NWPPA works hard to respond to media and member requests in a timely and factual manner. Please feel free to contact one of our media spokespeople with any questions about Association activities or view our press releases below.
Recent Press Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 19, 2017
Clallam’s Sam Parks Receives 2017 Safety Heroism Award
Vancouver, Wash. – Last week, Clallam County PUD Line Foreman Sam Parks received the Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Safety Heroism Award at the association’s 2017 Engineering & Operations Conference on April 13, 2017, in Reno, Nev. Parks received the award for his life-saving actions on the evening of September 29, 2016. That evening, another of Clallam County PUD’s employees suffered a medical event that caused him to lose consciousness while driving home. The car crossed through traffic, a small ditch, and a fenced field before coming to a stop. As the car crossed into oncoming traffic, Parks was only two cars behind and saw what had happened; he stopped to render help.
Parks recognized the PUD employee and automatically went into action along with others that soon arrived; the doors were locked so they broke the windows and Parks started CPR. Medical aid arrived and between the two they worked on him. When the aid left for a defibrillator, Parks worked on the victim by himself. The employee survived and said that he owes his life to his coworker.
“I believe that Sam Parks saved his co-worker’s life that day and is fully deserving of the Safety Heroism Award,” said Larry Morris, Clallam PUD’s safety manager.
Morris also noted that Parks and his coworkers had just gone through their annual CPR and AED training just three weeks earlier.
The Safety Heroism Award recognizes an NWPPA member utility employee or team that displayed an act of unselfish and voluntary assistance in a situation where life, significant injury, or significant property loss would have been incurred were it not for the efforts of the individual or team. The NWPPA E&O Safety Subcommittee selects the winner of the annual Safety Heroism Award with concurrence from the NWPPA E&O Policy Committee.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 19, 2017
NWPPA Honors Dave Peterson with Milton Hunt McGuire Award
Vancouver, Wash. – On April 11, Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) presented Fall River Electric Cooperative’s Dave Peterson with the NWPPA Award for Excellence in Engineering or Operations at the association’s 2017 Engineering & Operations Conference in Reno, Nev. The award is given to an engineer and/or operations person who has made contributions to the utility industry in the engineering or operations area. Also known as the Milton Hunt McGuire Award, named after the longtime manager of the Electrical Department of the City of McMinnville, it was first presented in 1947 and is considered NWPPA’s most prestigious award for a utility employee working in the areas of engineering or operations. Because of the high caliber of requirements to receive the award, it is not presented every year; the last presentation of the Milton Hunt McGuire award was in 2014.
After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and electronic engineering technology from Montana State University in Bozeman in 1985, Peterson began his long and storied career with Fall River Electric in Ashton, Idaho. Having started as a staff engineer, he worked his way up through the ranks to his current engineering manager position. Peterson also completed a lineman apprenticeship in 1993 and NRECA’s Manager’s Internship Program in 1999.
During his more than three decades at Fall River, Peterson has been an integral member of key projects and improvements; for example, he led the building of the Chester Hydroelectric Project; assumed the management and responsibility for all of Fall River’s hydro operations in 2014; led the installation and conversion of Fall River to AMI meters; oversaw the installation of the utility’s fiber optics backbone system that connected all of Fall River’s offices and 15 of Fall River’s substations; led significant improvements in Fall River’s GIS mapping systems, outage management systems, and work order estimates; and managed the team responsible for the automation of the work order and mapping processes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 17, 2017
2017 NWPPA Safety Award winners announced
Vancouver, Wash. – An annual tradition, the 2017 Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Safety Award winners were announced at last week’s Engineering & Operations Conference in Reno, Nev., on April 13, 2017. Safety contest awards are based upon a review of each utility’s safety contest form, the number of recordable injury/illness cases (the incident rate) in 2016, and the lost work days (the severity rate) in 2016. Employees accepted the awards on behalf of their utilities at the conference’s closing banquet on Thursday evening in front of nearly 300 public power industry peers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 16, 2016
NWPPA honors Barbara Johnson with 2016 Lacy Peoples Award
Vancouver, Wash. – The Northwest Public Power Association’s (NWPPA) 2016 Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Planning Committee has selected Tillamook PUD’s Barbara Johnson as this year’s winner of the Lacy Peoples Award for her lifetime commitment to the public power industry and remarkable work in the areas of marketing and communication. The award was presented to Johnson on Tuesday, September 13, at NWPPA’s Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Conference (NIC) awards banquet at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula, Mont.
Johnson has been in the public power business since 1992 when she joined Tillamook PUD (Ore.) as a part-time receptionist. Her leadership and communication skills helped elevate her to the position of public relations manager in 2006, the position she holds today. She also represents her utility well in her community, serving on the boards of organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Greater United Way.
In the industry, she has served on the Ruralite Publications Committee since 2008 and received Ruralite’s Communicator of the Year in 2003. Ruralite Editor Mike Teegarden said, “She is always such a pro. Nothing seems to rattle her and her smile never fades. Her service on Ruralite’s Publications Committee has helped us shape our message as well with her thoughtful input.”
