Meet Your Team


Michael Shepard

Michael Shepard

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Shepard joined us in March 2016 as CEO. He was formerly regional publisher for Wick Communications, a privately owned media company based in southeastern Arizona. Before taking the position at Wick, he was Senior Vice President – Business Operations for the Seattle Times. He has a degree in communications with a journalism emphasis from Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, Washington.

He began his career as a courthouse reporter for the Moscow/Pullman Daily News, on the Idaho/Washington border. He has served as president of both the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington and was a longtime member and chair of the professional advisory board for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU. He was inducted into the college’s Hall of Achievement in 2008.

His publications career has taken him to jobs based in Walla Walla, Yakima and Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula giving him deep knowledge of, and a great appreciation for, rural communities.

He and his wife, Rhonda, live in North Plains, Oregon and have two adult daughters and a son-in-law. He has been active in a wide variety of community and industry organizations, is an avid baseball fan.

Matthew Pierce, CPA

Matthew Pierce, CPA

Director of Finance & Administration

Matthew Pierce is responsible for leading finance, budget and forecasting, human resources and administration for Pioneer Utility Resources, ESG and NewsData. A licensed CPA, Matthew previously was Controller for Fortior Solutions, LLC, a position he held for seven years. He has 10 years of experience in public accounting and holds a BSBA in accounting from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO. Matthew enjoys music, hiking at high elevations, and spending time with his wife Amy and their four energetic children.

Ryan Hakes

Ryan Hakes

Director of Marketing and Business Development

Prior to coming to Pioneer, Ryan ran his own marketing agency, focusing on several different sectors including education, not for profit organization and healthcare. Known for his high energy and passion for relevant communication, he specializes in digital marketing and creative solutions.

Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in leadership and communications from Southeastern University. Outside the office Ryan and his wife, Julie, like to chase their two sets of twins around national parks and look for a good BBQ restaurant that doesn’t mind loud kids. Fortunately, he doesn’t require a lot of sleep.

Leon Espinoza

Leon Espinoza

Editor

Leon, born with ink in his veins, leads the talented team at Pioneer. Before joining Pioneer in 2017, Leon spent three decades in newspaper journalism, 27 of them at The Seattle Times, where he was an assistant managing editor on the forefront of change. His work included upholding standards, embracing digital and guiding the hands-on editing and presentation of Pulitzer Prize winning work. Since coming aboard Pioneer, Leon and his team have dreamed big as they’ve reshaped content, launched new magazine products and experimented with fresh ways of presentation, storytelling and delivery. The aim: to reach the next generation of readers, stay relevant and serve the greater good. Espinoza holds a BA in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, along with a Minor in Psychology, which, he notes, comes in handy. Leon and his wife, Michelle, have two white fluffballs, Sasha and Nikki, and three adult children.

Mike Teegarden, CCC

Mike Teegarden, CCC

Assistant Editor

Mike has been with us since 1994. He is an accomplished photographer, editor and writer with extensive desktop publishing experience. He also assists with many non-magazine projects; Mike is a good resource for help with Photoshop and InDesign. He supports 20 utilities in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and California. Mike also serves on the national Certified Cooperative Communicators board.

Pam Blair, CCC

Pam Blair, CCC

Assistant Editor

An award-winning writer with decades of newspaper and magazine experience, Pam has been with us since 1994. She oversees production of Florida Currents, the monthly publication for Florida’s electric cooperatives, handling writing, editing and design of common and local pages. In addition, Pam contributes to Ruralite editions, writing stories about complex industry issues. In her free time, she enjoys golf and working on jigsaw puzzles.

Jennifer Paton, CCC

Jennifer Paton, CCC

Assistant Editor

Jennifer joined us in 2012, after working 14 years as editor for a monthly magazine for a private athletic facility. She also was an assistant editor for several trade publications in Kansas City, Missouri, after graduating from the University of Missouri’s award-winning journalism school. Jennifer shares writing responsibilities for Plugged In and Power Lines features, and coordinates our biannual editorial workshop. She supports utilities in Oregon and Hawaii as well as Oregon’s statewide association.

