Picture Energy: APPA National Conference in New Orleans

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2018

The jazz was hot in mid-June, at the American Public Power Association's National Conference in New Orleans. See the magazine layout and photos here.

Coleman Smoak, general manager of Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, took the reins as chair of the APPA Board, graciously handed over by Wally Hass, general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Public Power Matters will be Smoak's theme over the coming year.

We always look forward to the general session with the execs panel. This year, APPA CEO Sue Kelly moderated the panel of David Wade, CEO of the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga; Doug Hunter, CEO of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems; Arlen Orchard, CEO of Sacramento Municipal Utility District; and Tom Roiniotis, general manager of Longmont Power & Communications.

We caught a few of the breakout sessions. Rob Chapman, a vice president of EPRI, led the session Electrification: When, Why and How. Haas, Orchard and Peter Hayes, an associate general manager of Salt River Project, led the session Public-Public Partnerships: Lighting Up the Navajo Nation.

Another favorite is the general session with the annual awards. Hunter was given the highest honor granted by APPA, for exceptional leadership and dedication to public power, the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award.

It's always fun to see who wins the Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award. This goes to managers of small utilities with small staff that must assume multiple roles. This year, Seven Hats went to Tom Kane of Hawarden Municipal Utilities, Bernard "Pudder" Linne of Troy Utilities, Bruce Metz of Jackson Center Municipal Electric System, Merl Page of City of Warmego, Kansas, and Patrick Weber of Eagle River Light and Water.

And the Energy Innovator Award as well. Three utilities won it this year, Braintree Electric Light Department, CPS Energy and New York Power Authority.

It wasn't just Smoak who took on new responsibilities for the coming year. Decosta Jenkins, CEO of Nashville Electric Service, is now chair-elect of APPA. Jolene Thompson, of American Municipal Power, is now vice chair.

Smoak chose five members of the Board to serve on the executive committee. They're Tim Burke, CEO of Omaha Public Power District; Tony Cannon, CEO of Greenville Utilities Commission; Leslie James, executive director of Colorado River Energy Distributors Association; Andrew McMahon, superintendent of Town of Massena; and Ron Skagen, commissioner of Douglas County Public Utility District.

Six were newly elected to the Board. They're Mark Chesney, CEO of Kansas Power Pool; Todd Gale, general manager of Columbus Light and Water; David Osburn, general manager of Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority; Laurie Mangum, energy director for City of St. George; Darrel Wenzel, CEO of Waverly Utilities; and David Wright, general manager of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

And five were re-elected to the Board. They're Fred Clark, Jr., CEO of Alabama Municipal Electric Authority; David Koster, general manager of Holland Board of Public Works; Orchard; Steve Rentfrow, general manager of Crisp County Power Commission; and Thompson.