Don Shaw

Central Electric Power Cooperative - Inducted in 2014


Don Shaw’s roots trace to the pioneers who built the six regional transmission cooperatives in Missouri, including Central Power – the cooperative Don has served for 40 years. From these roots and growing up on a family farm, Don learned the importance of cooperatives and the need to fight for the success of Missouri’s cooperatives.


And fight, Don has. He is an outspoken leader to protect reliable, affordable sources of electricity while embracing alternative, renewable sources for generating electricity – from experiments with walnut shells and corn to helping Missouri cooperatives become a leader in wind energy. His vision and foresight allow him to take advantage of new technologies and innovation. His efforts in the political arena combine the zeal of a true cooperative believer with the knowledge of a highly skilled engineer.


Don knew at an early age he wanted a career in electricity.  He received an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and two master’s degrees in related fields. After a brief period with Missouri Public Service Company, Don joined Central Electric as an electrical engineer. His career advanced with positions as the chief engineer and manager of engineering and technical services. He was selected as the CEO/General Manager in 1992 and continues in that role. 


Don gives high priority to quality member service, with innovative and cost-effective methods to better serve members.  These programs include enhanced SCADA and communications systems to help alleviate or minimize outage duration. Don helped build what has now become a robust network of fiber optic services designed to assist the membership. He was responsible for new member support services such as distribution engineering and business development. 


Don’s dedication to cooperative principles is complemented by what may be his true passion – teaching. On many occasions, Don takes the opportunity to help his staff better understand cooperatives by what they call going “back to school.” Often the teaching skills of “Professor Shaw” guide not only his staff but also enlighten fellow managers and directors.


He can always be counted on to help deliver the electric cooperative message.  Don is an effective spokesman in the state capitol or the halls of Congress.


He serves on countless boards and commissions, including the AMEC Board of Directors, Associated Electric Cooperative’s Board and the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission.  Previous service includes the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board and also past President of the National Generation and Transmission Managers Association.  Don is an engaged, informed, involved and active board member.


Don has the ability to build consensus and form alliances. He brings cooperatives and citizens together to solve problems. He stands in a class of his own – earning high regard from employees who work with him daily, from directors who rely on his guidance, and from public policymakers who rely on his experience and insight.

forward thinker; innovative; exceptional communicator and teacher; inspirational leader; excellent member service; true believer in cooperative principles