Historical AVEC News Release

Posted: May 30, 2018

It was 50 years ago this month, June 1968, that AVEC issued a news release announcing the opening of an office in Anchorage. AVEC also mentioned the first training courses offered to the men who would operate the power plants in their villages. More information on this is on the next page. The news release also provided background information on Bill Rhodes, AVEC’s first general manager. The news release is reprinted below.

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JUNE 20, 1968

The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative has opened an office on the second floor of the Reed Building at 608 Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.

The Cooperative will eventually service the electrical needs of all of the towns and villages of Alaska that do not now have central station electric power. The Cooperative plans to construct electrical facilities in the following villages this year: Noorvik, Kiana, Selawik, Huslia, Nulato, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, Nunapitchuk, Grayling and Togiak.

The board of directors of the Cooperative, headed by Representative William L. Hensley of Kotzebue, are presently selecting the next twenty villages to be served. An announcement of their locations will be made about mid-July. Field surveys to locate the first ten generating plants and electric distribution facilities are now in progress under the supervision of Thomas M. Shaw, chief engineer of the Cooperative.

When the facilities are constructed in the villages, they will be operated by local residents. Two men from each of the first ten villages are now in Anchorage at the Community College receiving training in electric system operational procedures. The basic training is being conducted at the college under the supervision of Charles Wingrove, but will be moved to the electrical apprenticeship school at 5144 E. 22nd within the next two weeks.

Mr. W.C. (Bill) Rhodes, manager of the cooperative, came to Anchorage from Amarillo, Texas where he had spent 17 years with the Southwestern Public Service Company. He was executive assistant to the vice-present in charge of operations before resigning to accept the position of manager of the local cooperative.

Mr. Rhodes was born in Pennsylvania July 3, 1915. His wife Gladys (Gay) is also from Pennsylvania. They have two married daughters; one in Miami, Florida and one in Dallas, Texas. Their son Tom, 19 years of age, moved with the family to Anchorage. Mr. Rhodes has 32 years of experience in the electric utility field working with cooperatives and large power companies.

For more information contact:
W.C. Rhodes
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc.
608 Fourth Avenue, Reed Building, Room 25, Anchorage, Alaska  99501
Phone: 277-9033