Meet Your Team


Michael Shepard

Michael Shepard

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Shepard joined Ruralite Services 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.

Wendy Kelly

Wendy Kelly

Administrative Manager

Wendy joined the Ruralite team in 2005. She is responsible for financial oversight and human resources for both Ruralite Services and ESG. Her careful resource stewardship elevated our ability to monitor costs and to provide the highest value to our members. Wendy’s favorite pastime is playing with her four grandkids, all under the age of 6. She also reports “always having a dog,” and loving to dance and cycle.

Leon Espinoza

Leon Espinoza

Editor

Veteran Northwest journalist Leon Espinoza is Editor. Leon comes to Ruralite most recently as Assistant Managing Editor of The Seattle Times, a position he has held since 2013.

Leon has risen through the ranks since joining The Seattle Times as a reporter in 1990. He has been the company’s Executive News Editor, Deputy News Editor, Sunday News Editor, Night News Editor and worked on the copy desk. He holds a BA in communications from California State University, Fullerton.

He has been actively involved in developing the Times’ popular digital offerings and worked both as a hands-on editor and overseer of editing and presentation for multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning (and nominated) stories and news series.

Leon is a member of the Associated Press Media Editors association, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, the American Copy Editors Society, the International Association of Business Communicators and he has judged reporting and design competitions, including the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s. Leon and his wife, Michelle, have three adult children.

Mike Teegarden, CCC

Mike Teegarden, CCC

Assistant Editor

Mike has been with Ruralite Services since 1994. He is an accomplished photographer, editor and writer with extensive desktop publishing experience. He also assists with many non-magazine projects and coordinates Ruralite Services’ biannual editorial workshop. Mike is a good resource for help with Photoshop and InDesign. He supports 22 utilities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, California and Nevada.

Pam Blair, CCC

Pam Blair, CCC

Assistant Editor

An award-winning writer with 30 years of newspaper and magazine experience, Pam takes on complex industry issues and makes them understandable to the average reader. While still responsible for some writing, she primarily oversees production of Kauai’s member magazine, a monthly publication for Florida’s electric cooperatives and Currents. She supports 12 utilities in Florida, Hawaii, Arizona and California. Off the clock, Pam admits addictions to golf and jigsaw puzzles.

Jennifer Brown, CCC

Jennifer Brown, CCC

Assistant Editor

Jennifer joined Ruralite Services 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. She supports utilities in Oregon and Hawaii as well as Oregon’s statewide association.

Brandon Pomrenke

Brandon Pomrenke

Associate 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. He supports 12 utilities in Nevada, Washington and Idaho.

Brandon and his wife, Christina, have 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.

Linda Wiseman

Linda Wiseman

Magazine Assistant

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

Kathi VanderZanden

Kathi VanderZanden

Communications & Marketing Director

Kathi’s experience in the power industry spans 15 years, most of that time spent with a G&T. Past industry service includes chairing the PNUCC Communications Committee, co-chairing the Regional Task Force’s Marketing Coordinating Committee that focused on energy efficiency, and providing many years of in-kind marketing and communications counsel to Northwest RiverPartners. Together with her team of Megan McKoy-Noe, Duy Mai and Victoria Hampton, Kathi steers the communications and marketing of Ruralite Services and Efficiency Services Group.

Growing up in Southern California taught her to enjoy the four true seasons of the Pacific Northwest. Ethnic food, travel, yoga and reading are Kathi’s passions. She and her husband, Rob, have three grown children and live in Vancouver, Washington.

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 at Ruralite 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!).

Victoria Hampton

Victoria Hampton

Marketing and Editorial Specialist

Victoria is from Trout Creek, Montana, and grew up reading Ruralite magazine’s Northern Lights edition. She graduated from Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and creative writing and a minor in editing and publishing. Victoria started working for Ruralite as the 2014 Snowden intern. After her internship, she continued writing for the magazine as a freelancer. She worked in a contracted position for Ruralite after graduating, and started her permanent position in December 2015.

In her free time, Victoria volunteers as a Doernbecher Children’s Hospital classroom tutor and at Write Around Portland, a nonprofit that strives to change the lives of local, underserved populations through the power of writing. She is also an avid traveler and has visited 12 countries. She enjoys the plethora of restaurants and food carts in the Portland area and likes trying new places on the weekends.

Sharon Lippert

Sharon Lippert

Administrative Assistant

Sharon’s varied skills provide critical backup to our accounting and mailing list functions. She is often the welcoming voice of Ruralite when you call, and internally, is everyone’s right hand. Sharon enjoys gardening, reading, hiking and, of course, spending time with her large family.

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 is responsible for the recent redesigns of the Ruralite and Florida Currents magazine websites, the new Ruralite Services website and the management of all of our member utility websites.

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 with Ruralite. 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.