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Chugach Electric CEO announces retirement

Chugach Electric Association CEO Lee Thibert has announced he will retire in April of 2022. Thibert, 66, has been with Chugach for over 30 years and has served as CEO for five years.

“Working for Chugach and our members has been an incredible opportunity,” said Thibert. “I am very proud of the work we have done together, continuing to build a strong, vital utility, providing power to thousands of Alaska homes and businesses.”

Thibert’s career at Chugach began in 1987 and he held a variety of senior management positions before being named CEO in July 2016. As CEO, he has led Chugach through several significant events including the acquisition of Municipal Light & Power, the purchase of an ownership interest in the Beluga River gas field and interest in Cook Inlet’s first commercial gas storage facility, and successfully navigating the utility through the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lee has been a steady and accomplished CEO, leading Chugach through many significant changes over the years,” said Chugach Board Chair Rachel Morse. “We will miss him, but his retirement is well-deserved, and he leaves Chugach a strong and resilient utility.”

Morse added the board’s goal is to have a smooth transition next year and will immediately begin a search for Thibert’s replacement.

Applications accepted for Member Advisory Council

The Chugach Board of Directors is looking for volunteers to serve on a Member Advisory Council (MAC). The MAC would advise the board as an ad hoc committee on issues impacting the member-owned electric cooperative.

MAC volunteers will assist in the overall effort to get more engagement from members, provide feedback on emerging issues within the electric utility, and connect members to the governance structure of the member-owned cooperative. 

Additionally, the MAC will help identify candidates for election committees and board seats. Applications are available here and are due by the close of business on Sept. 24, 2021. MAC members will be appointed in the fall and asked to serve a one-year term. Meetings will begin in January 2022.

Chugach members elect new director

Chugach members elected a new director to the utility’s seven-member board of directors. Election results were announced Tuesday night at the electric cooperative’s virtual annual meeting. Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and restrictions on large gatherings, Chugach held its annual meeting virtually for the second year in a row.

University of Alaska Anchorage associate research professor Erin Whitney was elected to serve a four-year term on the board. Whitney will replace engineer Stuart Parks who has served on the board since January 2017. Retired engineer Leslie “Fritz” Krusen also ran for the open board seat. Of Chugach’s members of record—10, 453 or 11.4%—cast ballots in the 2021 election. Of the members who voted, 10,236 voted electronically and 217 used paper ballots. There was no in-person voting this year.

In this year’s election, Chugach members also approved four bylaw amendments dealing with board and committee eligibility, the manner of holding meetings, executive sessions, and capital credits. The Chugach Board of Directors will elect new officers at the next regular board meeting scheduled for May 26 beginning at 4 pm.

Chugach’s 2020 Annual Report is available and on-line at https://www.chugachelectric.com/media/annual-reports

Plans underway for Annual Election and virtual Annual Meeting

April and May are busy months for Chugach and its members with the annual election and virtual annual meeting. The Board of Directors set April 1 as the date of record for this year’s election. You must be a member by that date in order to vote. 

On April 16, members with an email in our system will receive an email including a link to the election materials and instructions for voting, and paper ballots will be mailed to those who have requested them. Paper ballots and election materials are available upon request. To request  a paper ballot or update your email with Chugach, you can email service@chugachelectric.com or call 563-7366. Names of members who vote in the annual election go into a drawing for one free year of electricity (up to 10,000 kWh).

Three candidates are running for one open seat on the Chugach Board of Directors and there are four proposed bylaw amendments.