In 2019, WAPA stood up the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer led by Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Tracey LeBeau. As CAO, LeBeau provides leadership and direction to Headquarters and regional offices in support of the organization’s mission, business functions and programs.
The major program areas that the OCAO supports include Procurement, the Power Marketing Administration Human Resources Shared Service Center, the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, the Transmission Infrastructure Program, Natural Resources, Facilities and Fleet, Records Management and Tribal Intergovernmental Relations.
WAPA has accomplished many things as a result of the inception of the OCAO.
OEID developed a dashboard to share WAPA’s demographic data with employees and hiring managers. This dashboard supports the organization’s Affirmative Employee Plan, which keeps WAPA in compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements and supports the Tactical Action Plan goal of Data as a Strategic Asset by using data to inform hiring decisions.
Another OCAO accomplishment has been the completion of a WAPA-wide records management inventory, and the procurement and implementation of Alfresco. Alfresco is the open-source, cloud-based software solution WAPA now uses for managing its records. Alfresco helps to manage WAPA’s content and securely governs this information.
TIP renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Treasury. TIP is a unique federal infrastructure financing program aimed at expanding and modernizing the electric grid by making strategic loans for qualifying project applicants, and the MOU is the document that grants TIP permission to stay in business.
TIP staff offers a wealth of experience and expertise to address development hurdles when needed for these expansion and modernizations projects. Its primary goal is to leverage federal funds and attract private and other nonfederal coinvestors to support the development of critical transmission and related infrastructure.
Another OCAO success was WAPA’s Environment team partnering with the U.S. Forest Service to gain access to conduct machine clearing on two forests that hadn’t been cleared in over a decade. Through this partnership, WAPA was given permission to clear vegetation that had grown around its transmission lines. This growth increased the risk of fire and threatened the reliability of WAPA’s system.
Natural Resources also transitioned from completing Federal Register notices with a manual process to an electronic workflow. WAPA’s Federal Register notices frequently focus on rate actions or environmental impact statements.
In 2019, the Procurement team spearheaded the Category Management Oversight Board, a critical first step to implementing Category Management. The board consists of representatives of the Senior Leadership Team and Procurement Leadership. Category management is an approach to procurement that examines purchases by category.
For WAPA, these categories include construction, commodities and supplies, services and information technology. Category Management identifies opportunities to perform purchases more strategically.
Since its inception one year ago, the OCAO has been successful in meeting its goals, and is positioned to achieve even more as it serves WAPA into the future.
Note: Weiss is a contract specialist.