January 2021 Back Page – To Everything There Is a Season

Posted: April 15, 2021

I walked into AVEC on May 15, 2000 – a few years younger than I am today but full of anticipation for what I knew would be the most important chapter in my career. A few months later we had a freezing rain storm that brought down much of the distribution system in Kasigluk and Nunapitchuk. Power was down for nine days – the longest during my tenure!

So much has changed since that fateful day. The Denali Commission named AVEC as their energy partner in 2001 and trusted us to invest
more than $200 million in our communities. For the first time, we were able to bring many systems up to modern day standards. Many “BIA” style tank farms – the old vertical “nested” tanks from the 60s – were replaced with welded tanks within diked containment systems.

State-of-the-art metering was installed in the mid-2000s – more than a decade before Alaska’s urban utilities did the same. Dozens of wind turbines have been raised, reducing our reliance on diesel fuel. AVEC is now regarded as an innovative leader in the world of microgrids because we have demonstrated that our small systems can achieve amazing results. I can honestly say that not a single day has gone by when I was not grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization. We are more than an electric utility; we are a family of board members,
staff and members like you – where everyone has the same goal. To be the best utility. That is our
mission statement and we live it every day.

Twenty years ago the AVEC board of directors entrusted me to deliver on their promise to you. I welcomed that commitment and have done my best to fulfill it. It is now time to pass the baton to your next leader – Bill Stamm. Bill will step into the CEO’s office on January 15th. I will depart shortly after. Bill will introduce himself to you in our next Ruralite magazine but let me assure you that AVEC is in good hands. I will continue to be available to him (and you) for advice and assistance but I am confident that the transition will be seamless.

Quyana for trusting me with this wonderful company; Quyana for the many wonderful visits and conversations we have had; Quyana for all you do for our power plant operators and technicians in your community!

The hardest thing we ever do is say “goodbye.” So I will not do that – I will simply say – until
next time.

Meera Kohler
President and CEO