MICHELLE WILLIAMS Senior Vice President and Sierra Nevada Regional Manager Western Area Power Administration

For Release: August 25, 2023


Eric Barendsen, 720-962-7411, mediarelations@wapa.gov

Mary Lee Knecht, 916-978-5100, mknecht@usbr.gov

Deputy Regional Director Michelle Williams transitions to Senior Vice President for Western Area Power Administration

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation and Western Area Power Administration announced today that Deputy Regional Director Michelle Williams will transition to Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for WAPA’s Sierra Nevada region as of November 6.

“Michelle has been a tremendous asset to Reclamation over the last four years and has spearheaded several key initiatives for the region, including helping to secure vital Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for our aging infrastructure,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant. “Michelle’s move to WAPA will further strengthen the partnership of our agencies. We are looking forward to working with her in this new capacity.”

Williams’ transition to WAPA is a natural fit coming from Reclamation. WAPA was formed after the Department of Energy Organization Act in 1977 to take over the management of power marketing and transmission responsibilities from Reclamation. Today, WAPA markets and transmits wholesale electricity from 57 hydropower plants operated by Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Michelle’s extensive knowledge of federal hydropower and experience partnering with industry stakeholders to solve pressing problems will serve WAPA and its Sierra Nevada region’s customers well,” said WAPA Administrator and CEO Tracey A. LeBeau. “Her understanding of water and energy issues in California and the West, as well as her track record of applying innovative thinking to improve business practices, will help WAPA continue to face the challenges of operating in today’s rapidly changing energy landscape.”

As Senior Vice President and Sierra Nevada Regional Manager, Williams will exercise managerial authority and strategic leadership over more than 1,300 miles of high-voltage electric transmission lines and 25 substations, while selling more than 4.9 megawatt-hours of power to 95 municipalities, cooperatives, federal and state agencies, and irrigation districts. She will oversee more than 160 federal employees and roughly 100 contract staff located throughout WAPA’s service territory in California and Nevada.

“I am thrilled to join the WAPA team and continue to work with our partners to protect the sustainability and future of federal hydropower,” said Williams. “My experience in the field will allow me to hit the ground running and help advance business practices in the ever-changing climate of hydropower.”

Since November 2019, Williams has served as Reclamation’s Deputy Regional Director for Business Services for Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region, a federal agency under Department of the Interior that delivers water and generates power in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin. In this role, Williams oversaw the divisions of Financial Management, Acquisition Services, Information Management, Administrative Services, and Human Resources.

Williams has previous leadership experience with multiple federal agencies including Department of Commerce, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Labor.

Williams holds a Master of Business Administration degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Management, both from the University of Phoenix.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov/ and follow us on Twitter @USBR & @ReclamationCGB; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.

Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 28,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Visit the website at www.wapa.gov.

Last modified on November 2nd, 2023