Five candidates seeking one seat on Holy Cross Energy’s Board of Directors | VailDaily.com

Five candidates seeking one seat on Holy Cross Energy’s Board of Directors

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Holy Cross Energy, an electric company cooperatively owned by its members, is holding its first contested Board of Directors election in five years. Six candidates are seeking two seats on the seven-member board.

One petition was received for the Northern District Director position, from incumbent Megan M. Gilman. Since there are no challengers, Gilman will be reelected for another three-year term by acclamation.

Gilman, along with Adam Palmer and Kristen Bertuglia, represent the Eagle County area on the board. Holy Cross Energy serves members in Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, Mesa and Gunnison counties.

Five petitions were received for the Western District Director position: David Hornbacher, Clemons M. Kopf, Tom Edward VonDette, Jared W. Kerst and Adam L. Wibby. Ballots for this election were mailed May 18 to 42,300 current members. All Holy Cross Energy members are asked to vote for their candidate of choice to represent the Western District.

If you have an account with Holy Cross Energy, you're eligible to vote in the election.

Here are candidate-submitted profiles of those running for the Western District seat on the board:

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David Hornbacher

• Member since: 2010.

• Residence: Carbondale.

• As a member since 2010, I have experienced Holy Cross Energy's commitment to reliable service, customer excellence, rate management, and an expanding renewable energy portfolio. To build on this tradition of excellence, I will leverage my 30 years of Colorado electric utility experience to serve Holy Cross Energy members through strategic vision, sound decisions and direction that builds the organization capacity to succeed in a changing electric industry.

Reliable and responsible energy are the cornerstones of a strong organization. Responsible energy is a transition to the fuels of the future. I am committed to advancing Holy Cross Energy's renewable energy portfolio advocating progressive goals that support our environmental stewardship and stabilize our energy cost in the future. In my current role as the Director of Utilities for Aspen, our team achieved a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio in year 2015 while maintaining low rates. It is possible and I have the experience necessary to propel Holy Cross Energy along a similar path of rate stability and stewardship.

I will support policies that enable dedicated Holy Cross Energy staff to continue delivery of reliable energy and that leverages technology, including the recently installed advanced metering system to improve service while reducing outages and operating cost. It is my priority to connect members to expanded energy conservation and efficiency programs which is the opportunity to invest in our homes and business while saving on the monthly electric bill.

Your vote counts and determines the direction of Holy Cross Energy. I hope that my vision and capacity to deliver results will earn that vote.

Clemons M. Kopf

• Member since: 1996.

• Residence: Glenwood Springs.

• I am an electrical engineer and 47-year resident of Garfield County, with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and served in the U.S. Army. I was the chief engineer of Holy Cross Energy (1970-1975) and consulting electrical engineer for the Alpine events site for three Winter Olympic Games (1988, 2002, and 2010). I am a lifelong member of the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Crystal River Valley Environmental Protection Association.

My public service has been as the Chairman of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission for 11 years, a member of the Garfield County Board of Review, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, and the Glenwood Springs High School Basketball Referees Association. I installed 37 panels (10kW) of solar electric energy on my home in 2014.

My goal as board member is to fulfill Holy Cross Energy's mission statement "to provide its members with the best possible services at a reasonable and competitive cost consistent with sound business and environmental practices."

Candidates endorsed by Auden Schendler of the Aspen Skiing Company have won every contested election at Holy Cross Energy for the past nine years.

This year, Auden Schendler is endorsing City of Aspen Public Utilities manager, Dave Hornbacher, for Western District Director of Holy Cross Energy. Don't vote for Dave, vote for me, Clem Kopf, an independent candidate, who will keep my eye on the ball (reliability, sustainability, and cost), and represent you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tom Edward VonDette

• Member since: 2004.

• Residence: Rifle.

• I've been ranching in the Rifle area my entire life. I also own and operate Mountain Locating, a private utilities-locating service, with 20 years of experience. During that time, I have been locating for Holy Cross Energy and other utility companies in the Colorado River Valley from Battlement Mesa to Vail, and also up the Roaring Fork Valley. I have taken great pride in working with the Holy Cross crews to protect our utility and the contractors over the years.

I'm the president of the Holy Cross Cattleman's Association and I have served on the Energy Advisory Board for the past four years. I am also a member of the Pitkin Eagle Garfield Damage Prevention Council (PEGDPC).

I'm a fourth-generation Coloradan and a third-generation Holy Cross member.

I look forward to being able to represent all the members and their concerns as I have been involved in many aspects of energy in the valley throughout the years. I live and ranch in the western end of the district and will make sure down valley members are represented and their points of view heard.

I respectfully ask for your vote to be elected to the board, to help move Holy Cross Energy to be the optimal utility for all uses, incorporate clean energy where it will work and guarantee reasonable costs for all users.

Jared W. Kerst

Member since: 2005.

Residence: Glenwood Springs.

I have resided in the Colorado, Roaring Fork, or Eagle river valleys my entire life with the exception of my college years, when I earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Colorado Boulder. My family and I currently live in Spring Valley outside of Glenwood Springs, where my business and home are served by Holy Cross Energy.

As the owner of Rivendell Distribution & Sod Farm, an agriculture-based small business, my only experience in energy production is with photosynthesis.

Energy consumption, however, is very much a factor in our farm business operation and everyday life. I am seeking election to the Holy Cross board of directors to represent members, families, farms, and business in the decisions made about the direction of our exceptional co-op in delivering that energy.

I have always known Holy Cross Energy as "our" electric utility and hold the organization in high esteem. I consider the roots of Holy Cross Energy to be uniquely local, its history of service to be exceptionally progressive, and its direction to be refreshingly innovative.

As a board member, I will support the efforts of the very capable Holy Cross employees in continuing to provide reliable, responsible, and affordable energy. Decisions brought before the board should be approached with an emphasis on seeking balance. Environmental and fiscal stewardship should go hand-in-hand. I will encourage efforts that explore opportunities for growth, technological advancement, and industry partnerships while maintaining a focus on delivery of excellent service to current membership.

Adam L. Wibby

Member since: 2015.

Residence: Carbondale.

Electricity is our most important utility, from the simplicity of powering your alarm clock, to running an entire business. The western district deserves reliable and efficient energy that we can all be proud of, energy that is there when you need it, provides jobs, boosts the local economy, and improves the beautiful state that we all live in.

My name is Adam Wibby and I am running to represent Holy Cross Energy as a forward-thinking innovator. We need new ideas to bring more reliable, efficient and local renewable energy into our homes through affordable execution.

With my personal experience as a business owner, research and development engineer, and practicing electrician, I plan to:

• Launch a customer feedback program to hear what is most important to you, the customer.

• Work with surrounding districts to design programs to address your concerns and suggestions.

• Develop self-sustaining environmental programs to empower Holy Cross for future change such as an electric car rebate designed to repay itself through added revenue due to vehicle charging.

• Build more community solar sites, giving access to renewables for renters and homeowners without roof space.

• Make paperless communication the default for new customers to reduce overhead costs and environmental impacts, while maintaining the option to opt in for snail mail.

Renewable energy should be our priority, but it's going to take clever programs to grow sustainably. I intend to push for further innovation and more efficient systems that save money for the business and the customer.