Illustration: Closed Circuit text over image of landscape

Welcome to the new home of Closed Circuit, WAPA’s source of news and feature stories spanning our 15-state territory. Explore these articles for insights and news directly from WAPA’s leaders, initiatives and functional groups as we navigate the rapidly changing energy sector. Start here to stay informed. As always, Closed Circuit welcomes your participation. If you wish to contribute as a writer, pitch story ideas or provide images or other content, please reach out to us at publicaffairs@wapa.gov or contact Public Affairs Specialist John Rohrer.

Employee Resource Groups

ERGs aim to help connect employees and build a sense of community within the organization. 

Nebraska storm response

Residents of several Western Nebraska communities were faced with a blistering cold front which evolved into severe winds and blizzard conditions, resulting in the loss of power for more than 12,000 customers and damage to transmission lines and towers.

Inter-regional partnership paves the way for the future

WAPA’s Colorado River Storage Project initiated a new Inter-Regional Service Partnership Agreement.

WAPA’s Annual Customer Meeting 2024 

WAPA convened its Annual Customer Meeting, continuing its tradition of fostering open dialogue and collaboration with its customers and stakeholders.

DOE seeks experts for Electricity Advisory Committee

The Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity is now accepting nominations for new members to join the Electricity Advisory Committee. 

Collaborative procurement meeting

Regional Procurement teams recently met for a three-day event aimed at fostering collaboration, breaking down regional silos and enhancing organizational effectiveness.

Leadership Spotlight: Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is a critical member of WAPA’s senior executive team for the Sierra Nevada region.

Driving Continuous Process Improvement forward

WAPA’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) program is championed by two relatively new leaders who are driving CPI forward from a long history and solid foundation for successful process improvement.

Secretary of Energy Excellence Award

In February 2024, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm presented Western Area Power Administration’s Scott Lund with the DOE Secretary of Energy Excellence Award.

Ice storm response

A strong winter storm spread layers of ice across the Interstate 94 corridor from Bismarck to Grand Forks.

DSW gleans benefits by streamlining rates

Desert Southwest recently consolidated the rates of its transmission systems, cutting administrative costs by simplifying the rates-making process.

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month, traces its origins back to February 1980, when President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation that laid the groundwork for a dedicated period to celebrate the monumental contributions of women.

Improving our safety culture at WAPA

As a learning organization, we strive to improve our processes, identify areas of improvement, and seek feedback from our employees.

Exciting evolution: the relaunch of Closed Circuit 

In the spirit of innovation and progress, we are thrilled to announce a transformation in how we connect with you, our valued customers and stakeholders.

Tools for hybrid success

We evolve and cultivate our culture and work practices to improve employee engagement, productivity and well-being.

Fiber optics to revolutionize information

From telephone and telegraph lines to 14.4k modems and satellite internet, the speed at which humans push and pull information has exponentially increased with every passing decade.

Procurement realignment

WAPA’s regional Procurement groups officially initiated a transition to a center-led organizational structure.

New employee spotlight

Stephanie Knight – WAPA’s new Inclusion and Diversity manager.

Spotlight on Paul Schwabe

In March 2022, Paul Schwabe joined WAPA as senior vice president and Transmission Infrastructure Program manager.

Exceptional Service Award winners

The Exceptional Service Award is WAPA’s most prestigious employee award.

WAPA employee recognized

Byron McCollum received the 2022 Business Utilization Director’s Award.

From backlog to blueprint excellence

Inside the hydroelectric industry the importance of accurate engineering drawings cannot be overstated.

Safety Corner

Recognizing and Avoiding Distraction both at home and in the workplace.

Safety Corner: Fire preparedness essentials

Fire can happen anywhere, and we all need to be prepared to protect ourselves

20 years of Path 15 T-line

Grid operators energized the Path 15 upgrade in autumn 2004.

Safeguarding the Colorado River ecosystem

A remarkable scientific journey took place within the depths of the Grand Canyon.

EPTC rolls out new courses for FY24

WAPA pre-registrations have far exceeded any in previous years.

DSW deploys creative security solution

The Tucson Substation riprap installation showcases how WAPA innovates in the physical security space.

WAPA.gov gets a modern makeover

Our dedicated Web Management team successfully modernized and migrated the site, significantly enhancing its functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Secure our world

Practicing cybersecurity basics can make a huge difference in protecting your information and systems that you use.

Safety Corner

Every August, WAPA begins a five-month process to revise the Power System Safety Manual, an effort made successful by employee participation.

Get to Know Jon Aust: Vice President of Power Operations

Vice President of Power Operations for CRSP, oversees two 24/7 control centers in Loveland, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, supporting a seven-state region.

WAPA completes Olmsted Power Marketing Plan 

Earlier this year, WAPA finalized and published its Final 2025 Olmsted Power Marketing Plan, which specifies the terms and conditions under which WAPA will market energy from the Olmsted Project for the next 30 years, beginning in October 2024.

ELDP graduates third group of future WAPA leaders

As participants in Leadership Development’s third cohort of the Emerging Leaders Development Program, a group of 25 candidates committed to two separate in-person, week-long training courses and an individual coaching session.

Financial Operations: Redesign better prepares supervisors

The Financial Operations group within the WAPA Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Finance and Accounting team provides a repeatable case study in workforce management and succession planning.

HPI champions promote safety, reliability and quality

Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture Program, or HPI/JC, continues to develop a framework that focuses on optimizing the performance of individuals and business units. 

Safeguarding the grid through vegetation management

Over the past several years, the United States has witnessed an increase of wildfire activity and intensity, threatening safe and reliable electrical transmission throughout the West.

The value of safety committees

Safety committees help keep WAPA employees safe on a local and organizational basis. They also can use input and participation from you.

Hydration challenge sparks health awakening

Hydration Challenge inspires better health and raises awareness about WAPA’s regional Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committees.

IT leader earns Secretary’s Achievement Award

Cybersecurity Advisor Jim Ball was recognized for participating on the Clean Energy Corps’ Core Competency Interview Team.

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes these cultures and their contributions.

Revitalizing Estes-to-Flatiron infrastructure

This transformative project will replace a pair of high voltage transmission lines that serve Estes Park.

DSW goes live in Western Energy Imbalance Market

On April 5, WAPA entered the California Independent System Operator’s WEIM.

How our people power WAPA forward

Though articles and videos, employees share how they contribute to WAPA’s mission and strategy.

Unmanned aerial system training lifts off

More than 40 of WAPA’s front-line workforce graduated from our first formalized UAS training program.

Safety Corner

Safe spring cleaning. Spring is here, and for many it is a fitting time to organize and clean their homes and workspaces.

Power restoration

With record snowfalls pounding communities across northern California, WAPA’s Sierra Nevada crews continue to battle Mother Nature’s challenges to the area’s energy grid.

Protecting the grid from solar storms

WAPA has taken an innovative step towards better protecting the electrical transmission system from the risks of space weather caused by our favorite star: the sun.

HR Shared Service Center Director

Cheryl Reese has led the Power Marketing Administrations Human Resources Shared Service Center since 2021.

Pilot recognized as top U.S. government flier

Nov. 10, 2021, would be anything but normal for the 12-plus-year pilot. It would be the day Schuck cheated death.

Annual Customer Meeting

WAPA hosted its annual customer meeting, a hybrid session based out of the Headquarters office in Lakewood, Colorado.

Transmission Infrastructure Program

WAPA’s Power Forward 2030 plan can align individual programs.

New strategic plan powers WAPA forward

Nearly a year in the making, WAPA released its updated strategic plan Feb. 7, 2023.

Celebrating WAPA turning 45

Several offices across the organization worked together to commemorate WAPA’s 45th Anniversary celebration through an all-employee meeting.

Get To Know: Dionne Thompson

Liaison Office, Dionne Thompson is responsible for developing and leading WAPA’s national relations and government affairs strategies.

Pest control devices prove effective

Pest control is an important aspect of facility operations that goes overlooked by most employees.

Belonging, critical to good mental health 

Paying attention to how each employee is doing mentally – and addressing concerns – is important for both for the individual and the organization as a whole.

Special emphasis programs

WAPA remains committed to providing electricity in many rural areas, including serving many tribal customers across our 15-state service territory.

WAPA’s historical documents

Recently, many of WAPA’s historically significant physical records were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Federal Records Center in Broomfield, Colo.  

Secretary Granholm visits WAPA

On Friday, Jan. 20, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Western Area Power Administration’s Desert Southwest regional office in Phoenix, AZ.

