• Two incumbents, two challengers chosen in LPEA director election


    Formwalt, McCaw re-elected; Bassett and Erb replace incumbents Lieb and Brodsky

    Incumbent board members Bob Formwalt and Jerry McCaw have been re-elected by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) members to fill director seats for Districts 1 and 2, respectively, with challengers Britt Bassett chosen in District 3 and Heather Erb elected in District 4. Election results were announced at the LPEA Annual Meeting, held Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Sky Ute Casino and Resort, Ignacio.

    Approximately 26 percent of LPEA’s 30,000-plus residential and commercial members returned ballots in the election, a higher percentage than typical likely because incumbents in all four of LPEA’s districts were challenged, plus a slate of renewable energy proponents mounted a concerted election effort. In accordance with LPEA’s bylaws, annually one seat in each of LPEA’s four districts comes up for election.

    “Typically, LPEA receives an average 20 percent return during elections,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO, noting that in 2011 only 14 percent of member cast ballots. “Because we are a cooperative we truly want our members to vote, so we were glad to see the higher turnout.”

    Ballots were prepared in accordance with requirements of the La Plata County Clerk, and the county’s electronic voting equipment was used by FredrickZink & Associates, the independent accounting firm retained to tally the votes.

    In District 1, Archuleta County, 1,900 of the approximately 7,600 LPEA members returned ballots with incumbent J. Robert (Bob) Formwalt receiving 975 and challenger Kirsten Skeehan receiving 925 votes.   

    Incumbent Jerry McCaw received 1,218 votes to win over challenger Bruce Baizel, who received 979, in the director election in District 2, south and west La Plata County. Of the approximately 8,200 eligible voters, 2,197 cast ballots.

    In District 3, the City of Durango, new candidate Britt Bassett received 1,390 votes over incumbent Robert (Bobby) Lieb’s 700. District 3 includes approximately 7,300 eligible voters, and 2,090 voted.

    Candidate Heather Erb was elected as the director for District 4, earning 827 votes over challenger Ann McCoy Harold, who received 335 votes, and incumbent Herb Brodsky, who received 772. Of the approximate 7,500 eligible voters in District 4, which covers north and east La Plata County, 1,934 voted.

    [Winner biographies follow.]

     “As a company, LPEA exists to serve its members. Everyone has an economic interest and voice in LPEA’s future,” said Munro. “We thank those who cast their votes and took time to participate in the cooperative process.”

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.

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    Bob Formwalt was raised in Southwest Colorado and completed his college education in Business Administration at Fort Lewis College. He spent the next 10 years in the banking industry at Belgrade State Bank of Belgrade, Mont., and Burns National Bank, Durango, with a focus on real estate and agricultural loans. Formwalt served 12 years as an Archuleta County Commissioner, and has participated actively in the local community, as well as statewide, serving on numerous boards and commissions. Employed with his wife on their ranch east of Pagosa, he also currently works part time as a Water Commissioner for the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

    Jerry McCaw, a Durango native, came up through the Ignacio school system and attended Fort Lewis College and Colorado State University. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering and is a former engineer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is an established rancher in the Ignacio area. McCaw, currently president of the LPEA board of directors, served 15 years on the Basin Co-op Board of Directors, is a former member of the Ignacio School Board and has served on numerous local and state advisory committees. He is a member of the La Plata and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Habitat Partnership Program for La Plata and Archuleta Counties and a member of the National Cattle Feeders’ Association. He was also honored as “Agriculturalist of the Year” by the Durango Chamber of Commerce.

    Britt Bassett is a Colorado native raised in La Plata County where he attended Bayfield schools for 12 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Arizona and his career includes working at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) labs in Colorado. He has been a partner in the start up of two small businesses in Boulder, and is currently a partner in Solar Seminars, Inc., a business in Durango that provides design and construction management for large commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems in California. Solar Seminars also provides workforce training to help laborers and small businessman who want to enter the industry.  

    Heather Erb has lived in La Plata County for 13 years after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Clark University. Her leadership positions include president of the Durango Area Association of Realtors, president of the MLS Corporation CREN, president of the La Plata/San Juan County Eye & Ear Program, and a girl’s youth hockey coach. A regional speaker on green building and the real estate market, Erb was instrumental in getting the “Green Feature Initiative” into the MLS in southwest Colorado, helping homeowners and the industry by allowing value to be given to energy efficiency. Erb was one of 15 U.S. citizens invited to participate on a recent study in the EU to learn more about renewable energy and its economic benefits.

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