Click here to read about the 70th anniversary of the Elk River Municipal Utilities Commission.
by Joni Astrup
Two new commissioners have joined the Elk River Municipal Utilities Commission, as the panel expands from three to five members.
Local legislators had carried a bill to increase the number of commissioners at the request of city and utility officials. Expanding the commission is seen as a way to increase community representation as Elk River Municipal Utilities continues to see strong commercial and residential growth.
Mary Stewart and Matt Westgaard were sworn in as the new commissioners in March. They join Chair John Dietz, who also is Elk River’s mayor, Vice Chair Daryl Thompson and Commissioner Al Nadeau.
Stewart is the first woman to serve on the commission. She grew up in the Dayton, Ohio, area and has worked in accounting leadership positions at several places including Great River Energy, where she was supervisor of accounting and financial reporting. She retired in 2015 at age 51. Stewart said she sees her service on the utilities commission as a way to give back to the community and to use her 16 years of utility company knowledge and her accounting and finance leadership experience.
She and her husband, Harold, have lived in Elk River for 27 years, where they raised their son, Chris.
Westgaard has been a member of the Elk River City Council since 2009.
He has worked in the concrete products industry for 29 years in a variety of positions, most recently as the vice president of manufacturing for Molin Concrete Products based in Lino Lakes.
He and his wife have lived in Elk River for 22 years and raised both of their daughters in the community.
Westgaard said he is interested in serving on the utilities commission to learn more about the municipal utility and how it benefits the community, taxpayers and the relationship to the city government.
He said he is excited to be a commissioner and to get to know the people who manage and run the business and to see how it can continue to add benefit to the community and taxpayers.