Brandon Pomrenke, CCC

Brandon Pomrenke, CCC

Assistant Editor

Brandon honed his writing, photography, copyediting and design skills during seven years as a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army, where he built a solid portfolio of work. Major assignments included developing a communications program for a U.S. Navy special warfare group while deployed to Iraq, and most recently serving with a select public affairs team of Americans at NATO’s multinational Allied Rapid Reaction Corps headquarters in Innsworth, UK. Brandon has a bachelor’s degree in graphic communications from the University of Maryland College and a master of arts degree in graphic design from the Academy of Art University. He supports 16 utilities in Nevada, Washington and Idaho.

Brandon has three great kids; Isabelle and her twin siblings, Riley and Alexandra. When not chasing the kids around the house, Brandon enjoys golf, camping and photography.

Ethan E. Rocke

Ethan E. Rocke

Assistant Editor

Ethan E. Rocke is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. After serving as a U.S. Army infantryman for three years, he joined the Marine Corps as a combat correspondent. For 10 years he served as a “storyteller of Marines,” working as a writer, photojournalist, editor and film consultant. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, the New York Times online, USA Today, American Legion Magazine and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi. Examples of his work are at EthanRockeMedia.com.

Ethan holds a B.S. in Photojournalism from Syracuse University and a M.S. in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He joined Ruralite in 2018, supporting utilities with skilled editing, multimedia storytelling and social media support. He is a proud California native whose wandering heart now belongs to Portland, Oregon.

David Herder

David Herder

Associate Editor

Born and raised in Portland, David brings a passion for finding and sharing knowledge in engaging ways. Before joining Pioneer in 2020, David spent a year as a reporter with Sports Illustrated, working on stories ranging from the World Cup, to ALS foundations to his beloved Seattle Mariners. He also worked with Northwestern Athletics Communications for four years, helping share athletes’ stories with the community and deepen the fan-athlete relationship. He graduated from Northwestern in 2019 after studying journalism, economics and integrated marketing communications, earning his master’s in journalism at the same time. At Pioneer, he works primarily with Washington utilities.

David enjoys being active outdoors when weather allows, whether hiking, golfing or playing wiffle ball. When weather doesn’t cooperate, he can be found indoors reading, watching movies or finding some other way to engage with storytelling.

Linda Wiseman

Linda Wiseman

Publications Administrator

Among her many tasks, Linda is responsible for maintaining mailing lists. Her expertise for keeping postage costs to a minimum is highly valued by our membership. Linda keeps abreast of the latest mailing and postal regulations and applicable software. She has been with us since 1995.

Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC

Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC

Content Marketing and Development Manager

With a strong background in social media and leadership communications, Megan helps utilities find ways to engage members and staff effectively. For five years, she steered the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Straight Talk team, providing social support, monthly articles and handy graphics for electric co-ops across the nation. She got the co-op bug while working for GreyStone Power, a member distribution co-op in Georgia. Megan, her husband, Paul, and their daughter, Maggie, live in Georgia when they’re not visiting national parks. When in Portland, Megan lives at Powell’s.

Duy Mai

Duy Mai

Graphic Designer

Duy grew up in the Portland area, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Portland State University. He worked for more than 15 years in customer service, including two years at a credit union, and has worked with clients including Amnesty International, Amy Roloff Charity Foundation, Hillsboro Aviation and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Duy’s duties  include design and social media—taking marketing ideas and concepts and communicating them through print, interactive and web devices. In his free time Duy enjoys reading, cooking, hanging out with his terrier, Jax, and cheering on the Portland Trailblazers (RIP CITY!).

Charlie Stanley

Charlie Stanley

Website Solutions Manager

Charlie works out of the General Pacific Data Center facility in Fairview. He is our website guru with more than 15 years’ experience in designing, developing and administering websites and more than 10 years working with electric utilities. Charlie manages all of our member utility websites and our corporate websites, too.

Whether it is web hosting, online bill payments or website interface questions, Charlie ensures our members have the best experience possible in developing and managing their website presence. Charlie serves on the board of directors for SnowCap Community Charities, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting low-income families in Portland and Gresham. When not working, Charlie is an avid traveler and is always seeking out a new tropical island to escape to.