Western customers recognized for contributions to utility industry

At Western, we know our customers are hardworking, talented and dedicated to the utility industry, so it makes us feel good when other industry organizations take notice, as the American Public Power Association (APPA) did this year. During the APPA national conference in June, the association honored Brad Roos of Marshall Municipal Utilities and Walter Wolf of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority with its James D. Donovan Individual Achievement Award.

The award, named for one of the founders and first president of APPA, recognizes those who have made great individual contributions to the electric utility industry and to public power.

Brad Roos, general manager of Marshall Municipal Utilities, is a third generation utility professional. (Photo by Marshall Municipal Utilities)

Brad Roos, general manager of Marshall Municipal Utilities, is a third generation utility professional. (Photo by Marshall Municipal Utilities)

Family history in public power
Brad Roos, general manager of Marshall Municipal Utilities in Marshall, Minnesota, is a third generation public power utility professional whose father and grandfather were utility managers in Iowa. In addition to serving on APPA’s board and several committees, Roos is also a past president of Mid-West Electric Consumers Association, which protects the interests of federal power customers in the Missouri Basin. “Brad has been a vocal advocate for Western and a tireless public servant,” noted Energy Services Manager Ron Horstman.

Roos, who attended the annual meeting to accept the award in person, acknowledged that he shares the honor with the utilities and organizations he has worked for, past and present. “I am honored to receive the James D. Donovan award, and I believe it also recognizes the municipal electric utilities I worked for in Denison, Iowa, and Marshall, Minnesota, and their involvement in our regional, state and national utility organizations,” he said. “Although our individual consumer-owned utilities may be small and spread out all over America, when we work together, our collective voices are heard on the issue under consideration.”

Walter Wolf has served as chief legal counsel of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority since 1959. (Photo by Navajo Tribal Utility Authority)

Walter Wolf has served as chief legal counsel of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority since 1959. (Photo by Navajo Tribal Utility Authority)

Bringing power to Navajo Nation
As chief legal counsel for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority since 1959, Walter Wolf has been instrumental in developing electric resources in the southwest. Electrification of the Navajo Nation’s 27,000-square-mile service area is an ongoing challenge due to a lack of infrastructure and consistent funding, but Wolf has worked tirelessly to extend electric service to remote customers. He also helped to create the Native American Power Pool with Western, a power allocation sharing system that allowed tribes to benefit from low-cost hydropower even if they didn’t have an operating utility.

Brent Osiek, Contracts and Energy Services manager in Western’s CRSP Management Center, said, “Walter Wolf has been a wonderful collaborator over the years in solving problems with patience, wisdom and common sense. He’s been a great partner in working with Western.”

“Energy distribution was an unexplored possibility for Navajo leaders at the time Walter was hired,” recalled Navajo Tribal Utility Authority General Manager Walter W. Haase. “It seemed completely out of reach, until Walter presented to tribal leaders a plan whereby they can create an electric tribal utility.”

Since then, he added, Wolf has written almost every significant document relating to the development and progress of NTUA. “We sincerely congratulate him as he deserves this recognition,” said Haase.

“Every power line that we build is an achievement, and every family that we connect is a success story,” said Wolf. “I’m happy that I have accomplished something this significant in my lifetime. I am very lucky.”

Western is lucky to count such committed and innovative professionals among our customers. We congratulate Roos and Wolf for the well-deserved recognition of their achievements in the industry and their communities.