This is the official bio and statements asked of me by GVEA in 2015. My update for 2018 will be available in early April. While I’ve learned a lot in my 3 years on the board and have been actively engaged in all issues that come before us, my special focus remains on transparency, member communications, and common sense.
1083 Esro Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99712
Total length of time as a GVEA member (#years): 43
How long have you lived in this district?: 43
How long have you lived in Alaska: 43
Personal interests/hobbies: Outdoor recreation, chain sawing, playing guitar and mandolin, sound engineering, photography, contributing to community.
Former occupations: Information Systems Administrator for UAF 12 years; Facilities, Energy and Housing and Telecommunications Manager for Tanana Chiefs 15 years, Energy auditor 5 years, PBX Journeyman Installer for FMUS 8 years.
Education: B.A. Psychology, Telecommunications Journeyman, Certified Energy Auditor, Cisco Networking (CCNA), many other certifications in the course of my professions.
List any organization(s) to which you belong. Please list responsibilities, offices held and dates of service:
• Golden Valley Electric Association, 1972-present, member-owner
• University of Alaska Fairbanks Master Plan Committee: 2005 – present, currently community representative
• Contra Borealis Dancers board of directors: 1993 – present, currently vice-president
• Esro Road Association commissioner: 2008 – present, currently president
• Northern Lights Council of Dancers board of directors: 2013 – present, currently vice-president
• Friends of Koponen Homestead (promoting non-motorized trails in the Chena Ridge area): 2014 – present, board member
• Fairbanks North Star Borough Platting Board 1983-1984
• Fairbanks North Star Borough Planning Commission 1984-1987
• International Facilities Manager Association member 1991-2000
• UAF Staff Council governance representative 2002-2013
Areas of special interest/community service
I have always been one to give to my community where the need was demonstrated and I had the expertise to give. Government transparency, promoting and implementing sustainable and practical energy policy.
What distinguishes you from other candidates?
I have been a GVEA member advocate for many years, attending literally hundreds of board meetings and nearly every annual meeting. I have promoted transparency of GVEA to the membership, responsible investment, reasonable rates, reliable service, and renewable energy and policies to help members use energy efficiently. I am well-versed with GVEA issues from operations, rates, policies and plans, regulations, generation, transmission, statewide and national energy policy, something most board candidates won’t bring without 3-5 years of service.
From my advocacy for more transparency, GVEA members are now empowered with website access to meeting agendas, minutes, non-executive session background materials, financial reports and tax statements, board membership on GVEA and external committees, all items to which member-owners have a right to know.
I am aware of and willing to dedicate the time and energy that an engaged board member must have to effectively serve the Co-op and our members.
1. Why are you running for GVEA’s board?
GVEA plays an essential role in most of our lives by providing electrical service in Interior Alaska. My dedicated advocacy as a member has led to increased transparency to the membership. In the process I have learned a lot about GVEA and the electrical industry. I feel prepared to dedicate the time and effort to serve on the board and help our cooperative meet the many challenges of service, energy costs, regulation, debt, and technology. I also expect to be able to expand my efforts to keep members engaged.
2. What business, technical and governance knowledge, skills and experience will you bring to GVEA’s Board of Directors?
I have extensive experience and knowledge of GVEA, from the technical and governance to policy and regulatory. I have served on and chaired non-profit boards. I am comfortable with technology and have a robust knowledge and understanding of statewide and national energy policy.
GVEA is a complex $250 million business, but also is a non-profit cooperative where we, the members, are also owners. I will use my skills, knowledge, and experience to not only play an active part in overall policy and direction, but also to engage the members more in our cooperative.
Unlike many new board members who typically require 3-5 years to learn the business, I will be effective from the start – able to come in already knowing and understanding the issues faced by GVEA and the electrical industry in Alaska and the technology that delivers us electricity.
3. What do you perceive as your role and responsibilities as a GVEA Director?
The basic duties of a director are to hire the CEO, review and approve the budget, and set policy and goals. Directors importantly exercise the ultimate fiduciary responsibility for our coop on behalf of the members. Within that framework fall many tasks that can take 10-20 hours a week to be effective. I will dedicate my time to helping our co-op be the best it can in meeting our needs of reasonable rates, reliability and trying to keep debt under control. We also insure we follow our bylaws and the 7 Core Cooperative Principles I reference at gvea.chena.org
4. What specific things would you like to accomplish as a GVEA Director?
Reasonable rates, reliable service, responsible investment, transparency and improved two way communication with members. We don’t drive the train with bringing natural gas or propane to Fairbanks, but we have a major role and should continue that effort.
One area worthy of attention is a new rate study that will be designed once Healy 2 is on-line. I want to make sure that the cost-causer, cost-payer method used will be fair and reasonable to all classes of service.
I will help the board meet their established renewable energy goals. This will require collaboration with other utilities, independent power producers, and state agencies.
We need an effective Energy Sense program.
I advocate bringing back an incentive to register for the annual meeting, especially if we again don’t achieve quorum this year.
5. What do you think should be GVEA’s energy goals and objectives?
GVEA has the most diverse fuel mix of any utility in the state. With the completion of Healy 2 and the announced reduction at Ft. Knox in 2017, we will have more generation capacity than we need. We need more economical options than oil for meeting our peak demands. Natural gas and propane remain options, more hydropower requires state investment and working with the other Railbelt utilities, who also have a surplus of generation capacity. GVEA should be and is looking at ways to use that surplus energy from Southcentral utilities and upgrading the Intertie from Wasilla to Healy.
There are a lot of moving parts, but it comes down to reasonable rates, reliability and responsible investment. We can also work with members through voluntary means with the use of technology to reduce peak demand with a notification system and/or smart meters.
6. What would you do to position GVEA for the future?
We must address our high debt load, which adds to the Utility charge on your bill. The membership removed the $450 million borrowing cap in 2008. With the completion of Healy 2, our debt will be about $700 million. Members are reducing consumption, but paying back debt then just gets spread over fewer kilowatts.
We must become more efficient with new technologies and engagement. While the cheapest source of energy is that which we don’t use, we need to focus on sustainable ways to generate the energy we do use.