The Okanogan Electric Cooperative (OCEC) will hold its 84th annual meeting on Monday, April 17, starting at 7 p.m. in the Winthrop Barn.
The meeting will include voting on three board positions that are up for election, and General Manager Greg Mendonca will discuss OCEC operations, rates, grant opportunities and energy efficiency. The meeting will be held in person, with no virtual participation option. American Legion Auxiliary No. 120 will serve pie afterwards.
Running for re-election to the seven-member board are incumbents Dale Sekijima and Travis Thornton, and Alaina Burtenshaw who was nominated by the board to fill the seat being vacated by Sara Carlberg, who will not seek re-election.
There will be a candidate forum via Zoom on Tuesday, March 28, at 6 p.m. Candidates will have up to 10 minutes to give a statement, followed by a question-and-answer session. The Zoom link and information will be on the OCEC website, and was emailed to the co-op membership on Tuesday (March 21). Election packets will be mailed to co-op members on March 27.
For more information, visit https://ocec.coop.
A quick look at the board candidates:
• Burtenshaw has been a full-time resident of Twisp since April 2018. As an attorney, her primary practice was in the area of public utility regulation where she practiced as a private attorney before the Public Utility Commission of Nevada and then for more than 25 years as an attorney for the commission as staff counsel, commissioner and chairman. As a former regulator involved in both the specific details and broad policies of the electric industry, she has witnessed the numerous changes and challenges the industry has and continues to face and believes she would bring a unique perspective to the OCEC board.
• Sekijima has been an OCEC board member since 2011 and for the last several years he has served as the board chair, focusing on the cost of power and staff operating costs. He is also a director of Okanogan County Energy Inc., the propane subsidiary. He and his wife have lived in the valley for more than 25 years. He has a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from U.C. Berkeley. His work experience includes management of a high-tech computer software and hardware firm, most years as CEO.
• Thornton is counsel at the western regional law firm Snell and Wilmer LLP, and has been telecommuting either part- or full-time from his home near Winthrop since 2004. He has experience with and knowledge of transactional, contract, negotiation and commercial finance issues. Thornton previously served on the Methow Watershed Council and the boards of the Chewuch Canal Company, Methow Valley Youth Soccer and Methow Arts and on the 2014 Methow School District Levy Task Force. He and his wife, Jeanne, have raised two children from birth and age 3 through the valley’s schools.