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Chelan County PUD hires new leader for its fiber-optic system

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Chelan County PUD hires new leader for its fiber-optic system

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August 29, 2012
(Wenatchee, WA) James M. “Mike” Coleman, a business executive with extensive experience at SBC Corporation, has been hired by Chelan County PUD to oversee its fiber-optic network and move it to financial self-sufficiency while maintaining high reliability and quality service.

Coleman has more than 23 years of telecommunications industry experience in executive leadership, product and process development, sales, information technology services and network operations. He has held senior management positions directing internal startup activities, consolidations and organizational restructuring. He is familiar with the Wenatchee area and the local fiber system from consulting work he did for Genext, a local fiber service provider, in 2006.

“Mike’s experience and enthusiasm for the job of taking our fiber-optic system into a self-sustaining position will be just what Chelan PUD needs as our fiber system stabilizes its financial footings and prepares to offer reliable service for the long term in collaboration with our local service providers,” said PUD General Manager John Janney.

Coleman met with his Fiber and Telecommunications team Aug. 27 and plans to begin work full-time by mid-September after completing his move to Wenatchee from Texas. He will report directly to Janney as a member of the PUD’s Senior Management Team.

“It is clear that ratepayers value the network and want the services,” said Coleman, “but they also want financial stability and a self-sustaining organization. I recognize the challenges, and I want to put my talents to use in achieving those goals.”

Chelan PUD has invested approximately $120 million in a fiber-optic network that is available to about 70 percent of county residents. After extensive community outreach including public meetings, surveys and focus groups, the PUD adopted a new strategic plan for fiber in April. Hiring Coleman satisfies part of that plan by installing a new leader for the system who would be able to keep the system functioning reliably and move it toward self-sufficiency and expansion. If successful, it’s possible the PUD fiber network may generate enough revenue to enable limited expansion in the future.

Coleman succeeds Chris Church, who served as interim manager of the fiber system as the strategic plan was developed. Church will return to his full-time duties as director of Engineering Services.

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