MGE Employees

MGE’s dedicated employees volunteer on local boards, work for nonprofits and help generations from young to old. This report highlights only a small sample of the service of our valued employees who demonstrate a true commitment to our communities and the people who call them home.

MGE employees gardening

MGE is more than pipes and wires. Our dedicated employees embody what it means to serve as your community energy company.

Outside of their jobs at MGE, they play active roles in our community. Many of our more than 700 employees volunteer on local boards and committees and as members of economic development and nonprofit organizations.

Their service goes beyond ensuring MGE provides safe, reliable energy every hour of every day. We thank them for their deep commitment to our community and its people.

Employee Giving: The Power of Working Together

Giving through the United Way

MGE employees helping make snacks

MGE employees helped make snack packs for students in need during MGE’s 2019 United Way campaign. Due to COVID-19, MGE’s 2020 United Way campaign was entirely virtual.

Caring for the community is a big part of who we are and what we do at MGE. As your community energy company, we support the United Way of Dane County because its extensive reach helps our customers and broader community. The United Way works toward lasting change, sharing MGE’s goal of making our community a better place to live, work and enjoy.

MGE employees and retirees participate in our annual United Way campaign. Their support helps MGE to rank among the top 10 companies in Dane County consistently in total donations to the United Way.

MGE’s support of the United Way isn’t limited to an employee and retiree campaign each fall. We support United Way throughout the year, every year, in different ways. MGE employees serve on various United Way boards, committees and Leadership Giving groups, helping to set the direction and address the needs facing our community. MGE employees also regularly volunteer their time and services at United Way partner agencies across Dane County.

Distinguished Service Award

MGE’s involvement with the United Way’s Business Volunteer network (BVN) dates back to its beginning more than 20 years ago. The BVN provides businesses with education, resources and networks to further their workplace volunteer programs. BVN members, such as MGE, are able to find volunteer opportunities to match employees’ interests and passions by participating in many different projects offered exclusively to BVN members.

MGE Community Education Manager Jim Jenson has represented MGE on the BVN since 1999. In 2019, Jenson received the Distinguished Service Award from the BVN’s Executive Committee.


Seasons of Caring

MGE employees landscaping

In spring 2019, MGE employees helped with landscaping at Oakwood Village Retirement Community Nature Preserve. MGE employees participate annually in “Seasons of Caring” volunteer events like this one through the United Way.

Many MGE employees also take the opportunity to help through the United Way’s Seasons of Caring campaign, which gets people involved by offering volunteer opportunities across Dane County. Seasons of Caring is designed to bring the community together throughout the year to make greater impacts through volunteerism.

In 2019, a team of MGE volunteers helped with some spring landscaping work at the Oakwood Village University Woods Retirement Community Nature Preserve. They helped with weeding, spreading fresh topsoil and planting grass seed on the Oakwood grounds.

In 2020, many of our volunteer efforts were done virtually.

Employee Giving: Volunteerism

MGE employees play an active role in helping improve our community. Hear from a few of our employee volunteers who share their service experiences in their own words.


Jeanne Burns-Frank
Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager - Environmental Affairs

Jeanne Burns-Frank and sons

Jeanne Burns-Frank has passed down a tradition of volunteering she learned from her mother to her two sons, Isaac (left) and Curran (right).

I think the importance of serving your community first came to me when my mom volunteered at my elementary school carnival. I remember thinking, “My mom is a busy person. Why is she taking time to go to my school?” I realized that day that my school was full of volunteers—the people who organized and did work behind the scenes and the people like my mom who came for a few hours to bring joy to the kids at the end of the school year.

That carnival was a big deal to me. I remember keeping a rainbow sand art jar that I made that day for many years. Decades later, my husband and I ran the carnivals for several years at our sons’ elementary school when we oversaw the parent group. Our kids helped us with those events, and in later years, we volunteered doing high school concessions together. They have continued to volunteer on their own.

