginia. Before that role, he was a regulatory affairs analyst at Pepco Holdings, Inc. in Washington, D.C. In his role at CFC, Compton had the opportunity to work with many electric cooperatives across the U.S. to provide numerous financial and utility ratemaking consulting services.
Along with his professional career, Compton served as a county commissioner in his rural West Virginia county for many years and has a strong background in community relations, working with local, state and federal representatives and maintaining a track record of creating positive changes.
“I’m extremely honored to have been selected as the next general manager of North Star Electric Cooperative. I’ll be joining a very forward-thinking organization with top-notch employees who are absolutely dedicated to ensuring our member-owners are provided with the best possible service. We will continue putting our member-owners first, and I will look for new opportunities that benefit them as we move North Star Electric Cooperative into the future,” Compton says.