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Washington PUD Association presents 2014 awards

The Washington Public Utility Districts Association presented its annual awards recognizing the outstanding dedicated service and commitment of individuals serving PUDs at the organization’s Annual Conference Thursday, December 4 in Vancouver, Washington. The Washington PUD Association presents awards annually for lifetime achievement, commitment to public service, and meritorious action in a life-threatening situation. In addition, the Association also presents a $1,000 educational scholarship to a graduating senior of a PUD employee.

Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Asotin PUD Commissioner Gary Hicks and Klickitat PUD Chief Operating Officer Ron Ihrig.  The Washington PUD Association awarded two lifetime achievement awards this year. The award is the highest honor of the Washington Public Utility Districts Association.

Asotin PUD Commissioner Gary Hicks was presented with the Washington PUD Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his exceptional leadership, dedication, and advocacy work on behalf of public utility districts. Hicks has served 30 years on the Asotin County PUD Board of Commissioners and was instrumental in the formation of the PUD, actively working and campaigning in support of its formation.  Hicks was recognized for his leadership during his years of service on the Board, working to keep rates reasonable and affordable and retiring debt while ensuring system reliability.

Klickitat County PUD Chief Operating Officer Ron Ihrig was also honored with the Washington PUD Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his 35 years of dedicated service to customers.  Ihrig began working for the PUD in 1979 as a groundman and worked his way up to become the Director of Operations and Generation and Chief Operations Officer.  Ihrig was honored for his contributions to the PUD. He was responsible for the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility in the town of Lyle and the replacement of the collection system and treatment facility in the town of Klickitat. He is also a key player in the current development of a new water system in Bickleton. On the electric side, under Ihrig’s leadership, the PUD built over 50 miles of high voltage transmission lines and eight substations which support renewable wind development in the state.  Ihrig’s achievements go beyond the PUD and the Association recognized his dedication to community service serving as a County Commissioner, Mayor of the City of Goldendale, City of Goldendale Councilman, Klickitat Valley Health Board Member, County Board of Adjustment member, County Fair Board President as well as leadership roles in utility organizations.

William T. Elmgren Public Service Award presented to Chelan County PUD employee Sarah DeLozier
Chelan PUD New Services Coordinator Sarah DeLozier received the Washington PUD Association’s William T. Elmgren Public Service Award in recognition for her work in support of the Andrew York Lineman Rodeo.  The award recognizes outstanding public service by a PUD employee.  DeLozier was honored for her commitment and leadership in the development of the Andrew York Lineman Rodeo, a regional event that raised more than $190,000 for the endowment of the Andrew York Memorial Scholarship.  The event honors the memory of Andrew York, a Chelan PUD journeyman lineman who died after he was struck while on the job by a drunken driver.  The event’s mission is to raise awareness of the impacts of impaired driving and the dangers of not wearing seatbelts.  DeLozier volunteered in the early years of the event helping bring structure to the Rodeo and secure non-profit status. She served as one of three members of the memorial association’s board of directors. DeLozier assumed a long list of volunteer duties and is credited with playing a key role in the decade of success of the Andrew York Lineman Rodeo.

Washington PUD Association presents Good Samaritan Award to Chelan PUD crew and Cowlitz PUD employee.
This year the Association awarded two Good Samaritan Awards for lifesaving efforts by PUD employees.  The Chelan PUD crew consisting of Cindy Bowen-Lorrain, Darren Davis, Todd Melton, Chris Shimer and Daniel Martyn were recognized for their quick actions when one of their fellow PUD employees suffered a cardiac emergency.  The employees immediately came to the aid of their co-worker administering CPR and AED. Thanks to their life saving interventions, the employee is alive and well today.

Cowlitz PUD Purchasing Manager Jeff Moses was presented with the Good Samaritan Award for coming to the aid of boaters thrown into the frigid water near the mouth of the Columbia River after their vessel struck rocks.  Moses and his wife Cindy were crabbing in November last year when they witnessed a boat hit some hidden rocks at the end of a jetty.  The boat became airborne after being cut open by the rocks and disappeared under the water’s surface.  Jeff and Cindy quickly responded, pulling four of the five boaters from the water while a fifth was aided by another boat in the area.  All the boaters were cold but uninjured and taken to the coast guard station.  

Walkley Educational Scholarship awarded to senior from W.F. West High School
The Washington PUD Association presented Tiana Parker, the daughter of Thurston County PUD employee Julie Parker, with a $1,000 educational scholarship.  The Walkley Educational Scholarship is awarded to a high school student who is a child of a PUD employee. The scholarship was established by Glenn and Elvira Walkley. Glen was a Franklin County PUD Commissioner from 1945 to 1980.

Parker is a senior at W.F. West High School in Chehalis where she plays basketball and maintains a 3.67 grade point average.  Parker has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN

Fast Facts about PUDs

Public utility districts are not-for-profit, community-owned utilities.

28 PUDs serve customers across Washington.

PUDs provide electric, water, sewer and wholesale telecommunications services.

PUDs are governed by locally-elected Commissioners that live in the communities they serve.

Washington voters established the right to form public utility districts in 1930 when they passed Initiative No. 1.

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The Washington Public Utility Districts Association represents 27 nonprofit, community-owned utilities that provide electricity, water and wastewater services, and wholesale telecommunications to more than 1.7 million people in Washington. In October 2007, WPUDA moved into its new headquarters in Olympia, the first new-construction office building in the state to receive “platinum” designation under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.. Watch video.

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What are PUDs?

Public Utility Districts are are nonprofit, locally regulated utilities that are created by a vote of the people. They were authorized in 1930 by a voter-approved initiative. Their charter under state law is to “conserve the water and power resources of the State of Washington for the benefit of the people thereof, and to supply public utility service, including water and electricity for all uses."

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