Executive Director of Portfolio Strategy
A Minnesota girl at heart, Kristina Swetz grew up near the Mississippi River where she has fond memories of fishing with her dad, as well as swimming, ice skating, hiking, and biking with friends. Today, she owns 83 acres of land near the Hoosier National Forest that she uses for hiking, hunting, and fishing at nearby Patoka Lake. Kris and her husband, Mike, plan to build a home on their land next year so they can continue to appreciate and enjoy the relaxation nature provides. “My brain is always on and active, and I love to be able to sit in silence and be at peace,” says Kris about her love for nature.
Kris’ “always on” statement is evident in her work as Executive Director of Portfolio Strategy. Kris has worked with almost all of ACES’ MISO Members at some point, as well as some PJM and SPP Members. Her team works to develop medium- to long-term strategies for ACES Members’ and Customers’ portfolios. This means providing recommendations on power and fuel hedging, helping the client understand their position and risks under new environmental and regulatory rules, and helping them transition portfolios that were once heavy fossil fuel to cleaner energy sources. This type of work is common across many of her portfolios, but at the end of the day, Kris needs to help her Members and Customers with whatever the problem or opportunity is at hand. “I need to be able to talk about anything, but I’m not an expert in everything. Markets and Members’ needs change so quickly, every day starts with figuring out what I need to learn that day,” responds Kris about the challenges she faces in her role. “It’s important to have good relationships with everyone in this organization because you rely on them,” Kris continues.
Prior to joining ACES, Kristina worked for a natural gas marketing company where she did supply planning for the company’s largest customer who was a natural gas retail choice provider. She was also responsible for pricing long-term contracts. The cooperative nature between ACES and its Members, and the fact the company did not take title to the commodities they traded, was very appealing to her. Kris is a firm believer in the mission of the electric cooperatives to provide affordable and reliable service with their members’ best interests in mind. She states, “I do everything with the Member in mind. I know I am helping the users down the line and feel good about myself. I can sleep at night with no ethical decisions weighing me down,” comments Kris.
A life-long learner, Kris received formal education from Winona State University in Minnesota followed by a full-ride scholarship to Indiana University where she received a Master’s in Economics. Kris notes that although she loves the outdoors, she prefers the winter months to summer months, and when she’s indoors, you will find her knitting, oil painting, brushing up on old piano playing skills, or even reading medical research, the secondary career field she would have contemplated if she had not connected so well with economics!
Kris’ words of wisdom for new and future ACES employees: “Work hard, ask questions, and find someone to help guide you through your career. I think mentoring is really important. When I entered the workforce, I did not understand the importance of having solid relationships and people advocating on your behalf. Know your worth. Learn things beyond your position, volunteer to help other departments. Those that are most successful at ACES are those that are innately curious.”
Kris’ commitment to learning and being an advocate for our Members are the primary reasons she has been successful at ACES.