Emerald PUD Duo Honored for Life Service
May 24, 2012
It’s no secret at Emerald People’s Utility District: General Manager Frank Lambe and Assistant General Manager Jim Theabolt are industry trailblazers who have kept public power’s guiding principles of excellent customer service, reliability, and cost-effective service delivery in the forefront.
Their dedication to utility service was recognized recently by the Northwest Public Power Association’s Awards Committee, which tapped the pair to receive “Life Membership Awards” for 2012. Upon learning of the award, General Manager Frank Lambe reflected on the Emerald PUD team’s accomplishments.
“This award is not about what we as individuals have accomplished - it’s a reflection of the leadership that occurs at all levels, at all times, here at EPUD,” said Lambe. “We have something unique here where the shared dedication to Customer-Owners and shared vision results in a utility that is both innovative in its leadership and focused on what matters most – the people we serve.”
Assistant General Manager Jim Theabolt has been here since Emerald PUD’s beginning.
“Emerald PUD has been home for me,” Theabolt said. “It’s been such an amazing and rewarding experience to be part of this people utility’s story.”
About Frank Lambe
Frank Lambe began his 40-year public power career at Grant County PUD in Ephrata, WA, working his way around the utility before advancing to Emerald PUD’s General Manager in 2001.
Frank's commitment to public power is reflected in many accomplishments during his tenure at Emerald PUD. Reliability has been a top concern. In the last 10 years priority has been placed on vegetation management and building redundancy within the system.
Improvements in these two areas led to an 88 percent excellent/good rating when customers were asked, "How would you rate Emerald PUD's reliability as measured by the minimization of outages and outage management?" following a major storm in 2011. Emerald PUD recently earned the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3®) recognition from the American Public Power Association (or APPA) for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.
While at Emerald PUD, Frank led the utility to increase overall customer satisfaction ratings by 10 percent, from 83 percent in 1998 to 93 percent in 2011. Frank's commitment to customers is also reflected in affordable rates. In 1994, Emerald PUD was 5.5 percent higher than Pacific Power and Light and in 2012 the utility is 23.8 percent lower than Pacific Power. His dedication to keeping costs down and looking for opportunities to streamline processes has been an asset to the industry.
Frank's devotion to his community shows. He encourages EPUD employees to get involved in their communities and the activities they are passionate about. He finds time to give back to the community through his years of service to Rotary International and United Way of Lane County.
About Jim Theabolt
Jim Theabolt has been a vibrant and vital player in the public power industry for more than 40 years.
Jim’s journey with Public Power began in 1968, when he became a bookkeeper for Klickitat PUD. During his 15 years at Klickitat, Jim eventually became chief accountant, and head of the consumer complaint department. He was well known and respected for his unfailing fairness, courtesy and good judgment when dealing with customers. During his time at Klickitat, Jim was also voted Goldendale Boss of the Year.
In 1983, Jim left his stable position at Klickitat to take a not-so stable position as one of the first employees of the newly formed Emerald PUD. This leap of faith was out of character for a by-the-book accountant, but turned out to be vital to the success of Emerald. Jim was instrumental in getting Emerald PUD’s first bond issue. He was able to secure a Triple ‘A’ rating on a $36 million bond at 10 percent interest when Emerald didn’t even have revenue coming in. He accomplished this by persuading the bonding authority to use projections, which was unheard of then in the bonding agency.
Since then, Jim has accomplished an immeasurable amount at Emerald. Jim worked long hours including weekends for many months when Emerald first started, to develop policies and procedures. He was almost single-handedly responsible for determining how Emerald PUD would run and how it’s still run today.
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