PUD in the Community

We are a team of nearly 100 individuals whose mission is to provide the folks of Okanogan County with reliable, on-demand electricity and broadband.  Not only do we focus on our jobs and the mission of the PUD, we do much more. We have a positive influence in the communities of Okanogan County in many ways, some of which you may not have heard of.

We occasionally highlight some of these stories here. You may also read all our news stories by clicking on the NEWS tab.

Pud with a group of kids
  PUD participated in Safety Day, 2015 at North Elementary School

Recent PUD in the Community News

Okanogan PUD provided entertainment, education and opportunities to learn about energy safety and conservation for all ages during the 2016 Okanogan County Fair, September 8-11.

Opening day, Kids Day, saw over 200 children taking part in this year’s Youth Pole Climb earning the Okanogan PUD Pole Climb T-Shirt. The crews put on three shows demonstrating different scenarios of unsafe practices when dealing with electricity. The crowd could be heard yelling to ‘do it again’ after demonstrating the spectacular fiery end to a kite string, hot dog and a tree branch.

In the commercial building, staff offered several selections of information on energy conservation and Okanogan PUD programs. As in the past, kids swarmed the PUD booth to obtain a coveted yellow lineman hat that was the trophy of the day. “At one point it looked like a sea of yellow throughout the fairgrounds”, commented one fairgoer. Approximately 2500+ hats were given out at this year’s County Fair.

The success of this event could not be achieved without the diligent planning of our Energy Services Coordinator, Debbie Peters and the coordination efforts by Mark Pritchard, Operations Manager, and the Okanogan PUD crews for the youth pole climb and electricity safety show. Additionally, the time and support of our employees who volunteered throughout the weekend helped make this year’s Okanogan County Fair very successful. 

2016 Okanogan County Fair
2016 County Fair photo
2016 County Fair photo 2
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2016 County Fair photo 5
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2016 County Fair photo 7

Boy Scout Troop 60 of Omak gathered Wednesday, April 6, at the Okanogan PUD Headquarters to retire both the Washington State flag and the American Flag that flew over the building. Etiquette dictates that flags that are torn, faded, frayed or discolored are considered unserviceable and should not be flown. Scout Master Rob Chilcote led the contingent of eight Boy Scouts and one Eagle Scout through the ritual. Although the participants are out of school for Spring Break, they considered it an honor to take part in the Flag Retirement Ceremony.

Flags Receive a Retirement Ceremony
by Troop 60 of Omak, WA, led by Scout Master Rob Chilcote
Pictures by Tim DeVries, Mark Watson, Rob Chilcote

Retiring Flag Ceremony photo 1
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Retiring Flag Ceremony 3
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Retiring Flag Ceremony photo 5

The Okanogan PUD would like to announce that Michael ‘Mick’ Howe, General Counsel for the Okanogan PUD, has been inducted into the Heritage Life Member Program through the Washington Public Utility Districts Association on December 4, 2015, during the Association’s Annual Conference. This membership recognizes individuals who have made exemplary long-term contributions to the interests of public power and water in our region. In 2012, Mick also received the Washington PUD Association’s Good Samaritan Award by demonstrating meritorious action in a life-threatening situation. 

The Heritage Life Member program was established to maintain social relations with former PUD commissioners, managers and other special friends of public utility districts to benefit from these individual’s wisdom and influence in their communities. 

Mick will be retiring at year end as General Counsel for the PUD after 30 years of faithful service to the district. The Board of Commissioners would like to congratulate Mick on receiving this award and by being recognized for his commitment and dedication to the Okanogan PUD and to public power. 

Mick Howe Inducted into the WPUDA Heritage Life Member Program

General Counsel Mick Howe Receiving Heritage Award photo
General Counsel Mick Howe Receiving Heritage Award photo 2

The Washington Public Utility Districts Association presented its annual awards recognizing the outstanding dedicated service and commitment of individuals serving PUDs at the organization’s Annual Conference Thursday, December 3 in Sea-Tac, Washington. The Washington PUD Association presents awards annually for lifetime achievement, commitment to public service, and meritorious action in a life-threatening situation. In addition, the Association also presents a $1,000 educational scholarship to a graduating senior of a PUD employee.

The employees of Okanogan PUD were presented with the Good Samaritan Award for their heroic actions to preserve property and protect the community in the face of raging wildfires. The crews not only protected Okanogan PUD infrastructure, but selflessly protected the homes of citizens even when their own homes were threatened. Without the team work and effort of the support staff and crews during this catastrophic event, a different scenario would have unfolded. More homes would have been destroyed, more lives would have been affected and more Okanogan PUD infrastructure would have been devastated.

The Okanogan PUD Board of Commissioners and Management are proud of the employees of the Okanogan PUD for their heroic efforts during the fires and are honored that they collectively were recognized by the Washington Public Utility Districts Association for the Good Samaritan Award.

Pictured: George Webster, Jay VanderWeide, Allen Allie and Randy Bird.

PUD Employees Receiving WPUDA Good Samaritan Award photo

The Okanogan PUD invited the Foundation for Water Energy Education (FWEE) to demonstrate hands-on activities for Kids Day at the fair. Okanogan PUD is a member of FWEE and has this service provided as a benefit of membership. Jack Horne and Clyde Carpenter demonstrated hands-on activities for all kids. Jack’s activity titled “Don’t Close the Circuit”, challenged students to pass a wand through a field of electricity without contacting the field with the wand.  If contact was made a light would come on. Clyde demonstrated an activity titled “Induction”.  This activity provided evidence of how electricity is generated at a level of understanding for the students.

Okanogan PUD Invites FWEE to Participate in Kids Day at the Fair

Member of Foundation for Water Energy Education demo at fair photo