Pete Churchwell (Grove) will lead the Grand River Dam Authority as chairman of its board of directors over the next 12 months. Churchwell officially assumed the chairman position at the September 14 GRDA Board of Directors meeting in Tulsa. He replaces outgoing 2015-16 Chairman Ed Townsend (Grove).
After a career in the electric utility industry that spanned nearly 40 years, Churchwell retired as president of Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) in July 2004. In May 2014, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin appointed him to the GRDA Board where he has also served as chairman of the GRDA Assets Committee.
Outside of GRDA, he has also served on the board of directors of both the Grand Lake Watershed Alliance Foundation and Har-Ber Village Museum, located on the shores of Grand Lake. He also served as a member of the International Society of the Energy Advocates; board member and chairman of the Council of Education and Workforce Development for the State Chamber of Oklahoma; and as a previous board member of Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tulsa and completed Harvard Business School’s advanced management program.
“Chairman Churchwell spent four decades working in the electric utility industry and today, GRDA and its ratepayers are the beneficiaries of all that experience,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “Combine that with his knowledge of the Grand Lake area and there is no question he will do a great job as chairman of the board. Over the past two years, he’s made many positive contributions to our organization as chair of the Assets Committee and I look forward to working with him as he fills the chairman’s role.”
Also in September, Joe Vandevier (Owasso) moves into the chair-elect post for the next 12 months.
Also appointed to the GRDA Board by Governor Fallin (October 2014), Vandevier is the founder and current managing member of Downhole Dynamics, a company that provides business and technical consulting for enhanced production in the oil and gas industry.
A member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Vandevier received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Tulsa. His experience in the oil and gas industry spans 40 years. During that time he served as vice president of operations in the United States, Canada and Russia for Centrilift. He also served as president and chief operating officer of Wood Group ESP, and as a senior adviser for Baker Hughes.
“Director Vandevier’s experience in business and industry speaks for itself,” said Sullivan. “His leadership is very valuable to GRDA, he had already made significant contributions as our chair of the Audit, Finance, Budget & Policy committee.”
GRDA is governed by a seven-member board of directors comprised of representatives from each GRDA customer class (municipals, electric cooperatives and industrials) as well as the GRDA lakes area. Two at-large representatives also sit on the board. Appointments are made by the Oklahoma Governor (3), Speaker of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. Two other board positions are ex-officio positions, filled by the general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) and executive director of the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) or by their designees. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms, with one position opening each year, to ensure continuity.