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Steve Wright named next Chelan PUD general manager

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Steve Wright named next Chelan PUD general manager

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July 29, 2013
(Wenatchee, WA) The Chelan PUD Commission today unanimously selected Steve Wright as the new general manager for the District. Wright joins the PUD after 32 years at the Bonneville Power Administration, the last 12 as the head of the federal power marketing agency.

“The Commission asked PUD customers and employees about the qualities they would want in the next general manager,” said Carnan Bergren, president of the District’s Board of Commissioners. “We listened carefully to their suggestions and are confident that we have selected a great individual to lead the PUD.”

In a survey conducted in May, the Commission received feedback about what customers and employees  would like to see in the next general manager. Some of the recurring qualities mentioned were:

  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • A public power background
  • Electric industry experience
  • Financial background

We were fortunate to have a number of highly qualified candidates,” said PUD Commissioner Ann Congdon. “I am excited Steve has been selected as our next general manager. He embodies the qualities we heard were important to our customers and our employees. His extensive background in public power will serve us well.”

Commissioner Dennis Bolz added, “Each commissioner considered the issues we face today and in the not-to-distant future, and made up their own mind about who would bring the best set of skills to lead this organization on behalf of our customer-owners. Although we had a long deliberation process,  I feel Steve represents recognized leadership within the electric utility industry, and particularly within the Northwest public power arena. He will be an effective voice for Chelan PUD in the years ahead.”

“It has been a long process,” states Commissioner Norm Gutzwiler. “The commission listened carefully to customers and employees and we challenged ourselves to select the best person. In the end, we had three excellent candidates. It was a tough decision, but we know we have the right person. Steve is looking forward to engaging customers and employees in meaningful conversations to serve the best interests of the utility.”

“I concur with my fellow commissioners about the qualities Steve possesses,” agreed Commissioner Randy Smith. “But even more important to me was the incredible humility he demonstrated, despite his incredible stature and numerous professional successes. This speaks well to how he will interact with the Commission, our employees and the community at large.”

“Steve will begin Sept. 3, replacing John Janney who has graciously agreed to stay on until Sept 15 for a period of transition,” added Commissioner Bergren. “Chelan PUD is fortunate to have had the leadership of John these past six years. As Chief Financial and Risk Officer and then General Manager, John guided the District through some rough financial waters with a steady hand at the helm. We will miss his down-to-earth approach and his personal integrity.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the beautiful Chelan County community,” Wright said. “I am grateful that the Chelan County PUD Board has given me the opportunity to rejoin the public power world and to be a part of the incredible power of the Columbia River. I look forward to continuing to serve the public interest and to be a part of the great team at the PUD.”

Steve Wright began his professional career at the Bonneville Power Administration in the energy conservation division in 1981. He held a number of positions within BPA, most recently as administrator. Wright graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in public administration.   He is married and has three children ages 20, 16 and 13.

Wright is the 12th general manager since Chelan PUD was formed in 1936. Chelan PUD is a multi-faceted utility providing electricity at some of the lowest rates in the country, as well as providing water, wastewater and telecommunications services and an extensive network of parks and recreational facilities for the enjoyment of customers and visitors to the Central Washington area.

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