​By Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel

For six years I have had the sincere honor of serving as the administrator and CEO of Western Area Power Administration. It has been a time of both great opportunities and challenges for the organization as a whole, and I am proud of what we have achieved together.

Every day, employees throughout our 15-state footprint come together to keep the lights on for more than 40 million Americans throughout the West. As we collaboratively invest in a connected energy future, the great work performed by each and every employee has not gone unrecognized by the Department of Energy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the customers you serve.

Though we are only about midway through this fiscal year, we already have much to celebrate.

Our chief strategy officer rolled out Tactical Action Plan 2019, outlining the specific goals and initiatives that feed the success of the critical pathways outlined in Strategic Roadmap 2024.

We dispatched employees to restore power in the Northern Mariana Islands in the wake of Category 5 Super Typhoon Yutu.

We energized the Hassayampa Switching Station in Arizona, representing a major upgrade to our relay and communications systems.

A Common SCADA Vendor Project Team is hard at work identifying and implementing a singular supervisory control and data acquisition solution for the organization, not only making WAPA-wide support easier, but making our power marketing efforts safer and more secure.

The Extended Leadership Team has started meeting formally, with a focus on strategy, culture and improved communication.

We have assisted in the potential downgrading of the razorback sucker from endangered to threatened, eliminating a regulatory hurdle for transmission infrastructure projects. This follows hot on the heels of the similar improvements we helped achieve for the humpback chub and the Deseret milk-vetch.

The Organizational Approach to Markets initiative is developing ideas to optimize balancing authority operations, building an Energy Marketing and Management Office knowledge repository and more clearly defining Power Billing processes, responsibilities and tasks throughout WAPA.

We introduced a new Decision Framework to help employees and teams make better, clearer and well-informed decisions. We have taken steps toward true Records Management innovation with the procurement of an electronic records management system. We have continued optimizing on interdependencies between cybersecurity, physical security and asset management to invest wisely in protective measures where they make the most sense and prioritize risk and criticality.

This is only a small sampling of what we have achieved already this fiscal year with so much more to come, including hosting a Market Workshop this month, exploring new technologies such as battery storage and artificial intelligence, and assessing ways to share unused fiber capacity. You can expect to hear more information about the latter initiative this year.

These efforts help the organization keep pace with changes in the energy industry, preparing our operations, assets and people for success in a dynamic energy frontier.

Our customers rely on us to deliver clean, renewable, cost-based hydroelectric power. Doing so successfully requires us to be agile, flexible and innovative. I see that spirit and dedication in every employee here at WAPA, and I encourage you to seek new ways to keep this organization at the forefront of the industry.

These past six years have been among the most rewarding of my career, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead WAPA toward a connected energy future.

Thank you, all of you, for six great years.

Last modified on September 12th, 2023