Your IEC government relations team

Left to right: Tom Havens, Allie Jones, Bennett Fuson, Tim Rushenberg, Brian Christenberry.

Tim Rushenberg joined IEC Sept. 23 as the association’s new vice president of government relations. His arrival brought exciting changes to the government relations team.

Tim Rushenberg joins the government relations team

Tim joined IEC after five years as the vice president of the Indiana Energy Association (IEA), the trade association of the investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Indiana. During his time at the IEA, Tim lobbied the Indiana General Assembly for the passage of the solar energy reform law that changed how the investor-owned electric utilities credited residential and commercial customers on their electric bill for the excess electricity they generated and sent to the grid from small distributed generation units, such as rooftop solar panels. He also led the efforts in improving the energy efficiency law by granting the investor-owned electric utilities greater flexibility in fulfilling the usage needs of their customers in a more cost-effective manner, including allowing large industrial customers to opt-out of their electric utility’s energy efficiency programs.

In addition to the Indiana legislature, Tim also closely worked with state and federal agencies on behalf of the utility industry on administrative and regulatory matters, such as the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, the federal Clean Power Plan and Affordable Clean Energy rules, and the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule.

Prior to his time at the IEA, Tim was vice president of government affairs and tax policy at the Indiana Manufacturers Association after a stint in the private sector as president of an Indianapolis-based real estate and technology firm. He also served as commissioner and general counsel of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance in the administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels. And, he served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a lawyer in various criminal, civil and contractual matters and proceedings for the Air Force and individual military clients.

An Elkhart native, Tim is highly motivated and excited to join the IEC team. He is ready to use his government relations, legal and executive experience to lead the government relations team at the state and federal level on behalf of IEC’s member cooperatives.

Changes to the government relations team

In addition to Tim, other changes have occurred with the government relations team. Brian Christenberry, Tom Havens and Bennett Fuson have new titles and revised roles.

Tom Havens is now the director of state policy and broadband initiatives. He has two primary areas of responsibility:

  • He will continue to advocate on behalf of IEC at the Indiana Statehouse. He will work with Tim and Brian in the development of state policy proposals and execute state legislative and regulatory strategies at the state level.
  • He will also lead IEC’s strategic initiatives on broadband deployment throughout Indiana.

This shift will allow Tom to more fully utilize his lobbying experience and legal background on state policy matters important to the 38 member cooperatives. It will also permit Tom to harness his focus and passion for the expansion of broadband throughout Indiana.

Brian Christenberry is now the director of federal affairs and stakeholder engagement. In this role, Brian is responsible for:

  • Assisting Tim in the execution of events that enable IEC members to meet and interact with members of our Congressional delegation.
  • Continue to engage in advocacy at the Indiana Statehouse to affect state policy and legislation that will benefit IEC members.
  • He will also execute federal and state government relations strategies to help foster and build strategic relationships with third parties and key opinion leaders to the benefit of IEC.

This change will allow Brian to engage more at the federal level, continue to lobby for IEC at the Statehouse and help build strategic relationships with key third parties to further IEC federal and state policy priorities.

Bennett Fuson is now the political action and grassroots manager. In this role, Bennett will:

  • Focus on managing and marketing the ACRE and FORE political action committees to IEC members.
  • Continue to be responsible for the development and execution of IEC’s grassroots opportunities that encourage IEC members to interact with state and federal legislators.
  • In collaboration with Brian, manage the logistics and planning of the annual legislative conference in Washington D.C., and other PAC and grassroots-related activities.

And, Allie Jones has returned to IEC as the legislative intern for the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Her strong interest in legal and policy matters and her solid work ethic make her an asset to the team.