Jonathan Aust, the Vice President of Power Operations for the Colorado River Storage Project, Desert Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

Get to Know Jon Aust: Vice President of Power Operations

Jonathan Aust, the Vice President of Power Operations for the Colorado River Storage Project, Desert Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, oversees two 24/7 control centers in Loveland, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, supporting a seven-state region. Jon leads a team of 80+ employees in support of the safe, reliable and efficient operation of over 7,000 miles of transmission and delivery of energy from 34 of WAPA’s hydroelectric powerplants. 

What brought you to WAPA initially? 

I was seeking a change in work and wanted to be closer to home. At the time, I was commuting to San Francisco, where I worked for McKesson, a pharmaceutical wholesaler. When WAPA had an open contract position working with their remote terminal unit and supervisory control and data acquisition teams in 2001, I joined as a contractor. Recognizing the upcoming wave of retirements in the industry, I committed to becoming a federal employee.  

What has been your most rewarding experience at WAPA so far? 

Engaging with the customers has been the most rewarding aspect of my journey. The transition from the Rocky Mountain Reserve Sharing Group to the Northwest Power Pool Reserve Sharing Group stands out as a significant accomplishment. This change not only benefited the Western Area Colorado Missouri Balancing Authority but also resulted in substantial cost savings for WAPA and its customers, amounting to over $3 million per year. It was a wide-reaching effort that not just involved Power Operations, but Contracts and Settlements in both CRSP and RM and the Energy Management and Marketing Office staff in CRSP’s Montrose office.  

What is something most people do not know about you? 

Many people may be surprised to learn that I played minor league hockey for the Jacksonville Bullets in the mid-90s for two years. Additionally, I have a passion for collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, which I continue to enjoy.  

What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author? 

The last book I read was Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown. Brown is one of my favorite professional authors. On a personal level, I delve into various fantasy novels, and my favorite authors are George R.R. Martin and R.A. Salvatore.  

What is your style for both communication and leadership? 

I tend to communicate in a conversational manner, whether in writing or face-to-face interactions. Building personal connections with individuals before diving into work discussions is important to me. As a leader, I embrace a servant leadership approach, ensuring my team members have the necessary tools and time to succeed. I find joy in celebrating success as a team while recognizing and appreciating individual contributors who go above and beyond.  

During WAPA’s period of maximum telework, what was the most valuable lesson you learned as a leader?  

One crucial lesson I learned during the period of maximum telework was the importance of moderation. Initially, it was easy to blur the boundaries between work and home when my office was just a 30-second walk away. To address this, I established a routine that allowed for clear separation, such as designating specific spots for work and personal time. It was essential to strike a balance and not allow work to encroach upon personal life, aligning with the work-life balance message I conveyed to my leadership team.  

Jon’s career at WAPA has been characterized by a commitment to excellence in Power Operations. Through his role as Vice President of Power Operations for CRSP, DSW and RM, he has successfully led his team in ensuring the safe and efficient transmission and delivery of energy. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Aust’s diverse interests, from playing minor league hockey to his love for collectible card games and literature, show that his interests are multifaceted. If you have a chance to meet him, take time to get to know him, because he’ll make time for you. 

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Last modified on March 12th, 2024