(May 22) Last Wednesday, at Northwest Public Power Association’s 83rd Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, NWPPA presented the following awards to five individuals and one member utility within the public power community.
Life Member Awards Presented to policymakers and managers who are retiring or will be retiring soon from NWPPA member utilities and have made notable contributions to the association and public power.
Ann Congdon joined the Chelan County Board of Commissioners in 2004 and served on it for 18 years. As the second-longest-serving commissioner in Chelan PUD’s history, she served with five different general managers. Congdon worked alongside staff to reduce debt by $1 billion, adopt the PUD’s vision of providing the best value for the most people for the longest time, and champion a supported employment program at the PUD. She also served on the NWPPA Board of Trustees from 2015-2021, as well as on the board of Energy Northwest. She completed her final term at Chelan PUD in December 2022.
Roman Gillen started his career at Consumers Power Inc. in 1986 as the data processing manager. Twenty years and several promotions later, in January 2006 he was named CPI’s president and chief executive officer. With a service territory covering more than 3,500 square miles, Gillen has dedicated his career to taking care of CPI’s members, employees, and communities. During his tenure at CPI, he has also committed himself to multiple utility-wide organizations, such as the PNGC Power Board of Directors, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and General Pacific, Inc. Gillen will be retiring this July after a 37-year career.
Will Purser served on the Clallam County PUD Board of Commissioners from April 2001 to November 2022. During Purser’s 21 years of service, the PUD was recognized by the American Public Power Association as a Reliable Public Power Provider and Smart Energy Provider. Additional achievements under his tenure include the addition of an outage management system, a geographic information system, a SCADA system, advanced metering infrastructure, a detailed emergency response and restoration plan, and several new PUD facilities. Purser was appointed to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors in April 2008 and elected to the executive board in June 2010. He served there until 2022.
John M. George Public Service Award This award recognizes policymaking officers of member systems that have demonstrated remarkable service to public power.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Fred Brog joined the Lower Valley Energy Board in 1988; his father, Ernest, had been a founding member of the LVE Board. During his 34 years on the board, Brog has served as the chair, the vice chair, and the treasurer—three times each. He also served on the Wyoming Rural Electric Association, National Cooperative Services Corporation, CFC, and Idaho Consumer Owned Utilities Association boards. While serving on the ICUA Board, he was instrumental in the creation of the Idaho Energy Resource Authority and establishing reliable transmission service to eastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
Paul J. Raver Community Service Award The award is presented to an electric system or an individual for leadership in enhancing the role of the electric systems in achieving community betterment of an individual city, county, or other local area; a state; or the region as a whole.
Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative created Fall River Helping Hands as a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2010. The program collects donations from Fall River REC members and those donations can be as little as 50 cents per month. Helping Hands then uses those donations to provide emergency energy assistance to other members who have an urgent need for help. Members receive assistance in several ways. It can come in the form of a credit on their electric power; a credit on their propane bill; or direct payments to suppliers for firewood, groceries, or other emergency heating needs. Over the last 12 years, Helping Hands has distributed more than $330,000 to 871 households.
William “Bill” McCrorie Distinguished Service Award Presented to an individual who has served the interests of public power and NWPPA in an outstanding manner.
Kevin Nordt had already been in the utility industry for 12 years when he joined Grant PUD in 2006; he was then promoted to general manager in 2016. Under Nordt’s leadership, some of Grant PUD’s achievements include an employee-driven safety program, financial strength, and a creative new rate schedule to address a surge in cryptocurrency power requests. Nordt also works diligently with numerous industry organizations and sits on many boards, a few being the Northwest RiverPartners Board, Public Power Council Executive Committee, and Pacific Northwest Utilities Coordinating Council Board. Nordt resigned from the general manager position in 2021 to take on his current role as chief resource officer.
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