Erik grew up on a small family farm in the Norway Lake community and is a lifelong resident of rural Western Minnesota. Since 2013 Erik has joined a proud tradition of rural Minnesotans contributing to the advancement of the cooperative movement to improve the lives of rural people and build rural communities as the Energy Democracy Program Director at CURE. A long-time rural advocate, Erik’s work has focused on fostering democracy and the clean energy transition with rural electric cooperatives. In 2019 his report on barriers to the electric co-op clean energy transition – Rural Electrification 2.0 – garnered attention from policymakers and helped catalyze new conversations around the clean energy transition for cooperatives.
In 2022 Erik led the national advocacy effort to secure the Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program and the Affordable Clean Energy Program (ACE) in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which represents the largest direct investment in rural electrification since the New Deal. These programs were based on a report Erik wrote in 2019 examining the barriers to the clean energy transition for rural electric cooperatives. Since the passage of the IRA he has led the advocacy efforts to ensure a strong program which assures a just, democratic, and equitable transition across rural America.