In 2001, she chaired the NIC and recently her team has garnered several Excellence in Communication awards for their website, brochures, and pamphlets.
First given to Lacy Peoples of Cowlitz PUD at the Consumer Services/Communications Conference in 1978, the award is now presented to recipients at the annual NIC. Current or former employees of NWPPA member utilities are eligible to receive this award. The NIC Planning Committee selects recipients based on accomplishments through at least 10 years of marketing and communication experience; at least 20 years of service to the industry; and promotion of public power through efforts such as community service and energy efficiency. Recent Lacy Peoples Award winners include Larry Owens of Silicon Valley Power (2015), Teresa Lackey of Midstate Electric Cooperative (2014), and Phil Steyer of Chugach Electric Association (2012).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 16, 2016
NWPPA honors Van Ashton with 2016 Jim Brands Award
Vancouver, Wash. – The Northwest Public Power Association’s (NWPPA) 2016 Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Planning Committee has selected Idaho Falls Power’s Van Ashton as this year’s recipient of the Jim Brands Award for his lifetime commitment to the public power industry and remarkable work in the areas of energy efficiency. The award was presented to Ashton on Tuesday, September 13, at NWPPA’s Northwest Communications & Energy Innovations Conference (NIC) awards banquet at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula, Mont.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by this award. It is especially meaningful to me because Jim was such a good friend,” said Ashton. “Working in the energy efficiency arena has been an enjoyable highlight in my career in the utility industry.”
Ashton joined Idaho Falls Power (IFP) in 1981 as the first customer service representative, and over the last 35 years his name has been synonymous in the region with energy efficiency. Not only did he singlehandedly create the energy services program at IFP, but he also was the driving force behind the immensely successful collaboration of energy efficiency efforts for a group of public power utilities (cooperatives and municipals). In addition, he has served in a variety of capacities related to promoting energy efficiency regionally. For example, he served on the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Board of Directors; the BPA Utility Sounding Board and Small Utility Taskforce; the RTF Small/Rural Subcommittee; the Northwest Energy Efficiency Task Force; and many other committees and boards. In 2007, he chaired the NIC in Sun Valley, Idaho.He has also written a monthly energy efficiency article for the local newspaper over much of his career.
IFP’s Jackie Flowers, his general manager, said, “While he nears the end of his career at Idaho Falls Power, he has not slipped into a ‘coasting’ mode. Instead, he welcomed the opportunity to embrace new technology and new approaches in an effort to once again lead Idaho Falls Power in evolving its energy efficiency program. That’s his legacy, and that’s why I believe he is worthy of the 2016 NWPPA Jim Brands Award.”
This annual award honors Jim Brands and his 35-year career in the electric utility and energy efficiency industries. Brands, a previous employee of NWPPA and longtime friend to the public power industry, passed away in 2014 from cancer at the age of 61. Current or former employees of NWPPA member utilities are eligible to receive this award. The NIC Planning Committee selects recipients based on accomplishments through at least 10 years of energy efficiency experience, at least 20 years of service to the industry, and promotion of public power through efforts such as community service.
Columbia River PUD’s Tim Lammers was the inaugural recipient of the award last year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 16, 2016
NWPPA announces 2016 Excellence in Communication recipients
This year, NWPPA received a record-breaking 204 entries from 37 different utility and association members. In comparison, NWPPA received 176 entries from the same amount of members last year.
“I am super excited that this was the year that everyone kicked it up and sent in the most entries ever in the history of this communication contest,” said 2016 NIC Chair Julee Cunningham of Snohomish County PUD in Everett, Wash. “I would like to personally thank the NWPPA members who participated – their participation is what makes this annual contest the highly regarded event that it has become.”
Categories are broken up into four groups: Group A utilities having the smallest number of customers and Group D having the largest. Nine local marketing and communication 2 of 5 professionals volunteered their time to judge the entries. A complete list of the first-, second-, and third-place winners can be found at the end of this release.
In addition to the Excellence in Communication awards, NWPPA presented the 2016 Tom Hougan Award for the best overall communication effort to Clearwater Power Company (Lewiston, Idaho). Clearwater received an impressive average of 45.4 points out of 50 possible, which includes their four first-place awards (Advertising Campaign, Special Publication, Internal Communication, and Wild Card), their second-place award (Photography), and their third-place award (Annual Report). Clearwater Power Company Marketing Communications Specialist Jeff Marshall accepted the award on the utility’s behalf at the banquet.
A fun new award that NWPPA also presented at the awards banquet was the inaugural People’s Choice Award in photography. Attendees viewed all of the photography submissions at Sunday night’s opening reception and voted on their one favorite photo. Pend Oreille PUD (Newport, Wash.) won the award with its photo of Dick Shaw in the field. The same photo also won a first-place Excellence in Communication award in photography in Category A earlier in the evening.
The 2017 Excellence in Communication awards will be presented on September 19, 2017, at the Embassy Suites in Sacramento, Calif.
NWPPA Media Contacts
Debbie Kuraspediani, Communication Director
Brenda Dunn – Associate Editor
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