Finance Department Personnel Changes

If you’ve ever called or dropped by Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA) with a question, you likely spoke with someone in our finance department. This frontline, multi-talented group is SDCEA’s hub. The department answers general questions about the cooperative, sets up new accounts, helps resolve account issues, takes outage calls and so much more.

Several employees recently were promoted or were hired to new positions in the department. They’ll join anchors Carrie Morgan, Consumer Specialist Lead, and Consumer Service Specialist Vicki Smethers.

Beni Norton headshotBeni Norton was recently hired as a Consumer Service Specialist I and works at the busy front desk at the SDCEA office in Buena Vista. Norton helps answer questions about the cooperative, processes all mail and cash payments, directs inquiries to respective departments, and helps consumers with their account inquiries.

Norton, husband Brad, and sons Rylan and Cody moved to Buena Vista from Arizona, so the family is enjoying getting to know their neighbors and the area. Son Rylan graduated from Buena Vista High School last spring and will attend lineworker’s school soon. “I’m excited to be here and really love working in this environment,” Norton said.

Jenny Nall headshotJenny Nall was promoted to Consumer Specialist II. Nall works on consumer account management, transferring services, answering billing questions and concerns, processing auto payments, and issuing rebates to consumer accounts. Nall, husband Travis, and daughter Jamie live in Buena Vista. Nall is a new grandparent, as her oldest daughter and son-in-law have a 1-year-old son.

Simone Phillips headshotSimone Phillips has been named Accounting Specialist at SDCEA. In her role, she will act as SDCEA’s plant accountant, process the co-ops accounts payable, and pay state, county, and city sales tax. Phillips holds two bachelors degrees — one in accounting and one in business management from Colorado State University Pueblo. Phillips grew up in Buena Vista and married high school sweetheart Jesse in December.

Mallie Miles headshotMallie Miles has been named Accounting Lead at SDCEA. Miles acts as the lead accountant at SDCEA and is in charge of payroll, SDCEA’s bank account reconciliation, general ledger reconciliation, capital credit allocations, and retirements, and the accounting and tracking for SDCEA’s non-plant assets. Miles has been an SDCEA employee for six years, is a native of Buena Vista, and graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Denver and a Master of Science in Accounting from Regis University.

Sarah Crites headshotSarah Crites was recently named to lead the finance department at SDCEA. As the Manager of Finance, Crites is responsible for monitoring and organizing the financial information for the SDCEA Board of Directors to make informed decisions about the financial management of the electric cooperative.

Crites began her career at SDCEA in 2003, working at SDCEA’s front desk. She has held the positions of Customer Service Specialist I, Accounting Specialist, and Accounting Lead.

“I am excited and grateful for this leadership opportunity at SDCEA. When I began working at SDCEA I never dreamed my career would go in this direction,” Crites said.

After working at the front desk for several years, Crites found she appreciated the cooperative business model and wanted to learn how to advance her career. Crites asked her supervisor at that time, Eldon Huschka, what she could do to grow in her profession.

“Eldon suggested I take the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) accounting course, and I did. From that point on I continued learning about cooperative accounting, finance, and billing services through on-the-job training, classes, and workshops.” In 2020, Crites earned her Master of Business Administration degree.

“SDCEA is a fantastic place to work, with amazing employees. Most days I go home saying, ‘I love my job.’ I’m looking forward to leading the SDCEA finance team. They are a great, skilled, knowledgeable group.”

Crites is married to Scott and they have two daughters, Payton and Reese.