Council approves Zeisler's appointment as Utility Manager

Members of the Hastings City Council voted 8-0 during their regular meeting on Monday, May 13 to approve the appointment of Derek Zeisler to become the next Manager of Utilities for the City of Hastings. 

The council’s vote came after members of the Hastings Utility Advisory Board voted 5-0 during their regular meeting on May 9 to recommend approval of Zeisler’s appointment. 

Mayor Corey Stutte thanked Zeisler for the education he provided Stutte about Hastings Utilities when Stutte was first running for mayor, eight years ago.

“Getting to know you over the years has really been a great experience for me,” Stutte said during Monday’s meeting. “Seeing all the work you’ve been doing, you’ve moved around quite a bit and you’ve shown great experience along the way; so, I’m delighted to recommend your appointment with the council’s approval.”

Zeisler, who has worked 17 years full time for Hastings Utilities, was one of three finalists for the position and the only internal candidate. Zeisler began working for the City of Hastings as an Engineering Intern in 2006 and has held several positions since then within Hastings Utilities. 

“I am thrilled to recommend Derek Zeisler as the new Utilities Manager!” City Administrator Shawn Metcalf said before the council vote. “I’ve had the chance to work side by side with Derek over the past year and I’ve been impressed with his demeanor, communication style, knowledge, skills, and abilities, which qualify him for this position. I am confident that Derek is the right person to carry Hastings Utilities into the future. He has my full confidence and support.” 

The job vacancy was posted with multiple utility organizations and hiring venues. The City of Hastings received applications from several states. 

Zeisler will start in his new role on June 18. He will succeed current Utility Manager Kevin Johnson, who is retiring effective June 17. 

Zeisler currently serves as Director of Energy Production and Supply, a position he has held since 2022. 

In his current role, Zeisler oversees the Marketing and Energy Supply and Energy Production internal utility departments, which collectively include 90 employees.  

Zeisler’s previous roles with Hastings Utilities include the following:

  • Mechanical Engineer                                                                    2007 – 2012
  • Project Coordinator, Whelan Energy Center                              2012 – 2014
  • Asst. Director of Electric Production – Whelan Energy Center2014 – 2018
  • Director of Marketing and Energy Supply                                   2018 – 2020                                                                                                                          
  • Director of Administration                                                             2020 – 2022

Director of Energy Production and Supply                           2022 to present                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Zeisler earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007, and a Masters of Business Administration from Wayne State in 2015.

Zeisler was one of 16 applicants for the position. The applications were reviewed by the City of Hastings Human Resources Department using a matrix that weighed experience and education to determine which applicants were qualified and whom to interview.

Three finalists were interviewed on Monday, May 6 and Tuesday, May 7 by a panel that included:

  • Shawn Metcalf, Hastings City Administrator
  • Butch Eley, Hastings City Council Member and Utility Board Liaison
  • Shawn Hartmann, Hastings City Council Member and Utility Board Liaison
  • Bill Hitesman, Utility Board Chairperson
  • Jeanette Dewalt, Utility Board Vice Chairperson
  • Shannon Landauer, Executive Director of Hastings Economic Development Corp. and Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Becky Sullivan, Director of Wellbeing, Education and Engagement for Mary Lanning Healthcare
  • Lori Hartman, Human Resources Director for the City of Hastings

“The City performed a national search of candidates and selected three individuals for in-person interviews,” Metcalf said. “Derek stood out among the other candidates due to his extensive experience in various key roles throughout Hastings Utilities. There is no doubt that if City Council approves Derek for the position, it will be a smooth transition for our utility departments. It makes me happy to see Derek work through the ranks to achieve his desired position. I think it sends a great message to other aspiring employees.”

The Manager has oversight over six internal utility departments and the 189 employees within the Utility Department.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working in a different capacity with the outstanding team we have here in Hastings,” Zeisler said. “I am excited about the challenges that lay before us and I look forward to working with our team toward finding innovative ways to continue to provide reliable utility services at superior value to our customers.”    

Zeisler lives in Hastings with his wife, Amanda, and their three sons. 

Published Date: 05/14/2024

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