NWHA elects board members for 2017, other annual conference results

The Northwest Hydroelectric Association concluded its 36th Annual Conference the week of Feb. 22 with record attendance of 415 attendees.

The theme, “Hydropower, the Cornerstone of Clean Energy,” explored how hydro fits into the nation’s renewable energy mix and focused on advances in new waterpower technologies and development, security threats and responses, and the policy impacts of a new federal administration, among other topics. The pumped storage workshop was well-attended and focused on pumped storage projects in progress in the Pacific Northwest, as well as looked at policies and markets regionally and nationally.

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

  •             President: Steve Padula of McMillen Jacobs Associates
  •             Vice-President: Trey Acteson of Southeast Alaska Power Agency
  •             Treasurer: Franci Brinkman of Black & Veatch
  •             Secretary: Irena Netik of Puget Sound Energy
  •             Past President: Barbara Craig of Stoel Rives

Cherise Gaffney of Stoel Rives is the appointed General Counsel for the association.

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

  •             California: Ted Craddock of California Department of Water Resources
  •             Idaho: Lewis Wardle of Idaho Power
  •             Oregon: Peter Martins of PacifiCorp and Franci Brinkman of Black & Veatch
  •             Washington: Sandy Slayton of ERM and Steve Padula of McMillen Jacobs Associates

The 8th annual Pamela E. Klatt Award was presented at this year’s conference to Steve Padula. 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. Padula “has been a dedicated leader in the hydropower licensing and compliance industry for over 30 years,” NWHA says. John Armstrong of Seattle City Light said: “I refer to Steve as the ‘Hydropower Licensing Sage’, someone held in the highest regard by utilities, agencies, Tribes and NGOs for his wisdom, judgment and experience in steering licensing processes to successful outcomes.”

This year, the inaugural “Hiring for Hydro” (H4H) 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 was attended by 45 students and professors from nine Northwest colleges. The attendees, who will “generate hydropower’s future” workforce, drew industry members and their recruiters from the conference. Sponsors of the event included the Bonneville Power Administration, Chelan County PUD, Idaho Power, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Portland General Electric, Tacoma Power, MWH, Bureau of Reclamation, NWHA 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 2018 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 2018 NWHA Annual Conference will be held in Portland Feb. 21-23.  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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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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