Congratulations to the 2021 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards Winners!

On December 2, 2021, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) hosted its annual Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards ceremony. The seventh annual awards also mark the alliance’s 25-year anniversary of delivering energy savings through market transformation to the region.

A panel of NEEA Board members help select this year’s winners and host the virtual celebration. They were:

LEEA 2021 Board photo
  • Dan Bedbury, NEEA Board member and Director of Energy Resources for Clark PUD
  • Monica Cowlishaw, NEEA Board member and Manager of Energy Efficiency Community Outreach for Cascade Natural Gas Corporation
  • Cory Scott, NEEA Board Chair and Director Customer Solutions for Pacific Power
  • Susan Stratton, NEEA’s Executive Director


Before divulging the winners in the categories of Innovation, Collaboration and Lifetime Achievement, Stratton and Scott recognized the alliance’s accomplishments over the past 25 years.

Stratton described how the alliance’s accomplishments of the last 25 years could not have happened without the leadership and collaboration of the alliance’s funders and the support of stakeholders, program implementers, and market partners.

Within our rapidly changing industry, the Northwest’s energy efficiency community continues to show national leadership, collaboration and innovation toward meeting our shared energy efficiency goals. There’s no match to the level of commitment to collaboration we have here.

- Susan Stratton
executive director, NEEA

Scott noted that it is rare for regional utilities to come together and pursue collaborative efforts that are more powerful than any of the work funders and stakeholders could accomplish individually.

The 25-year anniversary video below features voices from around the region on the past, present and future vision of the alliance. The 25-year timeline dives into the alliance’s collective accomplishments.


The Chairperson’s Award decided by NEEA’s Board chair and executive director annually recognizes individual dedication and commitment to advancing the alliance’s work.

The 2021 recipient of the Chairperson’s award was Steve Wright, general manager of Chelan PUD. Throughout his career, Wright has always been grounded in taking actions for the long-term benefit of the region and its energy customers.

Steve Wright Chelan PUD Chairpersons Award

Early in his role as Administrator of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Steve made a commitment to a establish a stable, predictable energy efficiency funding model for BPA and the region that transformed the energy efficiency industry. When Steve joined Chelan PUD, the utility had a well-established efficiency program, but with the belief that the best energy resource is the one you don’t have to build; Steve took the bold initiative of doubling the output of the utility’s energy efficiency programs for the good of his customers and as an economic advantage for the utility.

With his vision, Wright helped to launch the alliance on the trajectory it is on today. His leadership was essential to building a regional collaborative that not only saves energy, but also fills a pipeline with emerging technologies, compiles data resources for better planning, and engages with the market in programs like codes and standards to permanently increase energy efficiency in the Northwest.

Congratulations to Steve Wright!


The winner of the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation was then announced by Monica Cowlishaw – the FortisBC Innovative Technologies Team: Jim Kobialko, Mila Barbour and Rav Deol.

Fortis BC
Pictured: Jim Kobialko, Mila Barbour, Rav Deol

The FortisBC Innovative Technologies Team dedicates tremendous time and resources to transforming the natural gas heat pump market and demonstrates commitment to partnering with utilities, manufacturers, consortiums, and governments to draw attention to the mass opportunity that gas heat pump technologies have on reducing emissions while providing affordable and reliable energy to natural gas customers. The team evaluates new space and water heating technologies that can achieve system efficiencies greater than 100% and show a promising path forward to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Congratulations to the FortisBC Innovative Technologies Team, on receiving the 2021 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation!


Dan Bedbury revealed the winner of the 2021 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration – Margaret Lewis of the Bonneville Power Administration.

Lewis demonstrates leadership and commitment to providing excellent customer service and collaboration across BPA and customer utilities to support the success of energy efficiency programs in the region.

Margaret Lewis

Her accomplishments include developing a more intuitive and understandable process for reporting energy savings for strategic energy management programs; collaborating with BPA utilities on bilateral transfers ensuring the efficient spending of Energy Efficiency Incentive funding across the region; and working to support Washington utilities for I-937 compliance audits.

Congratulations to Margaret Lewis!


Last, but certainly not least, Stratton had the honor of introducing the winner of the prestigious Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021. To aid in the celebration, the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winners – Chuck Murray, of the Washington State Department of Commerce – helped pass the torch and congratulate the new winner. The alliance was honored to present the 2021 Tom Eckman Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Brown of the Bonneville Power Administration.

Frank Brown BPA Lifetime Achievement website

For more than 40 years, Brown has contributed to the success of energy efficiency, demand response, and non-wire solutions in the region. His distinguished career has earned numerous awards for innovation and energy savings for federal agencies and his innovative solutions have contributed to a more resilient regional power system. His project list represents the whole portfolio of energy efficiency including organizing regional partners to weatherize 50,000 homes. Brown oversaw the completion of 53 projects for seven different federal agencies, saving more than 30 million kilowatt hours per year. He led lighting upgrades at Grand Coulee Dam replacing 10,000 fixtures to save nearly nine million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. As a result of this work, Grand Coulee Dam’s 6,809 megawatts of nameplate capacity grew by an entire megawatt. More recently, Brown expertly supported the BPA Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resources team and was the project manager of one of the most important demand response/energy storage projects, winning an innovation award from the Peak Load Management Alliance.

Brown is also widely recognized as an outstanding coworker, manager, and mentor. He generously provides detailed guidance backed by his years of experience and is fondly known as Encyclopedia Brown by his peers. Brown’s remarkable history of delivering on the most ambitious energy efficiency goals in the United States leaves a legacy of achievement that is difficult to match.

Congratulations to Frank Brown for his outstanding public service in energy efficiency!

Learn more about all of the 2021 Leadership in Energy Efficiency nominees or watch the recording of the virtual ceremony