During the annual Red Tie Gala, Avista was announced as Eastern Washington University’s Community Partner of the Year. Senior Vice President of Avista Development, Latisha Hill, was at the event to accept the award on Avista's behalf. Hill's role has been instrumental in catalyzing economic development in Spokane. Here's what Mary Cullinan, President of EWU said just prior to handing out the award.
"I have told my team quite regularly to 'start with crazy' in order to have the type of goals that transform our community and world. We have had a wonderful year partnering with a company that also embraces innovation and that is Avista Utilities."
For more than 36 years, Avista has provided philanthropic support that enables programs like the Veterans Resource Center, the Jazz Dialogues and the Eagle Athletic Fund to reach further. And most recently, Avista's role in the Catalyst project in downtown Spokane has a bold vision to attract more innovation and skilled workers into the area.
EWU will be a major tenant in the 159,000 square foot net zero energy building, which will break ground later this week. The project will expand the University District, deliver a much-needed economic boost to the East Sprague corridor, spur innovation, and better our community. Once complete, it's also going to attract a large cohort of students and professionals interested in science, technology, engineering and math.
All tenants in the state-of-the-art facility will enjoy their own centrally located energy plant where they can share energy resources to more efficiently generate and use energy, and to store excess energy.
Avista is providing Energy Pathways for students to explore career opportunities in the energy industry.
It can be daunting for many students to know what direction to take after high school graduation. Recently, seventeen Spokane-area rising high school juniors and seniors had the opportunity to discover what a career in the energy field can offer through hands-on experience and job shadowing at Avista.
This inaugural month-long program, called Energy Pathways, allowed students to “try on” this career path in the fields of alternative and emerging energy, including wind, solar and battery technologies; energy efficiency and sustainability; engineering; and maintenance and operations of the energy system. At the end of the program, the participating students also received a Career and Technical Education (CTE) class credit.
“The changing utility industry and a wave of retirements are creating opportunities for good paying skilled jobs that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree. Our goal for Energy Pathways is to provide participating high school students with career connected learning,” said Karen Feltes, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Avista.
Avista’s Energy Pathways student experience aligns with Washington State’s Career Connect Washington initiative announced by Governor Jay Inslee in May 2017. The goal of the initiative is to connect 100,000 Washington students over five years with career-connected learning opportunities preparing them for high-demand, high-wage jobs. Governor Inslee even came to visit Energy Pathways during the last week of the program!
“Avista is leading the way in Career Connected Learning and are sharing how they are supporting career exploration with other utilities,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “Avista’s curriculum can be the basis for Washington utilities to grow their own individualized programs and their efforts align with our goals to help students understand the bright possibilities and futures in energy distribution, technology and management.”
What did the students have to say about their experience? Rising junior Roka Brovisk discovered, “I originally wanted to do something in engineering and I wasn’t quite sure about energy. But after doing this, I’m definitely interested in something in the energy field.”
In response to wildfires in northern California, Avista recently sent a 10 vehicle, 12 person convoy to Redding, California. They joined numerous other utilities from Washington and California who also supported the restoration efforts after the destructive Carr wildfire damaged infrastructure owned by Pacific Gas and Electric, leading to widespread outages.
Reports indicate there were some 1,200 poles which were destroyed and replaced.
“We were extremely saddened to hear about the ongoing devastation caused by the California wildfires. Our condolences and prayers are with those affected,” said Heather Rosentrater, Vice President of Operations. “During a significant event such as this utilities come together to support each other."
Avista received assistance during the 2015 windstorm and embraced the opportunity to provide support during Hurricane Irma in 2017. We were pleased to extend the same support to our neighbors in California. We were proud to join the restoration effort and were committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible to Pacific Gas and Electric customers.”
In the fall of 2017, Pullman Regional Hospital’s Orthopedic Center of Excellence began a partnership with Colton, Garfield, Palouse, Potlatch and Pullman school districts to provide Certified Athletic Trainers at each school and serve more than 750 kids.
In under a year, the program has provided more than 10,000 treatments for high school athletes at no-cost to parents. This critical service is supported by Pullman Regional Hospital, the Foundation and championed by physicians, Dr. Tingstad and Dr. Pennington. Avista is providing support as one of program’s All-Star Sponsors, continuing our strong support of our rural communities.
“Our goal is to support the interests and passions of our community; keeping kids healthy and safe through Pullman Regional Hospital’s Regional High School Athletic Training Program is most certainly on target. Avista Foundation is a grateful supporter of this program, investing in our youth, and thus, our future.”
Kristine Meyer, Avista Foundation Executive Director & Paul Kimmell, Avista Corporation Palouse Area Regional Business Manager.