Leadership Spotlight: Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is a critical member of WAPA’s senior executive team for the Sierra Nevada region.

Secretary of Energy Excellence Award

In February 2024, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm presented Western Area Power Administration’s Scott Lund with the DOE Secretary of Energy Excellence Award.

New employee spotlight

Stephanie Knight – WAPA’s new Inclusion and Diversity manager.

Spotlight on Paul Schwabe

In March 2022, Paul Schwabe joined WAPA as senior vice president and Transmission Infrastructure Program manager.

Exceptional Service Award winners

The Exceptional Service Award is WAPA’s most prestigious employee award.

WAPA employee recognized

Byron McCollum received the 2022 Business Utilization Director’s Award.

Get to Know Jon Aust: Vice President of Power Operations

Vice President of Power Operations for CRSP, oversees two 24/7 control centers in Loveland, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, supporting a seven-state region.

IT leader earns Secretary’s Achievement Award

Cybersecurity Advisor Jim Ball was recognized for participating on the Clean Energy Corps’ Core Competency Interview Team.

HR Shared Service Center Director

Cheryl Reese has led the Power Marketing Administrations Human Resources Shared Service Center since 2021.

Pilot recognized as top U.S. government flier

Nov. 10, 2021, would be anything but normal for the 12-plus-year pilot. It would be the day Schuck cheated death.

Employee Resource Groups

ERGs aim to help connect employees and build a sense of community within the organization. 

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month, traces its origins back to February 1980, when President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation that laid the groundwork for a dedicated period to celebrate the monumental contributions of women.

Hydration challenge sparks health awakening

Hydration Challenge inspires better health and raises awareness about WAPA’s regional Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committees.

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes these cultures and their contributions.

Special emphasis programs

WAPA remains committed to providing electricity in many rural areas, including serving many tribal customers across our 15-state service territory.

DSW gleans benefits by streamlining rates

Desert Southwest recently consolidated the rates of its transmission systems, cutting administrative costs by simplifying the rates-making process.

WAPA completes Olmsted Power Marketing Plan 

Earlier this year, WAPA finalized and published its Final 2025 Olmsted Power Marketing Plan, which specifies the terms and conditions under which WAPA will market energy from the Olmsted Project for the next 30 years, beginning in October 2024.

DSW goes live in Western Energy Imbalance Market

On April 5, WAPA entered the California Independent System Operator’s WEIM.

Tools for hybrid success

We evolve and cultivate our culture and work practices to improve employee engagement, productivity and well-being.

Fiber optics to revolutionize information

From telephone and telegraph lines to 14.4k modems and satellite internet, the speed at which humans push and pull information has exponentially increased with every passing decade.

WAPA.gov gets a modern makeover

Our dedicated Web Management team successfully modernized and migrated the site, significantly enhancing its functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Secure our world

Practicing cybersecurity basics can make a huge difference in protecting your information and systems that you use.

IT leader earns Secretary’s Achievement Award

Cybersecurity Advisor Jim Ball was recognized for participating on the Clean Energy Corps’ Core Competency Interview Team.

Driving Continuous Process Improvement forward

WAPA’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) program is championed by two relatively new leaders who are driving CPI forward from a long history and solid foundation for successful process improvement.

How our people power WAPA forward

Though articles and videos, employees share how they contribute to WAPA’s mission and strategy.

New strategic plan powers WAPA forward

Nearly a year in the making, WAPA released its updated strategic plan Feb. 7, 2023.

Developing Power Forward 2030

The strategic plan is the successor to Strategic Roadmap 2024. It will guide WAPA through an evolving energy landscape for the next seven years.

Improving our safety culture at WAPA

As a learning organization, we strive to improve our processes, identify areas of improvement, and seek feedback from our employees.

Safety Corner

Recognizing and Avoiding Distraction both at home and in the workplace.

Safety Corner: Fire preparedness essentials

Fire can happen anywhere, and we all need to be prepared to protect ourselves

Safety Corner

Every August, WAPA begins a five-month process to revise the Power System Safety Manual, an effort made successful by employee participation.

The value of safety committees

Safety committees help keep WAPA employees safe on a local and organizational basis. They also can use input and participation from you.

Safety Corner

Safe spring cleaning. Spring is here, and for many it is a fitting time to organize and clean their homes and workspaces.

Nebraska storm response

Residents of several Western Nebraska communities were faced with a blistering cold front which evolved into severe winds and blizzard conditions, resulting in the loss of power for more than 12,000 customers and damage to transmission lines and towers.

Inter-regional partnership paves the way for the future

WAPA’s Colorado River Storage Project initiated a new Inter-Regional Service Partnership Agreement.

WAPA’s Annual Customer Meeting 2024 

WAPA convened its Annual Customer Meeting, continuing its tradition of fostering open dialogue and collaboration with its customers and stakeholders.

Collaborative procurement meeting

Regional Procurement teams recently met for a three-day event aimed at fostering collaboration, breaking down regional silos and enhancing organizational effectiveness.

Ice storm response

A strong winter storm spread layers of ice across the Interstate 94 corridor from Bismarck to Grand Forks.

DSW gleans benefits by streamlining rates

Desert Southwest recently consolidated the rates of its transmission systems, cutting administrative costs by simplifying the rates-making process.

Tools for hybrid success

We evolve and cultivate our culture and work practices to improve employee engagement, productivity and well-being.

Fiber optics to revolutionize information

From telephone and telegraph lines to 14.4k modems and satellite internet, the speed at which humans push and pull information has exponentially increased with every passing decade.

Procurement realignment

WAPA’s regional Procurement groups officially initiated a transition to a center-led organizational structure.

New employee spotlight

Stephanie Knight – WAPA’s new Inclusion and Diversity manager.

WAPA employee recognized

Byron McCollum received the 2022 Business Utilization Director’s Award.

From backlog to blueprint excellence

Inside the hydroelectric industry the importance of accurate engineering drawings cannot be overstated.

Safety Corner

Recognizing and Avoiding Distraction both at home and in the workplace.

Safety Corner: Fire preparedness essentials

Fire can happen anywhere, and we all need to be prepared to protect ourselves

20 years of Path 15 T-line

Grid operators energized the Path 15 upgrade in autumn 2004.

Safeguarding the Colorado River ecosystem

A remarkable scientific journey took place within the depths of the Grand Canyon.

EPTC rolls out new courses for FY24

WAPA pre-registrations have far exceeded any in previous years.

DSW deploys creative security solution

The Tucson Substation riprap installation showcases how WAPA innovates in the physical security space.

WAPA.gov gets a modern makeover

Our dedicated Web Management team successfully modernized and migrated the site, significantly enhancing its functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Secure our world

Practicing cybersecurity basics can make a huge difference in protecting your information and systems that you use.

Safety Corner

Every August, WAPA begins a five-month process to revise the Power System Safety Manual, an effort made successful by employee participation.

Get to Know Jon Aust: Vice President of Power Operations

Vice President of Power Operations for CRSP, oversees two 24/7 control centers in Loveland, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, supporting a seven-state region.

WAPA completes Olmsted Power Marketing Plan 

Earlier this year, WAPA finalized and published its Final 2025 Olmsted Power Marketing Plan, which specifies the terms and conditions under which WAPA will market energy from the Olmsted Project for the next 30 years, beginning in October 2024.

ELDP graduates third group of future WAPA leaders

As participants in Leadership Development’s third cohort of the Emerging Leaders Development Program, a group of 25 candidates committed to two separate in-person, week-long training courses and an individual coaching session.

Financial Operations: Redesign better prepares supervisors

The Financial Operations group within the WAPA Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Finance and Accounting team provides a repeatable case study in workforce management and succession planning.

HPI champions promote safety, reliability and quality

Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture Program, or HPI/JC, continues to develop a framework that focuses on optimizing the performance of individuals and business units. 

Safeguarding the grid through vegetation management

Over the past several years, the United States has witnessed an increase of wildfire activity and intensity, threatening safe and reliable electrical transmission throughout the West.

The value of safety committees

Safety committees help keep WAPA employees safe on a local and organizational basis. They also can use input and participation from you.

Hydration challenge sparks health awakening

Hydration Challenge inspires better health and raises awareness about WAPA’s regional Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committees.

IT leader earns Secretary’s Achievement Award

Cybersecurity Advisor Jim Ball was recognized for participating on the Clean Energy Corps’ Core Competency Interview Team.

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes these cultures and their contributions.

