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AAEA Searches for New Director, Welcomes Board Members

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The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association and its nonprofit federation is looking for a new executive director, and the industry group has new officers and board members.

Previous director Stephanie Osborne resigned for personal reasons, association chair Heather Nelson told Arkansas Business.

“The board just finalized the new executive director job description for release,” said Nelson, president of Seal Solar of North Little Rock, signaling the start of a nationwide search. She added that public policy firm Mullenix & Associates LLC of Little Rock is filling in to cover the executive director’s duties and will be helping in the candidate search.

Osborne, a Texas native, took over as executive director in August 2020, following on the heels of Katie Laning Niebaum, who left the job just before delivering twins last year.

Nelson said the organization was sad to lose Osborne, describing her as a “vital part of the Advanced Energy family” who “will be dearly missed.”

New AAEA board members are Justin McCann of Today’s Power Inc. of North Little Rock, Caleb Gorden of Shine Solar in Rogers, Will Black of Performance Services Inc. of North Little Rock, Lisa Perry of Walmart Energy Services, and CEO Mark Cayce of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. of Camden.

New AAEA officers include Nelson as chair, Alex Ray of Johnson Controls Inc. in Little Rock as vice chair, Matt Bell of Entegrity of Little Rock as treasurer, and David Stitt of Stitt Energy of Rogers as secretary.

The nonprofit Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation has six new members: Jennah Denney of Today’s Power; Gary Moody of the Audubon Society; Nancy Guisinger of American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio; Martha Jane Murray of Entegrity; Steve Chriss of Walmart Energy Services; and Adam Fogleman, Pulaski County attorney.

The foundation’s officers are Flint Richter of Entegrity as chair, Moody as vice chair, Peter Nierengarten of the city of Fayetteville as treasurer, and Guisinger as secretary.

In its newsletter published Tuesday, the association also noted that Southwestern Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of AEP of Columbus that serves thousands of meters in west Arkansas, has submitted paperwork seeking 3,550 megawatts of new generation, largely calling for solar and wind resources.

Swepco submitted an informational filing on April 28 after announcing plans to stop operating two coal-fired power plants. Another is set for upgrades.

Swepco, which has about 540,000 customers in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, will seek bids on wind resources up to 3,000 megawatts, and has an eye on 300 megawatts of solar capacity. It is also looking for short-term resources of up to 250 megawatts.

The proposals require interconnection with Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and the power sources must be in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas or Missouri.

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