2020 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards Recap

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards!

On December 3, 2020, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) hosted its sixth annual Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards ceremony. Although the circumstances of 2020 required the ceremony to take place as a virtual webinar instead of an in person gathering, NEEA’s Board and staff were still able to carry on the tradition of celebrating outstanding achievements in collaboration, innovative solutions and career-long contributions to advancing energy efficiency in the Northwest.

A panel of presenters lead the celebration for attendees. They were:

  • Susan Stratton, NEEA’s executive director
  • Suzanne Frew, NEEA Board member and sr. program manager for Snohomish Public Utility District, and
  • Monica Cowlishaw, NEEA Board member and manager of energy efficiency and community service for Cascade Natural Gas.
LEEA 2020 Presenter headshots


The event kicked off with Stratton, who provided an overview of successes and challenges the alliance faced in 2020.

Even through COVID-19 impacts and the aftereffects of a record-breaking fire season, the Northwest’s energy efficiency community – organizations, teams and individuals across the Northwest – have continued to show national leadership, collaboration and innovation toward meeting our shared energy goals.

- Susan Stratton
Executive Director, NEEA

The Reveal

Before divulging the winners in the categories of Innovation, Collaboration and Lifetime Achievement, Stratton made a special announcement: a new award category was added this year – The Chairperson’s Award.

This award, which will be decided by NEEA’s Board chair and executive director annually, recognizes individual dedication and commitment to advancing the alliance’s work.

The Chairperson’s Award

Larry Blaufus headshot chairperson award

The inaugural recipient of the Chairperson’s award was Larry Blaufus, who retired from Clark Public Utilities in 2019 after being actively involved in the proliferation of energy efficiency in the Northwest since 1978. Blaufus managed residential, commercial and industrial energy efficiency programs, and implemented key account programs throughout his career.

During this time, Blaufus made a significant contribution to the alliance, serving multiple terms on NEEA’s Board of Directors, including a term as Treasurer, and most recently leading NEEA’s 2020-2024 Business Planning process. His commitment to energy efficiency shone brightly through this work with the alliance.

Congratulations to Larry, on being the inaugural winner of this award!

2020 Innovation Winner

HI Energy Rating Program WINNER

After the surprise Chairperson’s Award reveal, the winner of the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation was then announced by Suzanne Frew – The Hydraulic Institute.

As the global authority on pumps and pumping systems, the Hydraulic Institute was recognized for its efforts to drive the awareness and adoption of energy-efficient pump technologies through its ecosystem of tools and resources designed to enable the adoption of high-performance, reliable and energy-saving pump technologies. The Hydraulic Institute’s Energy Rating Program database is North America’s largest resource for viewing and verifying pump data. The database makes it easy and straightforward for pump engineers to understand potential energy savings from pump system upgrades in commercial, industrial, agricultural and municipal applications.

Congratulations to the Hydraulic Institute, on receiving the 2020 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration!

2020 Collaboration Winner

NW SEM Collaborative Leadership Team PNG

Monica Cowlishaw then announced the winner of the 2020 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration – the Northwest Strategic Energy Management Collaborative Leadership Team: Kati Harper (chair), Energy Trust of Oregon; Sara York (vice chair), Cascade Energy/BPA Energy Smart Industrial; Todd Amundson, Bonneville Power Administration; Faith DeBolt, SBW Consulting; Nick Leritz, NEEA; Lionel Metchop, Puget Sound Energy; Jim Volkman, Strategic Energy Group; and Kevin Wallace, BC Hydro.

The Northwest Strategic Energy Management – or SEM – Collaborative is a community of Northwest practitioners dedicated to saving energy through strategic energy management. It was formed in 2011 based on the premise that the region can achieve more working together than any single utility or organization can working alone. The Collaborative aims to help energy efficiency program administrators accelerate the adoption of SEM in the industrial and commercial sectors. And, through the explicit work of the Northwest Collaborative’s leadership team, a Northeast Collaborative was started in New England and most recently a National North American Collaborative was founded on the same principles and structure.

Congratulations to the Northwest Strategic Energy Management Collaborative Leadership team! The work of the Northwest Collaborative has ensured that Northwest SEM programs continue to operate and be viewed as the leaders in program innovation and administration.

2020 Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Winner

Chuck Murray WINNER

Last, but certainly not least, Stratton had the honor of introducing the winner of the prestigious Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Award for 2020. To aid in the celebration, the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winners – Dick Stroh of the Bonneville Power Administration and Charlie Grist of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council – joined by video to pass the torch and congratulate the new winner. The alliance was honored to present the 2020 Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Award to Chuck Murray of the Washington State Department of Commerce.

For more than 30 years, Murray has worked to advance energy efficiency. He is recognized nationally for his expertise and influence at both the technical and policy levels of energy efficiency in the built environment. He has a proven record on his leadership in designing and implementing state energy policies and advancing building energy efficiency.

Whether he is helping set state standards for appliance efficiency, implementing the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency resource standard, being part of an award-winning group pushing innovation and progress on Washington State’s energy code, or, most recently, being the vision behind the first-in-the-nation state building energy performance standards - Chuck has played a vital role in getting the job done. His work has helped to maintain Washington state’s energy code as one of the most stringent in the country.

Congratulations to Chuck Murray for his outstanding professionalism, technical expertise and dedicated public service in support of increased energy efficiency and clean energy future.

Wrap up

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.

And, the alliance would like to express one more congratulations to all the 2020 nominees:

Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation:

  • Chuck Murray, Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Emerald PUD Non-Wires HPWH Pilot: Tyler Boehringer, Rob Currier, Brandon Gee, Kristine Lindemulder and Kyle Roadman of Emerald PUD; Crystal Nispuruk, GenPAC; Jeff Mitchell and Kyle Stuart, NEEA
  • Seattle City Light
  • Rheem Manufacturing Company
  • Tacoma Power: Power Management - Customer Energy Programs
  • Hydraulic Institute

Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration:

  • Gerard O’Sullivan, AESC
  • Victoria Parker, Waypoint Energy
  • Northwest Strategic Energy Management Collaborative Leadership Team: Todd Amundson, Bonneville Power Administration; Faith DeBolt, SBW Consulting; Kati Harper, Energy Trust of Oregon; Nick Leritz, NEEA; Lionel Metchop, Puget Sound Energy; Jim Volkman, Strategic Energy Group; Kevin Wallace, BC Hydro; Sara York, Cascade Energy/BPA Energy Smart Industrial
  • Energy Efficiency Team, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation
  • Cheryn Metzger, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Wendy Gibson, Energy Trust of Oregon

Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • H. Gil Peach, H. Gil Peach and Associates
  • Frank Brown, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Roger Spring, Evergreen Efficiency
  • Pete Pengilly, Idaho Power
  • Chuck Murray, Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Larry Blaufus, Clark Public Utilities
  • Peter West, Energy Trust of Oregon