Revitalizing Estes-to-Flatiron infrastructure

This transformative project will replace a pair of high voltage transmission lines that serve Estes Park.

DSW goes live in Western Energy Imbalance Market

On April 5, WAPA entered the California Independent System Operator’s WEIM.

How our people power WAPA forward

Though articles and videos, employees share how they contribute to WAPA’s mission and strategy.

Unmanned aerial system training lifts off

More than 40 of WAPA’s front-line workforce graduated from our first formalized UAS training program.

Safety Corner

Safe spring cleaning. Spring is here, and for many it is a fitting time to organize and clean their homes and workspaces.

Power restoration

With record snowfalls pounding communities across northern California, WAPA’s Sierra Nevada crews continue to battle Mother Nature’s challenges to the area’s energy grid.

Protecting the grid from solar storms

WAPA has taken an innovative step towards better protecting the electrical transmission system from the risks of space weather caused by our favorite star: the sun.

HR Shared Service Center Director

Cheryl Reese has led the Power Marketing Administrations Human Resources Shared Service Center since 2021.

Pilot recognized as top U.S. government flier

Nov. 10, 2021, would be anything but normal for the 12-plus-year pilot. It would be the day Schuck cheated death.

Annual Customer Meeting

WAPA hosted its annual customer meeting, a hybrid session based out of the Headquarters office in Lakewood, Colorado.

Transmission Infrastructure Program

WAPA’s Power Forward 2030 plan can align individual programs.

New strategic plan powers WAPA forward

Nearly a year in the making, WAPA released its updated strategic plan Feb. 7, 2023.

Celebrating WAPA turning 45

Several offices across the organization worked together to commemorate WAPA’s 45th Anniversary celebration through an all-employee meeting.

Get To Know: Dionne Thompson

Liaison Office, Dionne Thompson is responsible for developing and leading WAPA’s national relations and government affairs strategies.

Pest control devices prove effective

Pest control is an important aspect of facility operations that goes overlooked by most employees.

Belonging, critical to good mental health 

Paying attention to how each employee is doing mentally – and addressing concerns – is important for both for the individual and the organization as a whole.

Special emphasis programs

WAPA remains committed to providing electricity in many rural areas, including serving many tribal customers across our 15-state service territory.

WAPA’s historical documents

Recently, many of WAPA’s historically significant physical records were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Federal Records Center in Broomfield, Colo.  

Secretary Granholm visits WAPA

On Friday, Jan. 20, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Western Area Power Administration’s Desert Southwest regional office in Phoenix, AZ.

Leadership Summit 2022

WAPA leaders from across the organizational footprint gathered for the first major in-person and hybrid event since the pandemic began.

Developing Power Forward 2030

The strategic plan is the successor to Strategic Roadmap 2024. It will guide WAPA through an evolving energy landscape for the next seven years.

WAPA Celebrates 45 Years Powering the West

WAPA celebrated 45 years as a power marketing administration

45th Anniversary Photo Contest

Employee photos showcase WAPA footprint

Positive leadership encourages a culture of trust

Being a leader is not about you.

Day in the Life: Trust your camo and journeymen

WAPA’s craftsmen are the employees who touch the transmission system; all crafts work in harmony to complete WAPA’s mission.

Sierra Nevada reduces CVP power bills

In wet water years, customers can receive a lot of hydropower under their Base Resource…

Get to Know DSW’s New Regional Manager

On June 19, Jack Murray took the helm as Desert Southwest’s senior vice president and regional manager.

Exceptional Employees Honored

The ESAs recognize those who excel in technical competency, enthusiasm, innovation and commitment to bettering themselves and WAPA.

Enhancing Efficiency Through Robotic Solutions

WAPA is currently exploring the potential of robotics and automation.​

Arizona Storm Shines Spotlight on WAPA-Wide Teamwork

On July 17, a powerful microburst with 80 mile-per-hour winds uprooted trees and damaged multiple high-voltage transmission lines,

L2I Program Participants Selected

In June, Administrator and CEO Tracey LeBeau announced the first participants of WAPA’s Leadership Learning Intensive, or L2I, Program.

Open Mic Provides Innovative Learning Events

The Open Mic events are still new, and momentum continues to build since their inaugural session in December 2021.

Environmental Protection Specialist Wins Emerging Leader Award

In May, Environmental Protection Specialist Andrea Severson received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL in Denver, Colorado.

WAPA Successfully Executes BIL Funding for Purchase Power

Western Area Power Administration is on track to fully expend the $500 million that the organization received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Get to know CRSP MC’s new manager

On May 22, Rodney Bailey became senior vice president and manager of the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center.

Electrofishing Keeps Green River Healthy

On April 25-26, Colorado River Storage Project Management Center staff assisted in the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ biannual trout electrofishing survey.

Get to Know UGP’S Regional Manager

In July 2021, Lloyd Linke assumed the role of senior vice president and Upper Great Plains regional manager.

Crow Tribe Right-Of-Way Grant Renewal Issued

WAPA has the distinct pleasure of working directly with Native American Tribes.

Science Bowls Endure as Virtual Events

WAPA is a proud supporter of the National Science Bowl and hosts a number of regional events each year.

Celebrate Pride Month

In June, we celebrate the valuable contributions of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer – or LGBTQ+ – community and their allies across America.

New TIP Manager Shares Journey to WAPA

In March, WAPA named Paul Schwabe as senior vice president and Transmission Infrastructure Program manager.

Panel Discussion Spotlights Women of WAPA

The event was hosted by Equal Employment Specialist Peggy Wooten and moderated by Leadership Development Specialist Sarah P.

Employee Feedback Shapes Strategic Plan

Chief Strategy Officer Kerry Whitford is working with senior leaders to develop WAPA’s 2030 strategic plan, the successor to Strategic Roadmap 2024.

Craft Employees Practice Winter Survival Skills

In March, more than 25 linemen and communication technicians spent one week in a winter survival course.

EPTC, INL Host Hybrid Cybersecurity Workshop

On Feb. 23-24, WAPA’s Electric Power Training Center hosted its first-ever hybrid event: the 2022 Cybersecurity in Protective Relaying Workshop.

OEID Manager Shares Progressive Career Path

On April 29, 2021, WAPA welcomed Equal Employment Manager Charles Montañez to lead its Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.

Upgrade Reveals Value of Mobile Transformers

Rocky Mountain employees placed a mobile transformer into service at Kimball Substation in Kimball County, Nebraska.

Reinvigorating WAPA’s I&D Program

WAPA has been pursuing a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture for many years.

Get to Know WAPA’s CIO

In 2019, Michael Montoya was selected as senior vice president and chief information officer.

Business Intelligence: Share Insights, Show Results

WAPA has massive repositories of data about its assets and operations. Most of it is housed in secure systems

Aviation Manager Recognized with Safety Award

The Department of Energy’s Office of Aviation Management hosts an annual aviation safety award program.

UGP Employee Receives MRO Hero Award

In December, Compliance Manager Mark Buchholz received the Midwest Reliability Organization’s Highly Effective Reliability Organizations Award.

First AEM of Year Spotlights Change

WAPA’s first All-Employee Meeting of 2022 was held Feb. 3.

What To Understand During WAPA’s Re-Entry

It’s an arduous process, moving a heavily remote workforce back into the building, and it is a move that will affect all employees, regardless of telework status.

Lightning Strike in DSW Leads To Fast Collaboration

A lightning storm caused damage to Gila Substation, spurring lengthy process of replacement and repair that lasted through early this year.

Reflecting on the Benefits Of Mentoring

In January, Leadership Development launched the WAPA-wide Mentoring Program, welcoming 62 participants in its first cohort.

Summarizing 2021 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Forest Service Partnership Prevents Outages

For the past several years, the U.S. has endured a series of devastating wildfires.

New Tool Saves Time, Improves Inspections

Last month WAPA launched a new tool that will enable us to more effectively monitor the health of our transmission system and efficiently react to condition issues.

Strategically Building Our Safety Culture

Safety is one of WAPA’s Strategic Enablers, as identified in our Tactical Action Plan.

WAPA At Its Best Is…

I believe that WAPA’s success has a lot to do with its culture, and its culture is created by its employees.

CSO Shares Journey to WAPA

On Nov. 21, 2021, Kerry Whitford officially joined WAPA as the organization’s chief strategy officer.

GRIDEX Tests WAPA’s Emergency Readiness

WAPA took part in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s GridEx VI emergency exercise.

