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CEO Brad Sawatzke announces intention to retire in June

Kelly Rae, Public Affairs, 509-372-5376    
Carla Martinez Public Affairs, 509-372-5156

. – Chief Executive Officer Brad Sawatzke announced his intention to retire from the agency at the end of June, in an email to employees Wednesday.

“I have worked in the nuclear industry for four decades, and the last 10 years have been the most rewarding of my career. It’s been an honor to be a part of the Energy Northwest team,” Sawatzke wrote in his message. 

Former Energy Northwest CEO Mark Reddemann hired Sawatzke in December 2010 as vice president for Nuclear Generation and chief nuclear officer. Following Reddemann’s retirement, the executive board appointed Sawatzke as the agency’s CEO in April 2018 to lead the organization’s more than 1,000 employees and oversee the operation of Columbia Generating Station and EN’s non-nuclear generating assets, which include wind, hydroelectric, solar and battery storage facilities.

During the last few years, Sawatzke’s passion and leadership yielded positive results for the EN team: recognition for safety performance, growing the hydroelectric fleet, adding solar generation and battery storage, being part of two Department of Energy awards for advanced nuclear technologies, setting numerous generation records at Columbia Generating Station, implementing cost reductions, and attaining industry recognition for top performance at Columbia. 

Sawatzke notified the EN executive board of his intent to retire during a regularly scheduled meeting in December. The executive board will appoint a committee to facilitate the selection of Sawatzke’s successor. 

“We owe Brad our gratitude for his strong and thoughtful leadership over these past 10 years,” said Sid Morrison, executive board chair. “Energy Northwest is stronger than ever in its service to our public power members, leading the way to achieve Washington’s clean energy goals and Brad has set the stage for a bright future ahead.” 

In the coming months, Sawatzke will focus on Columbia’s upcoming refueling and maintenance outage in May, continuing to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and supporting the board with a smooth transition. 

“I will be forever grateful to the EN team for your support and drive for excellence and will take the opportunity over the next six months to reflect and thank the EN team,” he wrote.

Prior to joining EN, Sawatzke served as Director of Site Operations at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant with Xcel Energy in Minnesota. Sawatzke serves on the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations board of directors and accrediting board, Association of Washington Business executive committee, Nuclear Energy Institute board of directors and the TRIDEC executive committee.

In the next chapter of his life, he said he looks forward to spending more time with family.  
About Energy Northwest       
Energy Northwest owns and operates a diverse mix of 100% clean electricity generating resources: hydro, solar, battery storage and wind projects, and the third-largest provider of electricity in Washington – the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power facility. These projects provide carbon-free electricity at the cost of generation – enough clean, cost-effective and reliable energy to power more than a million homes each year. As an independent joint operating agency of Washington state, Energy Northwest comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state serving more than 1.5 million customers. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs. 

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