Archived Story

Partain mixes baseball, business [UPDATED]

Published 6:09am Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Updated 8:19am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Most people who own shares of stock in Otter Tail Corporation know that Nathan Partain is chairman of the board of directors. Only a few of them, however, know that he was a baseball collegiate star.

With baseball spring training close at hand, Partain no doubt looks back on the days when he was an all-American baseball player at Sam Houston State University. In January he cheered for his alma mater in the national football title game, despite his close ties to North Dakota. NDSU won the game.

“I grew up an Astros fan, being raised outside of Houston,” said Partain. “Now living in Chicago, I’m more a Cubs baseball fan than a White Sox fan.”

Partain is the senior member of the Otter Tail Corporation board of directors, with 20 years of service. He also is among the nation’s leading authorities on the electric utility industry, largely through his work at Duff and Phelps.

“The board has benefited from Nathan’s insights and analysis, and I often sought his counsel during my time as CEO and chairman,” said John MacFarlane, now retired. “His fellow directors expressed their confidence by recently electing Nathan as board chairman for Otter Tail Corporation. My sense, as theirs, is that he possesses the background, knowledge and qualifications to provide good leadership.”

The Sam Houston State University website in the College of Business provides some insight to Partain’s baseball career at SHSU.

In the late 1970s, Partain’s athletic ability at Sam Houston State was evident. His 12-1 record in 1979 is still the best Bearkat season record for pitching. Partain’s 19-2 career record is still the best career winning percentage ever for SHSU baseball.

During his baseball career at Sam Houston State, Partain pitched 172 innings, allowed only 57 walks and 79 earned runs and struck out 109 hitters.

After hanging up his cleats and graduating from the college with an undergraduate degree in 1979 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1981, he accepted a position as financial analyst in the treasury department of the Gulf States Utilities Company.

From there he moved up to senior budget analyst for the River Bend Nuclear Project and then on to become the Texas director of regulatory affairs for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Today Partain is a chartered financial analyst and works in downtown Chicago as president and chief investment officer for Duff & Phelps Investment Management Company. He also is president, chief executive officer and chief investment officer for DNP Select Income Fund, Inc.

He has held several key positions during his 19 years with Duff & Phelps, including president and chief executive officer of that firm’s select income, utility and corporate bond and tax-free income funds. Partain also gives back to the community, through support of various charities and non-profit organizations.

Paul Ridings, SHSU’s assistant athletic director for media relations, is not surprised by Partain’s success.

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