Community Engagement

Zahn named CEO of JEA, Keene is new TPPA executive director

Russ Keene becomes TPPA’s sixth executive director

Longtime Austin public affairs executive Russ Keene joined the Texas Public Power Association in early December as the association’s 6th executive director. The TPPA executive director search was conducted in September-October 2018 and led by a seven-member Search Committee that selected Keene from among nine applicants. Keene joins TPPA most recently from Crossnore Group LLC, an Austin-based public affairs/public relations firm he cofounded in 2008. Keene’s policy sector expertise is in the energy, transportation and healthcare sectors. He brings knowledge of the regulated and deregulated utility sectors, having been employed earlier in his career with the American Gas Association and the former Enserch Corp/Lone Star Gas Co., and he counts many electricity clients over the years including Avangrid, CenterPoint Energy, Midwest ISO, Public Utility Commission of Texas and Reliant Energy. Keene’s firm has managed the electric vehicle coalition Plug-in Texas for the past ten years and he is considered one of the state’s foremost authorities on the future electrification of transportation.

Aaron Zahn named JEA CEO and Managing Director

The Board of Directors for Florida-based public power utility JEA named Aaron Zahn Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director on Nov. 27. Zahn has served as Interim CEO and Managing Director of JEA since April 2018, when the Board of Directors voted to appoint him to lead the Authority until a permanent CEO was selected. Prior to coming to JEA, he was Chairman and CEO of BCR Environmental Corporation and also served as a JEA Board member. During his interim assignment, Zahn initiated a strategic plan to transition the current JEA operating model into the JEA of the future, developing new vision, mission and key metric guidelines. Zahn established a new corporate innovation process to evaluate, plan and launch corporate growth initiatives such as electrification, non-core real estate asset monetization and an innovation hub for evaluating new systems and tools to drive value in JEA’s core electric and water business. Zahn also successfully negotiated a COJ contribution agreement extension to provide a stable capital policy for JEA through 2023.  

Brenda Hampton named new GM of Independence Power and Light

The City of Independence, Mo., on Dec. 21 announced the hiring of Brenda Hampton as the new City of Independence Power and Light Department General Manager. Hampton comes to the city from Vista Energy, a Texas-based company. Her start date is Jan. 22, 2019. As the Director of Regulatory Policy at Vistra Energy, Hampton has coordinated certain regulatory advocacy efforts for Luminant Energy, Luminant Generation, and Dynegy, all subsidiaries of Vistra Energy. Vistra operates in 12 states and six of the seven competitive markets in the U.S. with a diverse generation fleet totaling approximately 41,000 megawatts. Prior to her current role, Hampton has held leadership positions in gas, coal and nuclear generating plants. Hampton serves on the Board of the North American Generator Forum and the Texas Reliability Entity (Texas RE), which acts as the Public Utility Commission of Texas's Reliability Monitor and the regional regulator for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. She also holds elected positions on NERC, Texas RE, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Dave Tamayo Elected SMUD board president

SMUD’s Board of Directors elected Dave Tamayo as its new president of the board. His term will run from January through December 2019. Tamayo was elected to the SMUD board in 2014 and previously served as vice president. He represents Ward 6, which includes the Meadowview, Oak Park, Parkway, Airport and Valley Hi neighborhoods. Tamayo has lived in the Fruitridge Manor neighborhood of south Sacramento since 1989, where he raised his family and has long been active in community affairs. He has led efforts to establish science programs and gardens in local schools, co-founded his neighborhood association, and successfully advocated for public parks, affordable housing and urban infill. Tamayo has served on a number of public boards and commissions, including the South Sacramento Planning Advisory Committee, the Sacramento Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. He is currently the vice president of the California Structural Pest Control Board, where he works with industry to support improvements in consumer protection and professional standards. He also has served on the boards of the nonprofit Sacramento Mutual Housing Association, Sacramento County Alliance of Neighborhoods, and the Sacramento Urban Creeks Council.

Andrew Boatright to serve as next manager for the Zeeland Board of Public Works

Michigan-based public power utility Zeeland Board of Public Works announced that Andrew Boatright has been approved as the next utilities manager. Boatright comes to Zeeland with over thirty-five years of experience in the public sector, primarily in the public power sector. Most recently, Boatright served as Deputy Director and Acting Director for the City of Independence Power and Light.  Prior to that, he was Electric Utility Manager at the City of Westerville, Ohio. Boatright also sat on the American Public Power Association Board of Directors and served as Chair of the Association from 2016 to 2017. Boatright will be replacing current General Manager Bill Cook, who is retiring January 21, 2019.

Dawn Roth Lindell named WAPA’s new senior vice president

Dawn Roth Lindell has been named Western Area Power Administration's new senior vice president and Rocky Mountain regional manager. She will begin in the position Jan. 20. As regional manager, Roth Lindell will lead around 350 employees in marketing and delivering federal hydropower. The region also operates and maintains a network of more than 3,400 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. Roth Lindell began working at WAPA in 2013 as senior vice president and chief information officer. In that position, she led the operation of WAPA-wide information technology programs and aligned multiple IT departments into one organization. Her efforts furthered compliance with current laws and regulations, improved customer service and strengthened the IT acquisition process, critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity. Currently, Roth Lindell is senior vice president and acting Sierra Nevada regional manager. Before that, she was the acting executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Jeanne Van Meter appointed to second five-year term on KUA board

The Kissimmee City Commission appointed Jeanne Van Meter to a second five-year term on the Kissimmee Utility Authority board of directors. Van Meter was originally appointed to the board in 2011 to complete an unfinished term, following the death of director Jim Kasper. In 2015, she was appointed by the commission to her first full term. Van Meter is a 45-year resident of Kissimmee and a retired realtor. Van Meter will be sworn in at the utility’s October 2019 board meeting. Her new term will expire on Sept. 30, 2024.