Top 10 Stories of 2021

As editor, I do hope that you enjoy this look back at the year that was.

ELDP Graduates First Cohort

On Oct. 29, the Emerging Leaders Development Program graduated its first cohort of 30 individuals.

Removing Raptor Nests for Reliable Transmission

With big eyes and sharp talons, one might think that ospreys don’t need much protection from anything.

Insulator Storage Improvement Avoids Costs

In October, the Loveland warehouse staff made a simple change to its storage configuration that uses the space efficiently

Electrical Engineer Receives Leadership Award

In October, Supervisory Electrical Engineer John Quintana received the Industry Leadership Award from RMEL.

Mini Summit Explores Reactive Vs. Creative Leadership

With the onset of COVID-19, strong leadership skills have never been more in demand; organizations around the world require agile responses to evolving short- and long-term needs. 

Portal migration increases security, performance

In 2005, Sierra Nevada launched its SNR Customer Portal to communicate and share information with its energy and transmission customers.

Liaison supports tribal customers

In late June, Jennifer Rodgers announced that DSW and CRSP partnered with the OCAO to support a temporary Tribal liaison detail.

EPTC Reflects on MPS Upgrades

In 2018, the Electric Power Training Center initiated an upgrade to its Miniature Power System.

WAPA First Administrator Passes Away

Robert Louis McPhail, the first person to serve as administrator of Western Area Power Administration, passed away Sept. 28 at the age of 85.

Facility Closure Leads to Discovery of Older Site

In March 2019, Archaeologist Dave Kluth visited a WAPA communication site in Erhard, Minnesota, to perform a survey.

WAPA Welcomes White Belt Training

The Continuous Process Improvement Program launched its newest offering, Lean Six Sigma White Belt Training, in January.

New HR Award Recognizes Strategic Partnership

​​I​​n August, the Power Marketing Administration Human Resources Shared Service Center launched the HR Strategic Partnership Award

Opening Our Eyes to DEI

DEI: diversity, equity and inclusion. We’ve heard these words often; they might just be the second most popular phrase this past year, next to “in these unprecedented times.”

Human Performance Enhances Safety Culutre

As WAPA’s Human Performance Improvement/Just Culture Program gains traction, Human Performance Program Manager Krystall Valencia is interested in better educating employees on how the program benefits them.

Third CLDP Cohort Underway

The third cohort of WAPA’s two-year Craft Leadership Development Program is underway.

RM Manager shares 30-year journey to WAPA

On Aug. 1, WAPA welcomed Bart Barnhart as senior vice president and Rocky Mountain regional manager.

Experiment Takes Aim at Smallmouth Bass

Invasive fishes and woody plants. Declining Colorado pikeminnow numbers. Struggling razorback sucker larvae.

Get to Know WAPA’s CAO

In 2020, Jennifer Rodgers was selected as WAPA’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

Exceptional Employees Honored

The ESAs recognize those who excel in technical competency, enthusiasm, innovation and commitment to bettering themselves and WAPA.

WAPA Attorney Joins EBA Board of Directors

In late May, the Energy Bar Association announced the new president of its Board of Directors at its Virtual Annual Meeting and Conference.

AEM Updates Employees on Major Initiatives

On June 29, employees gathered virtually for WAPA’s All-Employee Meeting,

Drought Conditions May Complicate Hydropower

With the onset of summer, many states in WAPA’s footprint are facing the very real threat of drought so severe that it may complicate hydropower delivery.

Graduates Reflect on DOE Leadership Program

In July 2020, five WAPA employees were selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s Leadership Development Program.

Civil Engineer Wins Emerging Leader Award

In May, Civil Engineer Rebecca Afsar received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL

WAPA sUAS Pilot Program Lifts Off

In March, WAPA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or sUAS, pilot program reached its conclusion.

Crop Duster Strikes Arizona T-Line

Crop dusters do more than apply insecticide and torment Cary Grant.

Pilot Automates Transformer Data Transfer

A significant part of Asset Management’s mission is protecting WAPA’s most important physical equipment.

Face to Face with Inclusion and Diversity

Nobody booked a last-minute flight. No boxes of coffee or communal donuts rewarded the early risers.

OSEM, Strategy Partner to Enhance Security Culture

The Security and Emergency Management and the Strategy office have teamed up to assess WA PA’s security culture.

Get to know WAPA’s COO

In 2018, Kevin Howard was selected as WAPA’s chief operating officer.

Spring Disturbance Flow Charts New Highs, Lows

Experiments are conducted in order to determine the effects that varying releases have on rivers, populations of aquatic creatures and food sources for fish.

Procurement, Craft Team Up to Acquire Vehicle

In March 2019, the Procurement team in Desert Southwest received a purchase request from craft employees for a self-loader 8×6 semi-tractor.

SN, Trinity Partner for Wildfire Prevention

The wildfire season in 2020 was particularly devastating, with West Coast states finding the destructive events difficult to control.

Science Bowls Continue Through Pandemic

For years, WAPA has hosted a number of regional Science Bowl events throughout its footprint.

Employees Recognized for Accomplishments

A number of employees were recently recognized with prestigious awards for their work both at WAPA and in their personal lives.

Winter Energy Shortage Tests Grid Limits

When frigid temperatures cascaded south across the country in February, demand for electric power surged and generation faltered.

Long Hauler Discusses One Full Year of COVID

It’s been more than one year since Financial Program Analyst Lisa O’Brien started feeling the symptoms of COVID-19.

Employees Reflect on a Year Without Precedent

In March 2020, an email was sent WAPA-wide that few employees were expecting: WAPA was transitioning to a maximum telework stance, effective immediately.

One Year Later…

It has been one year since the pandemic upended our lives.

Get to Know WAPA’S Administrator

Following the March 12 departure of Mark A. Gabriel, Tracey LeBeau became WAPA’s administrator and CEO.

AEM Kicks Off 2021

The first All-Employee Meeting of 2021 was held Jan. 26, with presenters and attendees assembling virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Feedback Shapes LDP Offerings

The Leadership Development Program asked for feedback on employee needs from a professional development perspective, and employees were more than happy to provide it!

CLDP Seeking Third Cohort of Craft Employees

This year will see WAPA’s Craft Leadership Development Program accepting its third cohort of participants.

In-House Skills Save Millions on FIMS Upgrades

WAPA’s financial management software is going through a series of upgrades this year.

Wood Pole Structures: The Backbone of WAPA

Wood pole structures are used widely by electric utilities with an estimated 130 million throughout North America.

Summarizing 2020 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Statement on Race and Social Justice Released

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel took the opportunity to debut WAPA’s Senior Statement on Race and Social Justice.

Keeping WAPA Safe in 2021

The new year marks a time to make resolutions and set goals.

TAP Updates Guide WAPA’s Strategic Focus

As mentioned at the most recent All-Employee Meeting, the Tactical Action Plan is being updated for fiscal year 2021.

WAPA Strategy Maximizes Value of Data

In this digital age, every large complex organization produces mountains of data — on customers, equipment, services, finances, every aspect of its operations.

Dispatcher Recognized with Leadership Award

In late September, Supervisory Power System Dispatcher Christine Henry received the Industry Leadership Award from RMEL,

Women in Energy Conference Looks Forward

Last year’s EUCI Leadership Conference for Women in Energy featured some of the most accomplished women in the industry from around the country.

I2T Summit Goes Virtual

On the afternoon of Nov. 18, WAPA kicked off its Inclusion, Innovation and Technology Summit, or I2T Summit.

WAPA Reports Q4 Results

​​Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2020 fourth-quarter performance.

Top 10 Stories of 2020

This year was like no other, I’m sure we can all agree. Looking back at it to choose only 10 stories to spotlight is even more difficult than usual.

Vegetation Management Protects Lines

The 2020 wildfire season, particularly in Arizona, California and Colorado, has been one of the worst in modern history.

Maintaining Balance in Trying Times

2020 was a historic year, heralding a level of change we could not possibly have anticipated.

ESF-12 Mobilizes After Hurricane Laura

On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura, approaching maximum force, made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana.

CPI Program Saves, Avoids $113 Million in Costs

WAPA’s Continuous Process Improvement Program continues to see increasing returns as it adds to and improves the efficiency of the organization.

RM Pilot Project Meets Generation Swings

The pilot project is part of the BA Optimization effort, which has the ulti¬mate goal of more efficiently running BAs.

Vegetation Management Benefits Navajo

DSW vegetation management crews set to work on an interim Integrated Vegetation Management project.

