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Fast track to engineering and leadership success

When Ryan Stuthers was pursuing an electrical engineering degree at Anderson University, he wasn’t sure what type of electrical engineer he wanted to be. “There are a lot of avenues you can take in that career field,” he said.

Though he was exposed to most avenues, one he had never heard about was electric cooperatives. “I had no idea what an electric co-op was,” the Terre Haute native admitted. But passing through a career fair on campus his junior year, he ran into Ann Mears, careers and youth partnerships director at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

That day, Mears introduced Stuthers to Indiana’s electric cooperatives. “I thought it was a fascinating concept and couldn’t believe I didn’t know anything about it.”

Their brief conversation led to follow-up emails and phone calls. Those led to a job shadowing opportunity at WIN Energy REMC and his “a-ha” moment. “They gave me an overview of not just co-op-specific things but all of the concepts that fall within the realm of distribution engineering, all of the technologies and their history and how it’s advancing,” he said. “What piqued my interest the most was connecting theory — the vast array of electrical engineering concepts from various college classes — to real-world application.”

Hardly a month after graduation, Stuthers was hired as Tipmont’s distribution engineer. Today, he’s the distribution system engineering supervisor. Like most jobs at electric cooperatives, his positions covered many broad areas and have allowed him to pursue his diverse interests in electrical engineering concepts. The positions also gave him responsibility over engineering and advancing technology, which was unique among his college classmates who took other paths.

Stuthers said there’s never a dull moment. “When I first started, I think I can almost quote myself saying something naïve along the lines that I will have this job figured out in a year. I was very wrong. Because it continues to be new things to learn and new challenges.”

With his latest position, he said, “I’ve taken on a leadership role. You have to be able to communicate with lots of different people. Whether that’s people in member services, operations, other personnel in the office, or members. You must interact and engage with those people and be able to explain concepts that are pretty difficult to explain.”

Looking back, he noted that’s one aspect of his liberal arts university education he wasn’t sure he would use. Despite being on an engineering track, his professors emphasized the importance of communication, leadership skills, and empathy. Like all the engineering concepts, those skills serve him well today, too. “It’s crazy I’ve found myself in a position that emphasizes that so much — along with the technical expertise. The co-op is like a fast track to building interpersonal and leadership skills.”


Job Shadow

2020 HIRED

Distribution System Engineer


Lead Distribution System Engineer


Distribution System Engineering Supervisor