Georgia’s Oglethorpe Power names new president

Oglethorpe Power Corporation’s board of directors has unanimously appointed Michael L. Smith as its new president and chief executive officer. Smith takes over for the outgoing Tom Smith, whose tenure ended late last year.

Michael L. Smith
Michael L. Smith

Prior to his selection by Oglethorpe Power, Michael Smith spent more than 30 years in the energy industry, with experience in finance, risk control and operations.

Michael Smith most recently served as president and CEO of Georgia Transmission Corporation, which grew in assets from $1.4 billion to $2 billion and set records for improved reliability and service since his appointment in 2005.

“We were impressed by Mike’s work experience, industry knowledge and leadership capabilities, and are confident in his ability to continue to move Oglethorpe forward in order to meet the energy needs of our members,” board of directors Chairman Benny Denham said.

Oglethorpe is a power supply co-op, with more than $8 billion in hydroelectric, coal, natural gas and nuclear assets that provide energy to more than 4 million Georgia consumers in 38 member systems.

Bechtel president named CEO

Bechtel Corp. President William N. Dudley was named chief executive officer of the company in February, replacing Riley P. Bechtel. Bechtel will remain with the company as chairman but stepped down from the CEO role “for health reasons,” according to the company.

Dudley has served as corporate president and chief operating officer since 2008, after joining the engineering, construction and project management firm in 1981. As president and COO, Dudley oversaw all of the company’s business units: oil, gas, and chemicals; power; civil; mining and metals; and government services. During his time with the firm, he was president of the oil, gas and chemicals business unit, a general manager for Southeast Asia, a country manager for Thailand, and president of Bechtel’s Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia organization.

Dudley received his undergraduate civil engineering degree at Purdue University and his MBA at the University of Houston.

No one had been appointed to fill the COO position at the time of publication.

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Reclamation makes several personnel changes

Max Spiker
Max Spiker

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has announced several recent personnel changes.

Reclamation selected Max Spiker as power resources manager in November 2013. Spiker’s responsibilities include managing the hydropower operation and maintenance, reliability compliance and renewable energy programs.

Since 2010, Spiker has been the operation and maintenance program manager in the power resources office, providing policy direction and oversight of the operation and maintenance of 53 federal power facilities in the 17 Western states.

Prior to that, Spiker was the Upper Colorado Region Power Manager, where he managed the program on the upper Colorado River and its tributaries, including Glen Canyon Dam, Flaming Gorge Dam and the facilities on the Gunnison River.

Over a more than 25-year career with Reclamation, Spiker has held multiple positions, including mechanical journeyman at Hoover Dam; facility manager at Green Mountain Dam, Estes Lake and Marys Lake power plants; facility manager of the Colorado – Big Thompson Project; and deputy power manager of the Upper Colorado Region.

Spiker graduated from Weber State University with an Associate of Science degree in construction technology in 1988.

In addition, Reclamation has named Kerry McCalman the interim power manager at 6,809-MW Grand Coulee Dam. McCalman is Reclamation’s senior advisor for the hydropower and electric reliability compliance office based in Denver.

He replaces Mark Jenson, who has been the Grand Coulee power manager since April 2011. Jenson will remain at Grand Coulee Dam to lead the project management group, which is directly involved in repairing, replacing, and upgrading power equipment throughout the facility.

Recruitment is ongoing for a new Grand Coulee power manager.

Lastly, Donald R. Glaser retired in January after more than 30 years of federal government service. Most recently, Glaser served as the Mid-Pacific Regional Director and Director of the Technical Service Center. Prior to this, he spent 25 years with Reclamation in a number of roles, including assistant commissioner for resources management and deputy commissioner for operations.

Glaser will continue on a part-time basis working in the policy and administration office located in Denver, Colo.

In recognition of his service throughout his career, Glaser was awarded the Department of the Interior’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Award. He received the award in 2012 from former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Reclamation is the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western U.S., with a total of 53 power plants, as well as 600 dams and reservoirs.

Harding named chief dam safety engineer

Peggy Harding recently was hired as the chief dam safety engineer for Turlock Irrigation District in Turlock, Calif., where she is responsible for an extensive dam safety program.

Harding is a licensed professional engineer with more than 32 years of experience with design, modification, safety evaluation and risk mitigation of dams. In addition to her new role, Harding is the owner of Peggy Ann Harding LLC, a licensed professional engineering design firm offering Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation coordination, dam safety program development, and modification and assessment of dam safety protocols.

Before joining Turlock Irrigation District, Harding spent 21 years with FERC as a regional engineer, east branch chief and civil engineer, responsible for the safety of up to 400 dams in the Midwest region. She also previously held positions with Mead and Hunt Inc. and Integral SA.

Harding received her undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and her graduate degree in mining engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Turlock Irrigation District is a publicly-owned utility in Turlock, Calif., that provides power to more than 98,000 residential, farm, business, industrial, and municipal customers.

Cochran named hydro project manager at Merced

Bill Cochran has been hired by the Merced Irrigation District in Merced, Calif., as a project manager of the 103.5-MW Merced River project.

Prior to this role, he spent 17 years as the supervising engineer with the California Department of Water Resources. In this position, Cochran implemented nearly $1 billion in environmental, recreational and economic preservation, mitigation and enhancement projects. He also served as an electrical engineer with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California.

Merced Irrigation District is a public utility that provides power to about 6,000 residential and 1,300 business customers. The district owns and operates the Merced River project in Mariposa County, Calif., on the Merced River.

Steve Edwards assumes leadership role at Black & Veatch

Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards is the new chairman, president and chief executive officer of consulting firm Black & Veatch, succeeding Len Rodman, who retired from Black & Veatch after 42 years with the company and 15 years as CEO.

Edwards officially stepped into this position in November 2013, following a transition period that began in April.

Previously, Edwards was an executive vice president serving as executive director global EPC for Black & Veatch’s energy business. He has been a member of the company’s executive committee since 2005 and a member of the board of directors since 2012.

Edwards has worked at Black & Veatch for 35 years and has experience in a wide range of engineering and management roles. He is a licensed professional engineer and earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri.

Black & Veatch specializes in energy, water, telecommunications and government services.

Leahey named NHA deputy executive director

The National Hydropower Association board of directors has promoted Jeff Leahey to deputy executive director of the organization. Leahey has been with NHA since 2002, serving first as NHA’s regulatory affairs manager and, since January 2007, as director of government affairs.

In that capacity, Leahey has worked to advance NHA’s policy agenda, including the recent success with President Barack Obama’s signing into law the hydro licensing improvement legislation. Leahey will continue his responsibilities to monitor legislation and to advance NHA’s legislative priorities, as well as oversee NHA’s regulatory affairs activities.

As deputy executive director, Leahey will participate more in planning NHA’s strategic direction and will be more engaged in the management of NHA.

Leahey is an attorney, licensed to practice in Massachusetts. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law.

NHA is a nonprofit national association focusing on promoting the growth of hydropower in the U.S.