By Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel
Walking into the WAPA Headquarters 2,555 days ago for the first time, I could never have envisioned the amazing changes, challenges and choices that have transpired or the phenomenal people, programs and progress that have led us to where we are today.
I could not have imagined that, as an organization, we would become one of the most admired in the electric utility industry, that our processes would be emulated by utilities across the country and that, to paraphrase an old EF Hutton TV commercial, when WAPA talks, people listen. The evidence of your success is all around: industry awards and recognition, lowering or keeping rates flat for 80% of our customers, being listed among the Top 25% of Best Places to Work and being called on for support in national and even international crises.
We have done this through some dramatic changes and challenges both politically and structurally for our industry. By following Strategic Roadmap 2024, which we created as an organization, we have dramatically improved processes, avoiding more than $93 million in costs while lowering rates. We have made WAPA far more inclusive and diverse, taking advantage of the contributions of all employees. We have led the way into markets in the West, allowing our vast transmission system to be one of the drivers of change in the energy enterprise and the shift to a new economy.
Across our geographically diverse territory, WAPA employees work as a team to support the critical mission of delivering cost-effective hydropower to rural America. I have continually been impressed by your willingness to find innovative solutions and embrace continual improvements across the enterprise as we have engaged in this world of change together.
The preparations we have made in the past seven years are allowing us to continue to meet our vital mission during an event not seen in the past four generations. This pandemic is testing people across the globe, and I am proud of each and every one of you for helping keep the lights on for more than 40 million Americans.
Coming to WAPA 2,555 days ago, I knew it would be a new adventure for me; I did not know what an adventure it would be for all of us together.
I cannot thank you all enough for the support, dedication to each other and commitment to our mission and to the communities we serve.
Thank you for the greatest seven years of my career. Thank you for being adaptable. Thank you for being safe. Thank you for a giving me the honor of working alongside the best in the business.
Please keep yourself healthy in mind and healthy in spirit.