Chelan County PUD General Manager Steve Wright was honored Wednesday with the Charles H. Percy Award for Public Service by the Alliance to Save Energy, a national nonprofit. The award recognizes Wright’s 40-year career as a champion of energy efficiency.

“This award from the Alliance to Save Energy is our energy efficiency community’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and Steve richly deserves it,” said Ralph Cavanagh, the energy program co-director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The Pacific Northwest has made a wholly disproportionate contribution to national and global progress on energy efficiency, and Steve Wright is a huge part of the reason, starting with his adept, unflagging and inspirational leadership at the Bonneville Power Administration,” he said.

Wright served for 32 years at Bonneville Power Administration, including 12 years as administrator. During his tenure, he oversaw substantial increases in energy efficiency investments.

“Steve has always seen the value of energy efficiency and its critical role in reducing energy bills and environmental impacts,” said Nancy Hirsh, executive director of NW Energy Coalition. “It is a pleasure to see him get this recognition for maintaining the drumbeat for efficiency at the federal, regional and local levels even during uncertain economic times.”

When Wright arrived as Chelan PUD’s general manager in 2013, he challenged the energy efficiency team to double its energy-savings goals. Over time, Chelan PUD met that challenge with a variety of customer-focused programs, including a partnership with local governments to help save money and save energy with facility upgrades.

“His focus on the customer has not waivered since his first days at Chelan PUD,” said Andrew Grassell, the utility’s energy development and conservation manager. “He understood the value of energy efficiency to our customers and to the utility.”

In response to the award, Wright thanked everyone who shared in this work over the past four decades.

“The Alliance to Save Energy represents two beliefs that I hold dear. First, the value of energy efficiency to bridge and connect economic and environmental health for our country. Second, to do the hard work of building bipartisan coalitions. I am deeply honored to receive this award because it celebrates both these missions,” Wright said. “Thank you to the Alliance employees who are inspiring with their dedication. Thank you to my many friends and colleagues I have worked with over the last 40 years who share in this award and who deserve the recognition more than me.”

Rachel Hansen is the senior communications strategist for the Chelan County PUD.

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