DSW, CRSP-MC Explore Combined Rate

CRSP and DSW embarked on a joint initiative with their customers to explore the feasibility and desire for a combined transmission rate across their footprints.

RM PMOC Gets HVAC Upgrade, New Neighbor

In mid-August, the RM PMOC got an upgrade to its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

Reimagining the Innovation Challenge

The I2T Committee debuted an interactive component of the event: The Innovation Challenge.

Employees Shows Off Masks for Photo Contest

​​This year, Public Affairs’ annual photo contest had a special theme: facemasks. 

FID Renovation Streamlines Data Management

For data to be a strategic asset it needs to be stored and managed in a way that maximizes consistency, accuracy and availability for different applications.

Virtual Town Hall Keeps Employees Informed

WAPA hosted its third COVID-19 virtual town hall event.

Heating Up the Demand

The California Independent System Operator knew they had a problem; it was one they had been predicting for at least a year.

Masked Men Rebuild Breaker

​​In late July, field employees from Desert Southwest donned their masks to rebuild a breaker at Glen Canyon Substation in Arizona. 

I2T Goes Virtual

All WAPA employees have had to adapt to a new working environment due to COVID-19.

Initiative Seeks to Improve Balance

A new effort is underway at WAPA to help supervisors and managers balance staff and organization priorities. 

Biological Strategy Benefits Species of Concern

​When I started as a biologist in Upper Great Plains, I was challenged to develop a regionwide biological strategy, similar to that which had been created for archaeology resources. 

Automating Process Reduces Errors

Electrical Engineer Gary Zevenbergen and Information Technology Specialist Tom Howard worked together to reduce one person’s time investment from 250 hours to less than 10.

SCADA Vendor Project Reaches Milestone

WAPA selected a new vendor to provide supervisory control and data acquisition and energy management system software to all of WAPA’s regions.

Fiber Optics Feasibility Assessment Published

WAPA published a report exploring the feasibility of leasing currently unlit fiber optic strands, also known as “dark” fiber.

DOE Leadership Program Chooses Participants

In July, five WAPA employees were selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s Leadership Development Program.

Building a Leadership Development Program

In February, WAPA launched its Leadership Development Program.

Engineer Recognized as Emerging Leader

In late June, Electrical Engineer Jackie Brusoe received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL.

Exceptional Employees Honored

Every year, Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel honors standout employees with Exceptional Service Awards.

Science Bowl Winners Hail From WAPA Regional Science Bowl

2020 saw the first virtual National Science Bowl in the event’s 30-year history.

The Model with the Interesting Name

CRSP sponsored the development of Generation and Transmission Maximization, or the GTMax.

SN Prepares for Potential Sequestration

The Pandemic has resulted in a change of workplace for a number of WAPA employees.

Lingle Upgrades Mitiage Wildlife Issues

In January, construction began at Lingle Substation in Goshen County, Wyoming.

A Safe Return is the Only Return

Many of us, myself included, are anxious to get back to our routines, back to our offices and back to some sense of normalcy.

Reflecting on Rolling it Back

Like many WAPA employees, I follow social media powerline forums to remain engaged with current industry-related topics.

Contract Manager Reaches 40 Years of Service

​Whatever your role at WAPA, the odds are good that you work with at least a few contract employees.

Demonstrating Resilience in the “New Normal”

The utility industry, like the world, is rapidly changing. In fact, so much is changing so quickly that it can become overwhelming.

Virtual Meetings Provide Real Connection

To varying degrees, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it much more difficult for WAPA employees to meet in person.

Building UPG’s Biological Risk Assessment

Around two years ago, I started as a biologist in WAPA’s Upper Great Plains region.

Bug Flow Experiment Supports the Colorado

WAPA and the Bureau of Reclamation kicked off a third year of “bug flow” experiments on the Colorado River.

Work Continues Without Interruption

​The COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing, but WAPA’s dedicated staff is not slowing down.

Inclusion and Diversity, in That Order

In early March, WAPA’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee held its Going All-In on Inclusion and Diversity training.

Auditing Compliance Virtually is a WAPA Win

During the first week in March Al Slucher connected with Brent Sessions.

Mead Work Continues Amid COVID

The ongoing pandemic has had a necessary effect on the specific ways in which WAPA accomplishes its mission.

WAPA Rescues Synchrophasor Data

In late 2019, Peak Reliability Coordinator closed its doors for good.

Reflecting On These Challenging Times

It is astonishing to think how much has changed in our work and personal lives in two short months.

Asset Management: Harnessing Data to Manage Risk

Asset Management continues to expand its scope and demonstrate the critical role data plays in managing risk.

Students Get Hands-On Experience at EPTC

A group of ninth-grade students visited WAPA’s EPTC for a packed day of discussions, demonstrations and hands-on exercises.

Archeologists Make Amazing Artifact Find

Archaeologists Natalie Ortega and Christina Rogers discovered artifacts while performing field work.

Phase One of EMMO Job Task Analysis Complete

The UGP Energy Management and Marketing Office team has completed the first phase of an in-depth job task analysis project.

Inaugural ICG Participants Selected

Teresa Waugh announced the selection of the first participants of WAPA’s new Integrated Communications Group.

What a Wild Seven Years It Has Been

Mark A. Gabriel says goodbye to WAPA.

Employees Assist Fallen Resident

It should have been a routine day in the field.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Archaeologists were performing field work in Desert Southwest when they found and gathered a number of celebration balloons.

Twelve Talents Recognized at CLDP Graduation

WAPA’s leadership programs prepare those who have the desire to seek, to share and to partner.

Summit Inspires Leaders to Fulfill Potential

Leaders from across WAPA braved Colorado’s wintry mix and gathered in Denver for the 2020 Leadership Summit.

First All-Employee Meeting Covers Engineering, Wildfires

The first All-Employee Meeting of 2020 was held with the presenters discussing a wide range of topics.

Reflecting on One Year of OCAO Achievement

WAPA stood up the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer led by Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Tracey LeBeau.

WAPA, Reclamation to Share Partnership

Until recently, the Desert Southwest Maintenance crew at Glen Canyon Substation in Arizona was running out of space.

Summarizing 2019 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Future Leaders Start at the Goal

The Guiding Outstanding and Accountable Leaders program graduated its first class Nov. 7.

Grounding Stirrup Solves Multiple Issues

When Electrical Engineer Gary Zevenbergen encounters problems, he puts his mind toward solving them.

WAPA Reports Q4 Results

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2019 fourth-quarter performance.

WAPA Reports TAP Progress

On Nov. 26, Mark A. Gabriel submitted a memo to Bruce J. Walker and Patricia Hoffman regarding the progress made on WAPA’s fiscal year 2019 goals.

Professionals Speak Out at WWE Event

WAPA and the Bureau of Reclamation hosted the Women in Water & Energy Professional Development Event in Park City, Utah.

Investing, Engaging in Energy Frontier

We focused on “Investing in a Connected Future,” acknowledging rapid changes in our industry and society.

WAPA Completes Transition to New Reliability Coordinators

WAPA successfully completed its transition to new reliability coordinators for its balancing authorities and transmission operators in the Western Interconnection.

Top 10 Stories of 2019

The stories Closed Circuit told in 2019 covered a wide range of topics.

WAPA Completes Transition to New Reliability Coordinators

WAPA successfully completed its transition to new reliability coordinators for its balancing authorities and transmission operators. 

Folsom Gets Electric Service Upgrade

A cascading failure of a power distribution system caused a critical power outage at the Sierra Nevada office in Folsom, California.

Customers Weigh In On Fiber Optic Partnerships

WAPA hosted its final customer meeting on fiber optics partnership assessment Aug. 29.

Taking to the Skies Saves Maintenance Dollars

WAPA’s Strategic Roadmap 2024 identifies Business, Technology and Organizational Excellence as a critical pathway toward optimizing operational effectiveness.

WAPA Reports Q3 Results

Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2019 second-quarter performance.

Turning Data into Strategic Asset

Strategic assets—both tangible and intangible—are the assets an organization creates or acquires that are essential to its operation.

Misadventures Become River-Safety Reminder

It is unlikely that WAPA employees go to work in the morning expecting to rescue others, but some days that is exactly what happens.

Employee Completes DOE Cyber Program

Reliability Compliance Management Specialist Al Slucher graduated from the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy on July 15.

Substation Replacement Supports South Dakota

A substation replacement project years in the making is finally coming to a close in Upper Great Plains.

