After an extensive national search, the Chelan County PUD Commission today unanimously selected Kirk Hudson, a recognized public power leader in the Pacific Northwest, as its new general manager. Hudson, who will assume the role on Jan. 1, 2022, has served in several positions for Chelan PUD in the past 24 years, most recently as its managing director of generation and transmission. He replaces Steve Wright who has served as general manager since 2013.
“During our community outreach this spring, we received hundreds of comments from customers and employees about the qualities they wanted to see in a new general manager,” said Randy Smith, president of the PUD’s Board of Commissioners. “This input was vital to our recruitment process and our selection of Kirk Hudson. He was the clear choice to advance the PUD’s mission and continue our work to enhance the quality of life for our customer-owners.”
“We heard several consistent themes from the community and employees,” Commissioner Steve McKenna stated. “There was interest in recruiting a candidate with strong leadership skills, business management acumen, integrity, background with Pacific Northwest issues, solid communications skills and understanding of renewable energy. We also heard numerous comments about considering candidates internally and within our region.”
“Kirk is keenly focused on customers and meeting their changing interests,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon. “He shares our interest in creating the best value for customers and continuing to offer new ways for them to do business with us and make choices about energy use.”
Commissioners also reinforced Hudson’s commitment to implementing the PUD’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.
“As part of our five-year plan, we’re making multiple investments on behalf of customers,” said Commissioner Dennis Bolz. “We’re modernizing hydropower projects, building new facilities for better customer service, accelerating fiber buildout for faster internet, building new substations and expanding tree trimming to support reliability. Kirk was the best candidate to lead these critical efforts going forward.”
“Kirk shares our vision of providing the best value for the most people for the longest time,” added Commissioner Garry Arseneault. “The utility industry is undergoing massive change as we move toward more clean energy sources and new technology. Kirk is very well suited to take advantage of opportunities and create value for the community.”
“I am honored the PUD Commission has selected me to be the next general manager,” Hudson said. “I’m looking forward to serving our communities in this new capacity. The Commission and Steve Wright have developed a solid five-year strategic plan that we are two years into, and I’m excited to work more closely with the board and our extremely talented employees who are essential to successfully implement that plan.”
In addition to his experience at Chelan PUD, in 2018 Hudson led the formation of the Hydropower Research Institute, a data-driven collaborative aimed at driving the digital transformation of hydropower. He also worked in the consulting industry for seven years prior to joining the PUD. Hudson graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in civil engineering. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children, ages 25, 22 and 20.
Hudson is the 13th general manager since Chelan PUD was formed in 1936. The PUD offers some of the lowest electric rates in the country, as well as providing water, wastewater and wholesale broadband internet services. The PUD reinvests a portion of its revenues back into the community through the Public Power Benefit program, which supports community projects such as expanded fiber internet, day use parking passes to state parks, electric vehicle charging stations, public art and more.
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