Energy, Utilities & Water  May 20, 2016

Platte River Power Authority CEO leaving for post in Austin

FORT COLLINS — Jacqueline Sargent, who has headed the Platte River Power Authority as general manager and CEO since August 2012, has been named general manager of Austin Energy, where she had previously worked.

Marc Ott, city manager of Austin, Texas, announced the hiring Thursday. Sargent’s first day in Austin will be Aug. 15.

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Jacqueline Sargent

“Ms. Sargent brings a broad perspective that includes not only successful management of an electric utility as the General Manager and CEO, but also hands-on experience in all aspects of electric utility operations and management,” Ott said.  “I am very pleased to bring Jackie back to Austin.  She will be a great addition to my executive team.”

Sargent said she’s taking the job in part because she soon will have a new grandchild in Austin. She referenced a string of accomplishments at PRPA, including a revamped strategic-planning process.

“We’re really established a sound framework for strategic planning to deal with all of the unknowns that we have going forward,” she said, including working with the Clean Power Plan, an aging workforce and different goals for the organization’s four constituent municipalities.

“We’re kind of at that point where we have more unknowns than we have equations to solve,” Sargent said.

She noted that PRPA had tripled the amount of wind on the system, installed 30 megawatts of solar at the Rawhide power station north of Fort Collins and improved the organization’s safety program, among other accomplishments.

PRPA spokesman Pete Hoelscher said it’s unclear how the organization’s board will proceed to fill the vacancy left by Sargent’s departure.

“At this point, it’s too early in the timeline to know what they want to do,” Hoelscher said, adding that the board already was scheduled to meet May 26.

Prior to joining PRPA, Sargent oversaw power-supply and market operations at Austin Energy from 2010 to 2012 and previously served as vice president of power supply and renewables integration for Black Hills Corp. in South Dakota.

Austin Energy has more than 1,670 employees and serves 448,000 customers and one million residents.

Fort Collins-based Platte River Power Authority, a nonprofit, provides wholesale electricity generation and transmission for Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland.

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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