I2T Spotlights Everyday Innovators

Employees across WAPA set aside the day of July 11 to attend the fourth annual Inclusion, Innovation and Technology Summit, or I2T Summit.

Craft Exchange Best Practices at Conference

WAPA employees attended the 14th International Engineering, Safety, Maintenance and Overhead Lines conference.

Employees Respond to Weekend Outage

Early in the morning June 29, Electrician​ Foreman II Paul Davis was enjoying his normal weekend routine in his home near Powell, Wyoming.

Acquisition Streamlining Draws Near

A transformer is a critical link in the transmission system, the failure of which can cause big problems ranging from power outages to fire.

Crews Take to Sky To Replace 600 Insulators

Line crews are gearing up for the second half of a large maintenance job that uses a helicopter to replace a total of 610 insulators on 49 dead-end structures.

Glen Canyon Dam Offers Lessons in Safety

Doing what is right and safe is a core value that is as relevant at home and at play as it is on the job.

Stop Work Authority Empowers Safety

Stop Work Authority empowers any employee to stop work without fear of retaliation if they observe an action or activity they believe to be unsafe.

Inclusion & Diversity Committee Spotlights Inclusion

The Inclusion and Diversity Committee invited four of WAPA’s managers and supervisors to speak about their experiences promoting inclusive environments.

Retirees Share Powerful Friendship

Being a WAPA employee means more than keeping the lights on.

All-Employee Meeting Focuses on Employee Accomplishments

WAPA held its All-Employee Meeting June 6 at Headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado.

Colorado Federal Executive Board Recognizes Exceptional Employees

The Colorado Federal Executive Board’s Executive Committee and the Workforce Development Council announced the winners of this year’s Rocky Mountain Eagle Awards.

New Transformer Supports Reliability

On June 4 Sierra Nevada celebrated the successful energization of the new Folsom transformer, on time and under budget.

Trainers, New Employees Learn Fall Protection

WAPA’s annual Fall Protection Train-the-Trainer meeting was held the first week of March in Boulder City, Nevada, and at the nearby Mead Substation.

Proactive Firefighting Protects Arizona’s Grid

The answer to fighting fires that threaten transmission lines begins long before the first spark; it begins with managing the vegetation around the structures and under the lines.

WAPA to Solicit Proposals for Renewable Energy Contracts

WAPA will solicit proposals for a long-term renewable energy contract or contracts for up to 50 megawatts of energy located in the CAISO territory.

WAPA Reports Q2 Results

Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2019 second-quarter performance.

Engaging Employees from Onboarding Onward

In the words of Darian Kovacs of Forbes, “An employee’s first day can be stressful for everyone.”

Kids, Parents Learn About WAPA, Each Other

The WAPA family swelled in size April 26 as its youngest members joined their parents for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

WAPA’s Female Leaders Reflect on Leadership

Leadership is the act of leading a group of people or an organization. For the women of WAPA, though, leadership means so much more than that.

Awards Recognize Exceptional Employees

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel announced that nine WAPA employees were selected to receive the Gears of Government Award.

WAPA Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Almanac on Value Of Asset Management

Western Area Power Administration has published its fiscal year 2018 almanac titled Value of Asset Management.

EPTC Springs Forward with New Classes, New Logo

​For decades, craftsmen and other electricity industry professionals have relied on WAPA’s Electric Power Training Center to meet their needs for comprehensive training.

Crediting Provides Affordable Power

There are as many ways for a community to benefit from clean, cost-based hydropower as there are communities WAPA serves.

Reflecting On Six Years of Progress at WAPA

For six years I have had the sincere honor of serving as the administrator and CEO of Western Area Power Administration.

New Equipment to Stabilize Voltage in SN

Employees energized WAPA’s first-ever variable shunt reactors to alleviate and stabilize potentially damaging voltage conditions.

Fourteen Goals, Four Targets, One Team

To remain relevant in an ever-changing industry, WAPA must change its approach to problem solving, ensuring everyone is aligned and engaged in the effort. 

WAPA, EPRI Collaborate for Innovation

Do what is right. Do what is safe. This core value has particular resonance with one of the riskier tasks that WAPA’s linemen undertake.

WAPA Reports First Quarter Results

Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2019 first-quarter performance. The following is a summary of this memo. 

Employees Respond To 2018’s Strongest Storm

Category 5 Super Typhoon Yutu, tied for 2018’s strongest storm, struck the Northern Mariana Islands at peak intensity, the typhoon’s eye at one point encircling the entire island of Tinian.

​Summarizing Water Year 2018 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Hassayampa Upgrade Benefits Arizona

Desert Southwest region energized the Hassayampa Switching Station, a major upgrade to WAPA’s relay and communication systems.

Extended Leadership Team Hosts Inaugural Meeting

The newly formed Extended Leadership Team kicked off the new year by holding its first formal meeting Jan. 8-9 at the Desert Southwest office in Phoenix, Arizona.

Understanding Spectrum Management

Spectrum management—regulating the use of radio frequencies to promote efficient allocation—is critical to WAPA’s core mission.

Razorback Sucker Goes Way of The Chub

U.S. FWS announced that the humpback chub would be downlisted from endangered to threatened status as a result of its increasingly healthy population.

Top 10 Stories of 2018

The stories Closed Circuit told in 2018 provided a vast overview of WAPA’s services, customers and employees

Inside UGP’S Summer of Storms

Throughout 2018, WAPA employees supported restoration efforts after a number of high-profile tragedies, including hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, a typhoon and more.

Tools for hybrid success

We evolve and cultivate our culture and work practices to improve employee engagement, productivity and well-being.

Fiber optics to revolutionize information

From telephone and telegraph lines to 14.4k modems and satellite internet, the speed at which humans push and pull information has exponentially increased with every passing decade.

Procurement realignment

WAPA’s regional Procurement groups officially initiated a transition to a center-led organizational structure.

New employee spotlight

Stephanie Knight – WAPA’s new Inclusion and Diversity manager.

Spotlight on Paul Schwabe

In March 2022, Paul Schwabe joined WAPA as senior vice president and Transmission Infrastructure Program manager.

Exceptional Service Award winners

The Exceptional Service Award is WAPA’s most prestigious employee award.

WAPA employee recognized

Byron McCollum received the 2022 Business Utilization Director’s Award.

From backlog to blueprint excellence

Inside the hydroelectric industry the importance of accurate engineering drawings cannot be overstated.

Safety Corner

Recognizing and Avoiding Distraction both at home and in the workplace.

Safety Corner: Fire preparedness essentials

Fire can happen anywhere, and we all need to be prepared to protect ourselves

20 years of Path 15 T-line

Grid operators energized the Path 15 upgrade in autumn 2004.

Safeguarding the Colorado River ecosystem

A remarkable scientific journey took place within the depths of the Grand Canyon.

EPTC rolls out new courses for FY24

WAPA pre-registrations have far exceeded any in previous years.

DSW deploys creative security solution

The Tucson Substation riprap installation showcases how WAPA innovates in the physical security space.

WAPA.gov gets a modern makeover

Our dedicated Web Management team successfully modernized and migrated the site, significantly enhancing its functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Secure our world

Practicing cybersecurity basics can make a huge difference in protecting your information and systems that you use.

Safety Corner

Every August, WAPA begins a five-month process to revise the Power System Safety Manual, an effort made successful by employee participation.

Get to Know Jon Aust: Vice President of Power Operations

Vice President of Power Operations for CRSP, oversees two 24/7 control centers in Loveland, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, supporting a seven-state region.

WAPA completes Olmsted Power Marketing Plan 

Earlier this year, WAPA finalized and published its Final 2025 Olmsted Power Marketing Plan, which specifies the terms and conditions under which WAPA will market energy from the Olmsted Project for the next 30 years, beginning in October 2024.

ELDP graduates third group of future WAPA leaders

As participants in Leadership Development’s third cohort of the Emerging Leaders Development Program, a group of 25 candidates committed to two separate in-person, week-long training courses and an individual coaching session.

Financial Operations: Redesign better prepares supervisors

The Financial Operations group within the WAPA Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Finance and Accounting team provides a repeatable case study in workforce management and succession planning.

HPI champions promote safety, reliability and quality

Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture Program, or HPI/JC, continues to develop a framework that focuses on optimizing the performance of individuals and business units. 

Safeguarding the grid through vegetation management

Over the past several years, the United States has witnessed an increase of wildfire activity and intensity, threatening safe and reliable electrical transmission throughout the West.