I feel like there are a lot of ways that you can give back to your community. Many people do it in ways that may feel like it is not a big deal, but every hour you give makes a difference in ways that you may not realize. I’ve taken on big jobs like running events and tutoring, but I’ve also just shown up to lend a hand for an hour or two.

Right now, I am serving on my neighborhood board and on the high school boosters. I recently worked with some parents of seniors, including fellow MGE employee Greg Murray and his wife Rebecca, to put on a safe event and bring a little joy to the high school seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic to make up for their cancelled in-person graduation. I also try to help out as a foodbank volunteer when I can fit it in.

For me, volunteering is carrying on a family tradition and teaching my kids that the world is bigger than just us. We are all connected, and volunteering is my way of honoring that connection.


Cedric Johnson
Community Services Manager - Residential and Community Services

Cedric Johnson

Cedric Johnson found that serving the community at the board level allows him to help push for positive change through policy, governance and long-term strategy.

In order to tackle systemic inequality, we must address it through policy, governance and long-term strategy; this is the work that happens largely at the board level. It is why I choose to serve the community through board service.

NewBridge Madison serves older adults throughout Dane County. It was formed through the merger of four separate organizations in January 2019. All services are free and designed to provide a bridge to successful aging. I joined the Transition Board that helped successfully finalize the merger and then moved to the Board of Directors where we ratified organizational policy and strategic direction. We also led the search for a new Executive Director who demonstrated the qualities that would advance NewBridge’s mission, with an emphasis on serving communities of color in a meaningful way. Roughly 5,000 older adults are served by NewBridge Madison and represent some of the most isolated and vulnerable in our community.

In December 2019, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents appointed me to the Oversight & Advisory Committee (OAC) for the Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP). WPP represents a far-reaching commitment by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to greatly improve the health and well-being of people in Wisconsin. We recognize that achieving health does not simply mean not being sick. Health is impacted by the absence of disease but also by being well nourished and sheltered, by having access to a good education and employment opportunities, and by having access to high-quality health care and a thriving community.

We must address health disparities and advance health equity in order to positively affect health in Wisconsin. This commitment comes to life through grants from WPP’s $400 million endowment that funds nonprofits across the state that are addressing these inequities in collaborative and creative ways. OAC is not only responsible for approving grant funds but for providing public representation and a community voice throughout the process, in addition to the long-term sustainability and impact of WPP.

I feel that board commitment is a really great way to drive and influence the culture of change for those who don’t have a seat at the table.


Shelley Mergen
Customer Service Representative - Division Operations

Shelley Mergen

After debating whether to do it, Shelley Mergen jumped in and discovered how rewarding volunteer service at the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter in Prairie du Chien can be.

Animal shelters play an important role in our communities as they work to reunite pets with their owners, shelter those in need and find new homes for animals who are lost or don’t have a permanent home. Working at an animal shelter is often a thankless job. Workers balance having enough space to house animals, coordinating pet adoptions and encouraging people to visit an animal shelter first when looking for that special family pet.

I have followed the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter in Prairie du Chien for years and finally decided I should check into being a volunteer. And I’m so glad I did. Volunteers have many options at Rivers and Bluffs. You can walk dogs, wash dishes, snuggle kitties and clean kennels. The list is endless.

My personal experience has been pretty humbling. I never realized how much I would enjoy volunteering at the shelter. In addition to being good for them, walking the dogs has been great exercise for me too. Getting to know each new dog and encounter different breeds has been so enjoyable. I thought it might make me sad working at the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter, but it has been just the opposite. The work is very rewarding. These dogs NEED love, understanding and reassurance. Their lives have been turned upside down for one reason or another. Every animal has a story and every journey to the shelter is different.

Another great thing about the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter is that there is no judging. The shelter is a safe haven for owners who, for whatever reason, have to surrender an animal or for the stray who was found on the street. The animals and people at the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter have really restored my faith in humanity. I can’t say enough good things about being a volunteer; it has given me so much more joy than I ever expected. This facility and its volunteers are much needed in our area, and I am so thankful I made the decision to become a volunteer.