Jefferson County Leader Elected to Steer COCC Board

Aug. 8, 2023

The Central Oregon Community College (COCC) board of directors at its July meeting elected Joe Krenowicz of Madras to serve as chairperson for the 2023-24 year. At the same meeting, the board elected Laura Craska Cooper, of Prineville, as vice chair. The two members represent Jefferson County and Crook County, respectively, within the college’s nearly 10,000-square-mile district.

The role of COCC’s board chair is to ensure the integrity of the board’s processes and represent the board to outside parties. Krenowicz will hold the leadership post through June of 2024; his current board term culminates in 2025.

“I am proud to be a part of the COCC leadership,” said Krenowicz. “COCC has been a major force in Central Oregon’s economic vitality and continues to offer exceptional value to students pursuing degrees, students changing careers and students seeking to enhance their quality of life.”

A Madras resident since 1979 — opening a NAPA Auto Parts store when he first arrived in the community — Krenowicz currently serves as the executive director of the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. He has served the city as mayor, city councilor and as a member of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and East Cascades Workforce Investment Board. Krenowicz holds an associate degree in business from Bellevue College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Washington State University. He has served on the COCC board since 2010.

Vice Chair Craska Cooper is a Prineville-based attorney who has served on the COCC board since 2012 and previously served as board chair from 2014 to 2015. She is chair of the Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority and past president of the Deschutes County Bar Association.

“Joe and Laura have served COCC as dependable board members, stewarding the college through the wake of the Great Recession, enrollment boom and the COVID-19 pandemic. They both bring steadfast leadership and an important workforce- and business-attuned perspective,” said Dr. Laurie Chesley, COCC’s president. “Our growing communities within Jefferson and Crook counties are very well served by Joe and Laura.”

COCC’s seven-member board of directors are elected from geographic zones within the tri-county district.

COCC Board Chair Joe Krenowicz and COCC Board Vice Chair Laura Craska Cooper