NWHA annual conference powers ahead and elects board members for 2018

The Northwest Hydroelectric Association concluded its 37th Annual Conference the week of Feb. 18 in Portland, Ore.

The theme, “Powering Ahead, Protecting Resources,” provided an opportunity to join with the area’s leading hydro professionals to examine some of the hydro industry’s most current and pressing issues that included: applying new technologies, to managing aging infrastructures; coping with the consequences of weather extremes, to understanding the impacts of regulatory and legislative changes; and protecting public access, to preventing invasive species.

The Hydropower Regulatory Workshop utilized hypothetical real-world case studies to explore regulatory topics of interest to hydro licensing and compliance professionals. Broad topics included planning for licensing/relicensing, executing the licensing/relicensing effort and complying with the newly issued license conditions.

Officers elected during the event for one year beginning March 1 are:

  • President: Trey Acteson of Southeast Alaska Power Agency; 
  • Vice-President: Mary Gail Sullivan of NorthWestern Energy; 
  • Treasurer: Franci Brinkman of Black & Veatch; 
  • Secretary: Finlay Anderson of Kleinschmidt Associates; and 
  • Past President: Steve Padula of Hydro Regulatory Services LLC.

Of the 20 board positions representing Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Western Canada, newly elected directors for a three-year term are:

  • At-Large Director: Allison Murray of Idaho Power Co.; 
  • California: Scott Flake of Scott Flake Consulting;
  • Montana: Mary Gail Sullivan of NorthWestern Energy; 
  • Oregon: Mark Jones of HDR Inc., Barbara Craig of Stoel Rives LLC and Finlay Anderson of Kleinschmidt Associates; and
  • Washington: Alene Underwood of Chelan PUD, Dawn Presler of Snohomish PUD and Matt Love of Van Ness Feldman.

The Ninth Annual Pamela E. Klatt Award was presented at this year’s conference to Pat McCarty.

The award is given annually to an individual within the hydro industry who exemplifies the mission of NWHA through excellence in technical skills and qualities as a leader and mentor.

“Pat McCarty has spent his career of 38 years at Tacoma Power. He joined the company in 1979 as a civil engineer and was appointed Generation manager in 1996 where he served until his retirement in 2017,” said Chris Mattson, Tacom Power generation manager.

“Pat’s vision and passion for our industry helped establish Tacoma Power as a recognized leader in hydropower during his tenure. Pat is a mentor to many in our industry and is known for his energy, his ability to connect people and ideas, his dedication to employees, environmental stewardship, dam safety and recreation, and promoting hydro power as a clean, renewable resource,” Mattson said.   

This year, the Second Annual Hiring for Hydro event sponsored by the Hydro Research Foundation was co-located with the NWHA conference. The event was focused on attracting new electrical workforce entrants and students participated from a combined total of 15 technical schools, colleges and universities.

The attendees, who will “generate hydropower’s future” workforce, drew industry members and their recruiters from the conference. Sponsors of the event included the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, NWHA, HDR, Southern Co. and Oregon Talent Council. The Oregon Talent Council is part of the state agency effort charged with supporting new workforce jobs – renewable energy is a current focus for its efforts. The event is planned to repeat at the NWHA 2019 conference.

Continuing efforts to promote the Julie A. Keil Women in Hydro Scholarship Fund prompted further interest at the conference. NWHA is currently working with the Hydro Research Foundation to memorialize the scholarship program to continue investment in students nationally who have an interest in pursuing a career in the industry.  

The 2019 NWHA Annual Conference will be held in Portland Feb. 19-22.  NWHA is encouraging concepts for topics and potential speakers, which may be forwarded to Executive Director Jan Lee at Jan@NWHydro.org by April 30.     

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