New On Board

By Craig Reed

Accountant, geoscientist, and law enforcement officer: The newest members of the Lane Electric Cooperative Board of Directors bring years of experience from those professions to the co-op.

Kris Martes, retired from a law enforcement career, is a board representative for the cooperative’s Row River District.

Dean Livelybrooks, an emeritus physics faculty member at the University of Oregon, is a representative for the Central District. Jimmy Martini, an accountant and business owner, is 1 of 2 directors representing the Oakridge District.

Following are profiles of Kris, Dean, and Jimmy, giving details on their life journeys en route to joining the Lane Electric board.

Kris Martes – Row River District

Kris Martes

Kris is a native Oregonian. She was raised in Hillsboro and graduated high school in 1986.

She earned a degree in social science from Portland State University. Upon graduation, she was hired by the Eugene Police Department, beginning a 29-year career in law enforcement with that agency.

Through the years, she was a patrol officer, a violent crimes detective a unit commander, and a bomb squad commander. She returned to patrol before retiring from the department.

“I absolutely loved my job,” Kris says. “It’s not a job, it’s a calling. I’m a big supporter of community service.”

Between 2006 and 2007, Kris took a leave of absence and spent a year in Iraq as a civilian contractor. She provided training for civilian and military bomb squads in the Ramadi district of Iraq.

“I felt like I wasn’t doing enough,” she says. “I wanted to see if there was something out there in the world where I could help more.”

She accomplished that during her year in Iraq.

After retiring from the Eugene Police Department in 2019, Kris worked as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense before retiring from law enforcement work in 2022.

“In my career, there were so many things I was fortunate to be involved in,” she says. “I did so many things in the police department. It’s a wealth of opportunities. You can go on so many career paths.”

Kris and her husband, Rick, have been Lane Electric members for many years, and her path to community service as a board member came about at a social event when she complimented the co-op crews for their work during the 2019 Snowmageddon. She was working patrol at the time and saw the crews out clearing roads and restoring power.

“I was so impressed with their work and how they were doing it,” she says.

Chris Seubert, a Lane Electric board member, heard Kris’ comments and suggested she run for a vacant Row River seat. She did and was voted to the board in 2022.

“It’s like drinking from a fire hose in education, learning all the ins and outs of being a board director, knowing what the board can and cannot do, the ethics, the importance of working with the general manager and the staff,” Kris says. “It’s a lot more challenging than I expected, but it’s absolutely rewarding, and it matters.”

Kris recently earned the Credentialed Cooperative Director/ Board Leadership/Director Gold Credential Certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. That certificate acknowledges that Kris has studied and is aware of changes in the electric utility business has governance skills, and knows the cooperative principles and business model.

Last October, Kris’ certificate work was recognized as she was voted vice president of the board.

“Electricity is not just about having the lights on,” she says. “It’s life. It matters.”

Dean Livelybrooks – Central District

Dean Livelybrooks

Dean is no stranger to electricity. He’s a geoscientist who spent time in his professional career exploring geothermal sources where steam could be used to run turbines to generate electricity. He was part of a team that discovered a geothermal source near the Mojave Desert in California. An electricity plant was built at the source and continues to generate electricity today.

Dean, a native of Michigan, got his start by earning a degree in earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. He then worked for a Denver-based geophysics company, doing fieldwork in the western U.S. and Hawaii that tracked minute cracking sounds and changes in gravity in the Earth, indicating steam reservoirs.

A move to Oregon and study at the University of Oregon earned Dean a doctorate in physics.

He and his wife, Lisa, then moved to Scotland where Dean took a post-doctorate position with the University of Edinburgh. He conducted geophysical studies along the England-Scotland border and in Greece. Their daughter, Zoe, was born in Scotland.

3 years later, the Livelybrooks moved to Montreal, Canada, where Dean worked for Ecole Polytechnique University. He did ground penetrating radar studies around mining sites in search of additional nickel deposits and field work along the San Andreas fault in California.

In 1996, the family moved back to Oregon and Dean took a teaching and research position in the University of Oregon’s physics department. He taught physics classes and lab courses, did geophysical research, and worked to help students find careers in science, technology, engineering and math professions with support from the National Science Foundation. NSF funds also supported STEM training for teachers.

About the same time Dean retired from his UO position, he was appointed to a vacant Lane Electric board position representing the Central District in January. The Livelybrooks, residents of the Crow area, have been members of the co-op since 1996. He figured his career in electromagnetic geophysics and 23 years on the Crow School Board had prepared him to be a helpful member of the electric co-op board.

“I thought maybe my background would be useful and with my school board experience. I thought I’d have an idea on how the co-op board works,” Dean says. “As a curious scientist, I look forward to developing an understanding of how electrical power is delivered to members’ homes. This includes understanding how power is provided by and bought from the Bonneville Power Administration via our membership in PNGC Power, how the power is transmitted to Lane Electric substations, and how it is distributed to homes.”

“I’m learning,” he adds. “It’s a very complicated business, but I have no regrets. I’m enjoying it.” For relaxation and fun, Dean plays the string and electric bass in a couple of jazz and classic rock music bands.

Jimmy Martini – Oakridge District

Jimmy Martini

Jimmy brings an accounting and finance background to the Lane Electric Cooperative board. He was appointed to a vacant position representing the Oakridge District in April and then was elected to a 3-year term in May.

“I’m excited to be on the board,” Jimmy says. “Hopefully, I can apply some of the things I’ve learned over the years to benefit the co-op’s employees and its members.”

Jimmy is a 1990 Yoncalla High School graduate who attended the University of Oregon, earning a degree in accounting in 1995. He spent 1 of his college years studying abroad in Germany.

After graduation, he went to work for American Laminators in Drain as an entry-level accountant. A year later, he accepted an accountant position with Oregon’s Own Dollar Store. He worked for that company for 2 years then moved to a job with Price Less Foods in Sutherlin.

When Price Less was bought by Ray’s Food Place, Jimmy and his wife, Mindy, moved to Brookings where Ray’s main office was located. He started as an assistant controller and worked his way up to controller and vice president of finance.

When Mindy’s parents decided to sell their Lowell business, Bridge Town Market, the Martinis bought it in May 2015. They then transitioned to Lowell and became small-business owners.

“I always wanted to own my own business,” Jimmy says. “We were ready for a change.” Earlier this year, a mutual friend introduced Jimmy to Lane Electric board member Chris Seubert. “Chris called me, and we met for coffee,” Jimmy says. “I liked the idea of a Lowell resident having representation on the Lane Electric board.”

Chris encouraged Jimmy to submit his name for the vacant position. Jimmy did so and was approved by the board.

“My accounting and business background should help me contribute to the issues and decisions facing the board,” Jimmy says.