On December 4, 2023, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) hosted its ninth annual Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards ceremony.
A panel of presenters lead the celebration for attendees. They were:
The event kicked off with Yates, who provided an overview of the alliance’s milestones from the last year, highlighting moments of innovation and momentous collaboration.
Innovation and collaboration are inextricably linked. The leadership of year’s nominees and winners demonstrates how innovation through collaboration is advancing energy efficiency solutions for all Northwest consumers.
Presented by Colgrove, the Chairperson’s Award is decided by NEEA’s Board chair and executive director annually and recognizes individual dedication and commitment to advancing the alliance’s work. The 2023 recipient of the Chairperson’s Award was Fred Gordon, Energy Trust of Oregon.
Considered a founder of Market Transformation, Gordon played a pivotal role in shaping the foundational practices of NEEA. He has served as a trusted advisor and active member of the alliance since its beginning.
Through his experience and capacity for caring about how NEEA’s work unfolds, and his mentoring of those advancing efficiency in the region, he has made a lasting impact on the alliance and on the people who make up the energy efficiency community in the Northwest.
Congratulations to Fred Gordon!
Presented by DePetris, the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Rising Star Award recognized an emerging leader in energy efficiency whose record reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the industry. The winner of the 2023 Rising Star Award was Grace Weger of Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity.
As director of Director of Land Acquisition and Development, Weger has dedicated her career to reducing energy burdens for underserved communities and developing homes that are safe, healthy and energy efficient.
She has an ability to identify needs and create and implement strategic ways to address them such as using triple-pane windows as an innovative way to improve comfort and enhance energy efficiency without exceeding limited budgets. Her commitment to value engineering and creative problem solving enables Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity to deliver the levels of comfort and above-code efficiency, more commonly associated with high-end green builders, to low-income families.
Congratulations to Grace Weger on receiving the 2023 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Rising Star Award!
The winner of the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Innovative Collaboration award was then announced by Archuleta – the Tacoma Power Income Qualified Rental Program Team. The team consisted of the following individuals from Tacoma Power: Sara Bowles (lead), Jenae Elliott, Anne Larrabee, Martha Lantz, Ali McKinney, Bernie Peterson, Bryan Russo, Abbie Sunich and Hollis Tamura.
The team was recognized for its innovative approach to reducing the energy burden of income-qualified customers living in rental properties through a unique collaboration between utilities, government organizations, trade allies and property owners.
The successful program was created to appeal to property owners, reduce energy burden of the most vulnerable populations, and support affordable housing initiatives in the City of Tacoma. To date, this collaboration between utility staff, community agencies, trade allies, and Tacoma Power customers has resulted in reduced energy burden for 12 households with 13 more in the pipeline.
Bowles, team lead, accepted the award during the ceremony on behalf of the team.
Congratulations to Tacoma Power’s Income Qualified Rental Program Team on receiving the 2023 Innovative Collaboration Award!
For the Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Award, Fernandi had the honor of announcing the 2023 winner – Craig Smith, Seattle City Light.
Spanning more than four decades in the utility industry, Smith’s professional career embodies outstanding achievement in advancing energy efficiency in the Northwest; dedication to public service, mentorship, and the equitable delivery of energy efficiency to utility customers. He has served in multiple leadership and advisory roles both regionally and nationally, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Snohomish County PUD, the Michigan Public Service Commission and most recently with Seattle City Light.
Smith possesses several traits that have made him successful over his long-tenured career: a commitment to public service, a customer-focused perspective, a collaborative and cooperative nature, and the vision and aptitude necessary to create organizational structures to meet the evolving needs of the industry.
Throughout his career, Smith showed an exceptional commitment to mentoring energy efficiency professionals, leaving a deep and lasting impact on the industry.
Congratulations to Craig Smith for receiving this well-deserved award!
Finally, this year’s ceremony also included posthumous recognition of the contributions of Dr. Tina Jayaweera, senior advisor in the power division for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (the Council).
Jayaweera was known as an educator who embraced opportunities to share her knowledge and mentor people throughout their careers. This trait made her a valued advisor to many organizations and individuals across the region, including the alliance.
The memorial award was presented for her significant impact in improving energy efficiency in the Northwest and was accepted by Kevin Smit and Jennifer Light from the Council.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the event. If you missed the event or need a refresh, we encourage you to check out the live recording below or view the photos from the event on NEEA's Flickr.
And, the alliance would like to express one more congratulations to all the 2023 nominees:
Leadership in Energy Efficiency Rising Star Award:
Leadership in Energy Efficiency Innovative Collaboration Award:
Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award:
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