United Power Board Election

Elisabeth Grove, Peak to Peak

United Power annually elects roughly 1/3 of its 11-member board. There are four seats open in 2014. Many of the Mountain-Ear’s readers are in the United Power Mountain District, which encompasses most of Gilpin County and some of Jefferson County.

Members will have received their ballots in the mail by now. Ballots may be returned by mail to reach United Power’s main office in Brighton by April 14, or they may be returned in person to any office, or turned in at the Annual General Meeting being held on April 16 at the Adams County Fairgrounds.

While candidates run for specific districts, voting is at large; members may vote for one candidate in each of the districts.

Profiles of the candidates shown here have been provided by United Power, with the exception of Lynn Hirshman’s.

Mountain District

Steven (Steve) Green has been president and owner of his lapidary company in Golden for the past 32 years. Along with stone cutting his company provides ultrasonic drilling services to other industries. Green has experience in mining, abrasive technologies, crystallography, gemology, marketing, sales, show promotions and other business related skills. He is very hands-on and mechanically inclined. Green earned his Bachelors degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Denver. Originally from New Jersey, Green spent from age 9 through 18 in Mexico City.

Currently Green is a director on Golden Gate Fire Protection District (GGFPD). He was elected to a troubled fire district facing large budget deficits, wasteful spending and imminent property tax increases or cuts in services. In the last four years Green and his other four board members turned the fire district around. Through his tough negotiating style the GGFPD is now financially healthy with surplus revenues, a balanced budget, and decreased debt with no cuts in services. This was achieved with no property tax increases either.

In his fire board capacity Green negotiates contracts, manages fire fighter pensions, deals with county officials, creates yearly budgets, applies for grants, creates the board agenda and minutes, writes official documents and is a well known proponent for common sense and logical fire codes that serve to protect people without being excessive. Green has also served as president of the Canterbury HOA in Littleton from 2006-2008. He and his son are active with the Boy Scout Troop 613 in Golden.

“It is my hope to bring to United Power the same dedication and leadership I brought to the GGFPD. As a GGFPD board member I am currently working with both Jefferson County and United Power employees on different projects. These relationships will serve me well if elected to United Power. As a forty-year Colorado resident I know the state very well. I am bilingual and hope to use this in aiding all United Power members.”

Lynn Hirshman, a Gilpin County resident has announced her candidacy for the United Power Board. “I am running on a renewable energy platform,” she declared. “United Power provides cheap and reliable electricity to its members, but almost all of it is derived from burning coal. It’s time to start moving toward the development of renewable sources of energy in United’s district – particularly solar and wind power.”

Hirshman is the former Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, and also served locally on the Gilpin/Clear Creek Energy Action Committee. In both roles, she coordinated with representatives of the other renewable resources in Colorado.

Along with her Master’s degree in psychology, she has completed two certificates at McGill University’s Management Institute: Negotiation, and Accounting and Finance for Non-Finance Executives. In former positions, Hirshman has directed nonprofit and government agencies, managing budgets up to $3 million. She has also directed a School of Social Work, and taught psychology, social work, and English at several colleges and universities. At present she is a freelance writer and editor, including providing copy editing services to the Mountain-Ear. She is an active member of the Peak to Peak Rotary Club.

“The cost of coal – and hence coal-fired power – is going up all the time, while wind power is already competitive and solar is getting cheaper all the time. And while this may be the most critical fact for United Power members – we want to keep our reliable power affordable – there is also the virtually universally accepted fact that the burning of coal is one of the main contributors to carbon pollution and climate change. All of us who have lived through the dramatic weather events of the last year are aware of how important it is to address that particular issue sooner rather than later. And I would like United Power to be a leader in making that change.”

Douglas “Doug” Pryce, the incumbent director in the Mountain District, is retired after several decades as a self-employed attorney and business consultant. He also worked as an actuarial analyst, was a managing partner with a radio station, and worked as Staff Director for the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. He earned his Bachelor of Science in math from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and his J. D. from the University of Santa Clara in California.

Pryce has served on United Power’s board since 1990. During his tenure he has served as the Board President for four years and as Vice-President for two years. He served as United Power’s Director on the Tri-State Generation and Transmission board for ten years and as United Power’s Director on the Colorado Rural Electric Association for five years. He served as director on the national Touchstone Energy Board of Directors for six years.

He is a past member of the Colorado Bar Association. He served as a director for the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce. He served as a director for the Coal Creek Canyon Park and Recreation District, including serving as Chair. He is a past director for the Coal Creek Canyon Improvement Association, and served as President and Secretary for the organization.

“United Power has successfully held down rates while maintaining reliable service that our competition cannot match. That claim is not puffery. It’s based on service measurements reported by each of the electric companies. We have also seized opportunities to incorporate renewable energy, planning for a future that we can proudly hand down to our kids and grandkids. Credit belongs to our team of employees who understand the satisfaction of a job well done. Their enthusiasm results in great service to our members. If re-elected, I will continue to encourage that enthusiasm, and support United Power’s commitment to outstanding service.”

East District

James “Jim” DeLisi is an electrical foreman supervising project work at Buckley Air Force Base. His career includes managing United States interests overseas, extensive contract work with many governmental agencies, providing electrical work and alarm system compliance. He also worked as a project engineer for the construction of the international runway at Denver International Airport. DeLisi earned an advanced certificate in computer networking from the University of Colorado-Denver, and his Bachelor of Science in computer information systems from Metropolitan State University of Denver (summa cum laude).

DeLisi is a current member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (L.U. 68 -I.B.E.W.). He serves on the Pheasant Ridge Community Architectural Design Committee located in Brighton, Colorado. DeLisi worked with United Power in the beginning stages of the ground-source heat pump program in 1985 and, as a Founder’s Club Member investing in the United Power’s Sol Partners Community Solar Farm.

