Superior Water, Light and Power is under new leadership.
Robert Sandstrom has been promoted to president of the Superior-based utility that is a subsidiary of Duluth-based ALLETE.
Sandstrom most recently served as manager of customer excellence at SWL&P. An electrical engineer, he joined Minnesota Power in 2005 as a substation engineer. Prior to that he worked for Xcel Energy for about five years. He earned a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
“I wanted to get closer to home,” Sandstrom said. “I was living out in Colorado.”
During his tenure with Minnesota Power, he said he took increasing responsibility until he became a manager and took on a couple of engineering groups at Minnesota Power. He made the move to SWL&P in July 2015 to fill a vacancy left when long-time SWL&P manager Bill Fennessey retired.
Allette President Bethany Owen said Sandstrom is the right leader for this era at the company with his unique blend of technical, operational, strategic and interpersonal skills.
“Rob has an ability to inspire trust and build strong relationships with customers and the broader community through his values-based leadership and commitment to excellence,” Owen said. “His strategic vision for SWL&P, technical expertise, and solutions-oriented approach are making a difference for customers. He stays focused on the safety of the public while continually striving to improve customer service. I am confident that he and the incredibly talented team at SWL&P will continue to build on their success in the future.”
Sandstrom’s new role expands on the recent work he and the SWL&P team have done toward exceeding customer expectations through modernization of the billing, advanced metering and work order systems, and investments in electric, gas and water operations with the ultimate goal to ensure safe, reliable and affordable services to customers.
“Customers can see their usage up to an hourly basis when they’ve been converted to the advanced metering structured platform,” Sandstrom said. “We’re hoping to leverage that a little bit more and provide our customers opportunities for conservation and to save a little money on their bill.”
Other projects he’s been involved in include Winter Street substation replacement project and the transmission line project out near Enbridge.
“I am humbled, honored and excited to lead this strong SWL&P team that is committed to meeting our customers’ changing expectations and needs,” Sandstrom said.
“We’ve been around since 1889 and I feel we play a foundational role in the community,” Sandstrom said. “We just want to provide safe and affordable energy and water to serve our customers in the community … that’s my goal, to provide value to our customers.”