Southern Illinois Power Cooperative’s (SIPC’s) board of directors has selected Paul Furtak as the cooperative’s next president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

“The board and senior staff at SIPC are elated. We knew Paul was the right fit for the role, and we are looking forward to continuing our shared journey into tomorrow,” said George Obernagel, chairman of the board of directors at SIPC.

SIPC’s cooperative and strategic principles, corporate mission and strategic vision are nothing new to Furtak, who has been an integral part of SIPC’s leadership team and continued success at SIPC over the past two decades. Lessons learned during his military service, formal education and utility career have shaped him into a hardworking, disciplined and effective leader within the cooperative family.

“My parents have been members of Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association for over 30 years, and we were members on Wayne-White [Counties Electric Cooperative]’s network in rural Hamilton County when we lived in McLeansboro, Ill.,” Furtak said. “Hands down, there is no better business model than the cooperative model to serve electrical services to southern Illinoisans.

“We have democratically elected governance; we are focused on meeting the needs of our member-owners, and our motivations are good and just. Thank God for the opportunity to be surrounded by the most supportive, honest and hardworking people I know, while serving this important need for our community.”

SIPC’s CEO search was initiated when former SIPC CEO Donald Gulley accepted the same position at Big Rivers Electric Cooperative in Owensboro, Ky. Obernagel said, “Don’s tenure at SIPC over the past 10 years brought stability, structure, strategic guidance and operational success when we needed it most, and he developed and mentored the next generation of leaders at SIPC. His leadership and friendship will be missed, but we are in great shape and ready for the challenges ahead.”

Furtak has been serving as SIPC’s interim president/CEO since Jan. 8, 2024, and previously held positions at SIPC as the vice president of administration and finance/chief financial officer, vice president of risk and strategic planning, controller​, and accounting supervisor. He has been a SIPC employee since July 3, 2002.

Furtak obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1994, and he proudly and honorably served our nation during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the United States Air Force between 1985 and 1991.

SIPC is a generation and transmission cooperative located in Marion, Ill., with 1,100 miles of transmission lines throughout southern Illinois that serve approximately 84,000 meters as the wholesale electric supplier to Clay Electric Co-operative, Clinton County Electric Cooperative, Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association, Monroe County Electric Cooperative, SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative, Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative and Tri-County Electric Cooperative and the city of McLeansboro, Ill.