“As a director I would bring relevant experiences as a Master Electrician and Facilities Manager to improve ingenuity and innovation that will allow members to save energy through United Power’s programs and services. I offer relevant certifications in energy technologies as well as business and technical background to support cutting edge programs and operational decision-making. I value the way United Power serves its members and gives back to the community. I would very much like to be a part of that continuing tradition of innovation and service, helping members embrace the benefits of economical, environmentally responsible use of electricity.”

James Vigesaa is the incumbent director in the East District. He is the CEO and owner of BVB General Contractors. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a US Army veteran of the Nebraska National Guard.

Vigesaa has served on United Power’s Board of Directors since 2011. He is the Chairman of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation and serves on the Brighton Lodging Tax Advisory Board. He is a member of the Ft. Lupton and Southwest Weld County Chambers of Commerce.

“I would like to thank the members for the opportunity to have served you as your Director in the East District. The past three years have been great for United Power. With our commitment to cost effective green/alternative energy we have brought on to our system: the 3 Megawatt (MW) ‘Trash to Gas’ station at the Erie Landfill; the 2 MW Hanger 160 Solar Panel Field; and the 3 MW BluBox waste gas capture turbine generation system, in addition to continuing our 1 MW small rooftop solar and Sol Partners Community Solar Farm program.

“United Power is a strong team of the 11 Member Board Of Directors, our CEO/Senior Management Staff, and the over 160 great employees who make it happen. With all of our commitment to cost effectiveness, we have managed no rate increase for most members this year, and for the third year in a row we have returned $3.5 million in Capital Credits back to our members. Looking ahead, I ask for the opportunity to continue to serve you on the board to increase our green/alternative energy efforts, our cost effectiveness on rates and continued refund of Capital Credits.”

South District

Fidel Balderas is the manager/owner and driving instructor at 1st Choice Driving Academy. He is retired from School District 27J, where he was the print shop supervisor for nearly three decades. He is a graduate of Brighton High School.

Balderas serves on the Brighton Planning Commission. Fidel is a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church. He is currently a member of the Brighton Kiwanis club, where he has served on the board of directors, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and served as chancellor and is currently the treasurer. Balderas served on the negotiations team and as union president for the Colorado Classified School Employees Association.

“I seek election to the United Power board to represent our community, and to help with the future of renewable energy. I want to help guide United Power through the future as technology and energy resources change. Given that life is a learning experience, I will work to ensure that I am well-informed with the latest information to help me work with the Board of Directors and make informed decisions with the interest of United Power customers in mind.

Given my work experience as a School District 27J employee for thirty years, a property manager and business owner, I am committed to work to continue the success of this great organization and to provide for the needs of the communities that United Power serves.”

Busco el puesto a la meza directiva para promover los programas de energía alternativas, con la experiencia y listo para aprender y utilizar todos los medios a mi deposición para hacer las mejores decisiones que beneficien a los miembros y United Power.

Dave Rose and his wife Wilma have been very active family and community members in Brighton for 37 years. Dave served as an elementary principal in the Brighton Public Schools for 32 years. He currently is a Consultant for Hunger Free Colorado. Dave has a B.S., M.A. and Ed.S. degree in education administration.

Rose also serves as a Commissioner on the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority, the Almost Home Board of Directors and the County Elected Officials Salaries State Commission. Dave served on the Brighton City Council as a Mayor and Councilman for six years, Brighton’s Home Rule Charter Commission and on the RTD Board of Directors for eight years. Rose is past president and current member of the Brighton Kiwanis Club.

“I would like to be elected to the United Power Board of Directors so I can represent the interest of the total membership on an impartial and fair basis. My family and I have been customers of United Power since 1977, and have been pleased over the years with the reliable and affordable energy provided to us and our community. As a director I would put in the necessary time and commitment to study the issues and make the best policy decisions for the customers and employees of United Power and keep the members best interests in mind.

As a former school principal and a former elected official, I have the administrative skills and public knowledge to be an effective and responsive director. I continue to be very active in the community and state through several boards and commissions, and that has prepared me to be able to make difficult but necessary administrative, budgetary, and strategic planning decisions for United Power customers and staff members.”

Virginia “Ginny” Buczek is the incumbent director in the West District, and currently works part-time in design review. Her work experience includes managing a hardware store, head buyer and merchandiser for a chain of home centers, and as a key accounts manager.  She attended Red Rocks Community College studying accounting and business management. Buczek earned the Credentialed Cooperative Director designation and her Board Leadership certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Buczek has been on the United Power board since 2008, and is currently the President of the United Power board. During her tenure she has also served as the Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer. Buczek is United Power’s director for the Colorado Rural Electric Association, and was a delegate to Basin Generation and Transmission. She served on the Weld County Council, the Technical Committee for the Southwest Weld Study, and on the Tri-area Ambulance Board of Directors.

She has been active in her hometown, serving on the Firestone Planning Commission, the Firestone Board of Trustees, and as Commissioner for the Firestone Park Commission.  She served as a United Power Round-Up Foundation Director. She has been active in many civic groups including 4-H, Girl Scouts, Relay for Life, Neighborhood Watch, and at Frederick High School.

“The electric industry is changing; presenting new opportunities and challenges. It is the responsibility of directors to contribute to decisions resulting in a focused plan to maximize opportunities and mitigate challenges. Ensuring safe, reliable, cost-efficient electrical power, maintaining quality service to meet the needs of all United Power members, and planning for the future are fundamental Board duties. I have been committed to the United Power community for twenty-three years. Combining my United Power experience and skills developed through employment – community service – the most importantly, listening to you, the members/owners, I will diligently work to serve the best interests of the members. I would be honored to serve you, the members, for another term.”