SPRINGFIELD – The board of directors of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) has announced the selection of Craig Sondgeroth as the organization’s new president/CEO.
“On behalf of the board, I’m proud to announce the selection of Craig Sondgeroth as president/CEO of the AIEC,” said Scott Ury, who is chairman of the AIEC board and is on the board of directors for Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative. “Craig understands cooperative values and is a proven leader. As a board, we feel we have found the right person to lead the statewide association and Illinois electric cooperatives into the future.”
Sondgeroth joined the AIEC in October 2018 as the general counsel, providing leadership and legal expertise for the 30 electric cooperatives in Illinois. He will be the fifth president/CEO in the organization’s 80-year history.
“I am honored that the board of directors chose me to be the next president/CEO of the AIEC,” Sondgeroth said. “I look forward to leading our talented staff so we can continue to provide great services to Illinois electric cooperatives.”
Sondgeroth grew up on a farm in La Moille, Ill. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from Drake University. Prior to joining the AIEC, Sondgeroth worked in a private law practice representing agricultural businesses, including cooperatives, and was the general counsel and chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
“I am excited to lead such a well-respected statewide organization,” Sondgeroth said. “As the general counsel for the AIEC for the past four years, I have been fortunate to work with and learn from Duane Noland.”
Sondgeroth will take on this new role upon the retirement of Noland on Jan. 6, 2023. Noland has served as the president/CEO of the AIEC since December 2005, which followed a career in the Illinois General Assembly. He served two terms in the Illinois Senate and four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives.
“Craig has a diverse background in law, energy issues, agriculture and association management,” said Noland of his successor. “He will be an outstanding leader for the electric cooperative program in Illinois.”
“Electric cooperatives have an admirable purpose — they provide electricity on a not-for-profit basis and the members have democratic control,” Sondgeroth said. “This business model has worked well since the 1930s. I believe strongly in the value the AIEC provides to Illinois electric cooperatives, which in turn, benefits rural Illinois families like mine.”
Based in Springfield, the AIEC provides legal, communications, safety training, legislative and other services to 30 electric cooperatives. AIEC member-cooperatives serve more than 302,000 farms, homes and businesses in 90 counties, with 63,000 miles of line. AIEC is a member of Touchstone Energy — a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small.