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Energy Northwest board names Grover Hettel as interim CEO


RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Northwest's executive board today named Grover Hettel as the agency's interim chief executive officer. Hettel has been the agency's chief nuclear officer since 2018, and will succeed Brad Sawatzke who will retire June 30.

Hettel joined Energy Northwest in 2012 as vice president for Nuclear Operations. Before joining EN, he served as Operations director and plant general manager at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Phoenix, Arizona [full bio here].

“We've been very fortunate to have Grover as an integral part of Energy Northwest's leadership team for almost a decade, and his talent, compassion and pursuit of excellence puts the agency in very capable hands," said Sid Morrison, Energy Northwest Executive Board chair.

“We've got a top performing nuclear plant, an exciting future with advanced nuclear, and a leader who's helped us achieve these goals," Morrison said.

Sawatzke announced his plans to retire earlier this year. During his 10-plus years with Energy Northwest, the agency expanded its carbon-free energy portfolio, reduced costs and improved performance.

“We owe our deepest gratitude to Brad for his incredible leadership as CEO and for building a strong team that ensures continued success," Morrison said. 

As interim CEO, Hettel will lead an organization of more than 1,000 employees who help power the region and he will provide oversight of the agency's mix of carbon-free resources, including hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, wind and battery storage facilities.

Hettel will remain CNO with responsibility for the overall performance of the Northwest's only nuclear power plant, Columbia Generating Station, which provides approximately 10% of Washington's electricity, or enough power for one million homes. During the last decade, Columbia set numerous generation records, earned multiple safety awards and received industry recognition for performance.

Hettel is a licensed professional engineer, holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from Arkansas Tech University, a master's degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

He is also a member of the Utilities Service Alliance board, Nuclear Energy Institute executive steering committee, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations executive advisory group and previously served on the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors.  

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