The value of safety committees

Safety committees help keep WAPA employees safe on a local and organizational basis. They also can use input and participation from you.

Hydration challenge sparks health awakening

Hydration Challenge inspires better health and raises awareness about WAPA’s regional Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committees.

IT leader earns Secretary’s Achievement Award

Cybersecurity Advisor Jim Ball was recognized for participating on the Clean Energy Corps’ Core Competency Interview Team.

Celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes these cultures and their contributions.

Revitalizing Estes-to-Flatiron infrastructure

This transformative project will replace a pair of high voltage transmission lines that serve Estes Park.

DSW goes live in Western Energy Imbalance Market

On April 5, WAPA entered the California Independent System Operator’s WEIM.

How our people power WAPA forward

Though articles and videos, employees share how they contribute to WAPA’s mission and strategy.

Unmanned aerial system training lifts off

More than 40 of WAPA’s front-line workforce graduated from our first formalized UAS training program.

Safety Corner

Safe spring cleaning. Spring is here, and for many it is a fitting time to organize and clean their homes and workspaces.

Protecting the grid from solar storms

WAPA has taken an innovative step towards better protecting the electrical transmission system from the risks of space weather caused by our favorite star: the sun.

HR Shared Service Center Director

Cheryl Reese has led the Power Marketing Administrations Human Resources Shared Service Center since 2021.

Pilot recognized as top U.S. government flier

Nov. 10, 2021, would be anything but normal for the 12-plus-year pilot. It would be the day Schuck cheated death.

Annual Customer Meeting

WAPA hosted its annual customer meeting, a hybrid session based out of the Headquarters office in Lakewood, Colorado.

Transmission Infrastructure Program

WAPA’s Power Forward 2030 plan can align individual programs.

New strategic plan powers WAPA forward

Nearly a year in the making, WAPA released its updated strategic plan Feb. 7, 2023.

Celebrating WAPA turning 45

Several offices across the organization worked together to commemorate WAPA’s 45th Anniversary celebration through an all-employee meeting.

Get To Know: Dionne Thompson

Liaison Office, Dionne Thompson is responsible for developing and leading WAPA’s national relations and government affairs strategies.

Pest control devices prove effective

Pest control is an important aspect of facility operations that goes overlooked by most employees.

Belonging, critical to good mental health 

Paying attention to how each employee is doing mentally – and addressing concerns – is important for both for the individual and the organization as a whole.

Special emphasis programs

WAPA remains committed to providing electricity in many rural areas, including serving many tribal customers across our 15-state service territory.

WAPA’s historical documents

Recently, many of WAPA’s historically significant physical records were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Federal Records Center in Broomfield, Colo.  

Secretary Granholm visits WAPA

On Friday, Jan. 20, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Western Area Power Administration’s Desert Southwest regional office in Phoenix, AZ.

Leadership Summit 2022

WAPA leaders from across the organizational footprint gathered for the first major in-person and hybrid event since the pandemic began.

Developing Power Forward 2030

The strategic plan is the successor to Strategic Roadmap 2024. It will guide WAPA through an evolving energy landscape for the next seven years.

WAPA Celebrates 45 Years Powering the West

WAPA celebrated 45 years as a power marketing administration

45th Anniversary Photo Contest

Employee photos showcase WAPA footprint

Positive leadership encourages a culture of trust

Being a leader is not about you.

Day in the Life: Trust your camo and journeymen

WAPA’s craftsmen are the employees who touch the transmission system; all crafts work in harmony to complete WAPA’s mission.

Sierra Nevada reduces CVP power bills

In wet water years, customers can receive a lot of hydropower under their Base Resource…

Get to Know DSW’s New Regional Manager

On June 19, Jack Murray took the helm as Desert Southwest’s senior vice president and regional manager.

Exceptional Employees Honored

The ESAs recognize those who excel in technical competency, enthusiasm, innovation and commitment to bettering themselves and WAPA.

Enhancing Efficiency Through Robotic Solutions

WAPA is currently exploring the potential of robotics and automation.​

Arizona Storm Shines Spotlight on WAPA-Wide Teamwork

On July 17, a powerful microburst with 80 mile-per-hour winds uprooted trees and damaged multiple high-voltage transmission lines,

L2I Program Participants Selected

In June, Administrator and CEO Tracey LeBeau announced the first participants of WAPA’s Leadership Learning Intensive, or L2I, Program.

Open Mic Provides Innovative Learning Events

The Open Mic events are still new, and momentum continues to build since their inaugural session in December 2021.

Environmental Protection Specialist Wins Emerging Leader Award

In May, Environmental Protection Specialist Andrea Severson received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL in Denver, Colorado.

WAPA Successfully Executes BIL Funding for Purchase Power

Western Area Power Administration is on track to fully expend the $500 million that the organization received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Get to know CRSP MC’s new manager

On May 22, Rodney Bailey became senior vice president and manager of the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center.

Electrofishing Keeps Green River Healthy

On April 25-26, Colorado River Storage Project Management Center staff assisted in the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ biannual trout electrofishing survey.

Get to Know UGP’S Regional Manager

In July 2021, Lloyd Linke assumed the role of senior vice president and Upper Great Plains regional manager.

Crow Tribe Right-Of-Way Grant Renewal Issued

WAPA has the distinct pleasure of working directly with Native American Tribes.

Science Bowls Endure as Virtual Events

WAPA is a proud supporter of the National Science Bowl and hosts a number of regional events each year.

Celebrate Pride Month

In June, we celebrate the valuable contributions of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer – or LGBTQ+ – community and their allies across America.

New TIP Manager Shares Journey to WAPA

In March, WAPA named Paul Schwabe as senior vice president and Transmission Infrastructure Program manager.

Panel Discussion Spotlights Women of WAPA

The event was hosted by Equal Employment Specialist Peggy Wooten and moderated by Leadership Development Specialist Sarah P.

Employee Feedback Shapes Strategic Plan

Chief Strategy Officer Kerry Whitford is working with senior leaders to develop WAPA’s 2030 strategic plan, the successor to Strategic Roadmap 2024.

Craft Employees Practice Winter Survival Skills

In March, more than 25 linemen and communication technicians spent one week in a winter survival course.

EPTC, INL Host Hybrid Cybersecurity Workshop

On Feb. 23-24, WAPA’s Electric Power Training Center hosted its first-ever hybrid event: the 2022 Cybersecurity in Protective Relaying Workshop.

OEID Manager Shares Progressive Career Path

On April 29, 2021, WAPA welcomed Equal Employment Manager Charles Montañez to lead its Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.

Upgrade Reveals Value of Mobile Transformers

Rocky Mountain employees placed a mobile transformer into service at Kimball Substation in Kimball County, Nebraska.

Reinvigorating WAPA’s I&D Program

WAPA has been pursuing a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture for many years.

Get to Know WAPA’s CIO

In 2019, Michael Montoya was selected as senior vice president and chief information officer.

Business Intelligence: Share Insights, Show Results

WAPA has massive repositories of data about its assets and operations. Most of it is housed in secure systems

Aviation Manager Recognized with Safety Award

The Department of Energy’s Office of Aviation Management hosts an annual aviation safety award program.

UGP Employee Receives MRO Hero Award

In December, Compliance Manager Mark Buchholz received the Midwest Reliability Organization’s Highly Effective Reliability Organizations Award.

First AEM of Year Spotlights Change

WAPA’s first All-Employee Meeting of 2022 was held Feb. 3.

What To Understand During WAPA’s Re-Entry

It’s an arduous process, moving a heavily remote workforce back into the building, and it is a move that will affect all employees, regardless of telework status.

Lightning Strike in DSW Leads To Fast Collaboration

A lightning storm caused damage to Gila Substation, spurring lengthy process of replacement and repair that lasted through early this year.

Reflecting on the Benefits Of Mentoring

In January, Leadership Development launched the WAPA-wide Mentoring Program, welcoming 62 participants in its first cohort.

Summarizing 2021 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Forest Service Partnership Prevents Outages

For the past several years, the U.S. has endured a series of devastating wildfires.

New Tool Saves Time, Improves Inspections

Last month WAPA launched a new tool that will enable us to more effectively monitor the health of our transmission system and efficiently react to condition issues.

Strategically Building Our Safety Culture

Safety is one of WAPA’s Strategic Enablers, as identified in our Tactical Action Plan.

