Employee Spotlight: Karen Neorr

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Karen Neorr is KEC’s Real Estate Specialist and has worked for KEC for more than one year. 

What made you interested in working for KEC? How did you prepare for work in this field? 

I was ready for a career change and, when I learned about the job at KEC, I was interested because I had heard that KEC treats its employees well. Before working for KEC, I worked 10 years as a forester for the State of Idaho. In my role there I learned quite a bit about real estate transactions and am grateful that on-the-job training prepared me very well for my job here at KEC. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree from Seattle University and a Master of Science in Forest Resources from the University of Idaho. 

Tell us about your role as Real Estate Specialist. 

You might think by my title that I am a realtor, but that is not the case. Everything I do in my role contributes to our mission to provide reliable power to our members through the establishment of easements on properties where our equipment is installed. When KEC installs equipment to provide electric service we must have access to that equipment to conduct maintenance, repairs and right-of-way or vegetation clearing. An easement protects the rights of all parties—giving KEC the legal right to operate and ensuring members’ property rights are protected. In addition, we need these rights to persist as long as our facilities are present. 

What does a day look like for you? 

I enjoy the variety in my job and work with various departments within KEC. This could include assisting KEC in its efforts to acquire and sell land. As an example, we recently purchased four acres of land for our future Boekel substation and my time was spent providing purchase offers, securing appraisals, negotiating with landowners and finalizing sale paperwork. Once that property was acquired, we focused on selling a previously purchased five-acre property that was no longer needed. 

I work with our operations and member services departments daily on member electric service modifications and new service installations. I ensure we have the necessary easement rights that allow us to install and maintain our equipment for these projects. 

On larger projects, such as the upcoming proposed Spirit Lake East FEMA grant project, I’m working with KEC’s operations department to coordinate with the affected landowners. This includes providing members with project information and working with them to secure needed electric easements. I’ve also worked with the operations and engineering departments to secure easement rights for specialized KEC projects such as our new headquarters building, transmission line easements to our newly acquired Boekel substation property and the recent overhead to underground conversion at Black Lake. 

What is the biggest challenge in your job? 

The real estate growth that has been occurring in our service area equates to a lot of applications for new electric service. With more than 1,000 applications annually, ensuring KEC has easement rights on each property where we have equipment is a big job. 

What is the best part of your job? 

The people! I absolutely love the KEC staff members that I get to work with daily. KEC employees work hard and take pride in a job well done. I am grateful I get the opportunity to work with such a dedicated, supportive, forward-thinking and caring team. Additionally, my daily interactions with KEC members are just as rewarding and it feels good to be part of the team that gets to provide them with an essential service: dependable power.