CSO Shares Journey to WAPA

On Nov. 21, 2021, Kerry Whitford officially joined WAPA as the organization’s chief strategy officer.

GRIDEX Tests WAPA’s Emergency Readiness

WAPA took part in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s GridEx VI emergency exercise.

Top 10 Stories of 2021

As editor, I do hope that you enjoy this look back at the year that was.

ELDP Graduates First Cohort

On Oct. 29, the Emerging Leaders Development Program graduated its first cohort of 30 individuals.

Removing Raptor Nests for Reliable Transmission

With big eyes and sharp talons, one might think that ospreys don’t need much protection from anything.

Insulator Storage Improvement Avoids Costs

In October, the Loveland warehouse staff made a simple change to its storage configuration that uses the space efficiently

Electrical Engineer Receives Leadership Award

In October, Supervisory Electrical Engineer John Quintana received the Industry Leadership Award from RMEL.

Mini Summit Explores Reactive Vs. Creative Leadership

With the onset of COVID-19, strong leadership skills have never been more in demand; organizations around the world require agile responses to evolving short- and long-term needs. 

Portal migration increases security, performance

In 2005, Sierra Nevada launched its SNR Customer Portal to communicate and share information with its energy and transmission customers.

Liaison supports tribal customers

In late June, Jennifer Rodgers announced that DSW and CRSP partnered with the OCAO to support a temporary Tribal liaison detail.

EPTC Reflects on MPS Upgrades

In 2018, the Electric Power Training Center initiated an upgrade to its Miniature Power System.

WAPA First Administrator Passes Away

Robert Louis McPhail, the first person to serve as administrator of Western Area Power Administration, passed away Sept. 28 at the age of 85.

Facility Closure Leads to Discovery of Older Site

In March 2019, Archaeologist Dave Kluth visited a WAPA communication site in Erhard, Minnesota, to perform a survey.

WAPA Welcomes White Belt Training

The Continuous Process Improvement Program launched its newest offering, Lean Six Sigma White Belt Training, in January.

New HR Award Recognizes Strategic Partnership

​​I​​n August, the Power Marketing Administration Human Resources Shared Service Center launched the HR Strategic Partnership Award

Opening Our Eyes to DEI

DEI: diversity, equity and inclusion. We’ve heard these words often; they might just be the second most popular phrase this past year, next to “in these unprecedented times.”

Human Performance Enhances Safety Culutre

As WAPA’s Human Performance Improvement/Just Culture Program gains traction, Human Performance Program Manager Krystall Valencia is interested in better educating employees on how the program benefits them.

Third CLDP Cohort Underway

The third cohort of WAPA’s two-year Craft Leadership Development Program is underway.

RM Manager shares 30-year journey to WAPA

On Aug. 1, WAPA welcomed Bart Barnhart as senior vice president and Rocky Mountain regional manager.

Experiment Takes Aim at Smallmouth Bass

Invasive fishes and woody plants. Declining Colorado pikeminnow numbers. Struggling razorback sucker larvae.

Get to Know WAPA’s CAO

In 2020, Jennifer Rodgers was selected as WAPA’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

Exceptional Employees Honored

The ESAs recognize those who excel in technical competency, enthusiasm, innovation and commitment to bettering themselves and WAPA.

WAPA Attorney Joins EBA Board of Directors

In late May, the Energy Bar Association announced the new president of its Board of Directors at its Virtual Annual Meeting and Conference.

AEM Updates Employees on Major Initiatives

On June 29, employees gathered virtually for WAPA’s All-Employee Meeting,

Drought Conditions May Complicate Hydropower

With the onset of summer, many states in WAPA’s footprint are facing the very real threat of drought so severe that it may complicate hydropower delivery.

Graduates Reflect on DOE Leadership Program

In July 2020, five WAPA employees were selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s Leadership Development Program.

Civil Engineer Wins Emerging Leader Award

In May, Civil Engineer Rebecca Afsar received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL

WAPA sUAS Pilot Program Lifts Off

In March, WAPA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or sUAS, pilot program reached its conclusion.

Crop Duster Strikes Arizona T-Line

Crop dusters do more than apply insecticide and torment Cary Grant.

Pilot Automates Transformer Data Transfer

A significant part of Asset Management’s mission is protecting WAPA’s most important physical equipment.

Face to Face with Inclusion and Diversity

Nobody booked a last-minute flight. No boxes of coffee or communal donuts rewarded the early risers.

OSEM, Strategy Partner to Enhance Security Culture

The Security and Emergency Management and the Strategy office have teamed up to assess WA PA’s security culture.

Get to know WAPA’s COO

In 2018, Kevin Howard was selected as WAPA’s chief operating officer.

Spring Disturbance Flow Charts New Highs, Lows

Experiments are conducted in order to determine the effects that varying releases have on rivers, populations of aquatic creatures and food sources for fish.

Procurement, Craft Team Up to Acquire Vehicle

In March 2019, the Procurement team in Desert Southwest received a purchase request from craft employees for a self-loader 8×6 semi-tractor.

SN, Trinity Partner for Wildfire Prevention

The wildfire season in 2020 was particularly devastating, with West Coast states finding the destructive events difficult to control.

Science Bowls Continue Through Pandemic

For years, WAPA has hosted a number of regional Science Bowl events throughout its footprint.

Employees Recognized for Accomplishments

A number of employees were recently recognized with prestigious awards for their work both at WAPA and in their personal lives.

Winter Energy Shortage Tests Grid Limits

When frigid temperatures cascaded south across the country in February, demand for electric power surged and generation faltered.

Long Hauler Discusses One Full Year of COVID

It’s been more than one year since Financial Program Analyst Lisa O’Brien started feeling the symptoms of COVID-19.

Employees Reflect on a Year Without Precedent

In March 2020, an email was sent WAPA-wide that few employees were expecting: WAPA was transitioning to a maximum telework stance, effective immediately.

One Year Later…

It has been one year since the pandemic upended our lives.

Get to Know WAPA’S Administrator

Following the March 12 departure of Mark A. Gabriel, Tracey LeBeau became WAPA’s administrator and CEO.

AEM Kicks Off 2021

The first All-Employee Meeting of 2021 was held Jan. 26, with presenters and attendees assembling virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Feedback Shapes LDP Offerings

The Leadership Development Program asked for feedback on employee needs from a professional development perspective, and employees were more than happy to provide it!

CLDP Seeking Third Cohort of Craft Employees

This year will see WAPA’s Craft Leadership Development Program accepting its third cohort of participants.

In-House Skills Save Millions on FIMS Upgrades

WAPA’s financial management software is going through a series of upgrades this year.

Wood Pole Structures: The Backbone of WAPA

Wood pole structures are used widely by electric utilities with an estimated 130 million throughout North America.

Summarizing 2020 Hydrology Conditions

One of the biggest challenges for hydropower is water variability due to intermittent drought and flooding.

Statement on Race and Social Justice Released

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel took the opportunity to debut WAPA’s Senior Statement on Race and Social Justice.

Keeping WAPA Safe in 2021

The new year marks a time to make resolutions and set goals.

TAP Updates Guide WAPA’s Strategic Focus

As mentioned at the most recent All-Employee Meeting, the Tactical Action Plan is being updated for fiscal year 2021.

WAPA Strategy Maximizes Value of Data

In this digital age, every large complex organization produces mountains of data — on customers, equipment, services, finances, every aspect of its operations.

Dispatcher Recognized with Leadership Award

In late September, Supervisory Power System Dispatcher Christine Henry received the Industry Leadership Award from RMEL,

Women in Energy Conference Looks Forward

Last year’s EUCI Leadership Conference for Women in Energy featured some of the most accomplished women in the industry from around the country.

I2T Summit Goes Virtual

On the afternoon of Nov. 18, WAPA kicked off its Inclusion, Innovation and Technology Summit, or I2T Summit.

WAPA Reports Q4 Results

​​Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel sent his quarterly memo to the Secretary of Energy outlining WAPA’s fiscal year 2020 fourth-quarter performance.

Top 10 Stories of 2020

This year was like no other, I’m sure we can all agree. Looking back at it to choose only 10 stories to spotlight is even more difficult than usual.

Vegetation Management Protects Lines

The 2020 wildfire season, particularly in Arizona, California and Colorado, has been one of the worst in modern history.

Maintaining Balance in Trying Times

2020 was a historic year, heralding a level of change we could not possibly have anticipated.

ESF-12 Mobilizes After Hurricane Laura

On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura, approaching maximum force, made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana.