Sep 13 , 2012
Jen Boettcher and Cindy Rogers, from Avista’s Human Resources department attended the second annual “Welcome Home Event” for area veterans and transitioning military members on past this Wednesday at Spokane Community College. The event was organized by VA Medical Center staff and had over 60 employers and vets service organizations registered.
Spokane Mayor David Condon opened the event and wounded warrior Chris Carver gave an inspiring speech on the obstacles he has overcome after an IED explosion in Iraq nearly took his life. The job fair was attended by 75 Spokane-area hometown heroes.
Is there is hometown hero in your life?
Avista will also be hosting an event for veterans at Gonzaga University in October. We'll post information about that event when it becomes available.
Sep 04 , 2012
A week-long search finally uncovers who the Good Samaritan employee actually was
Journeyman Gas Serviceman Trevor Butler made a
big impact on a family after helping an elderly
woman who had fallen near her home in North
With hundreds of employees working every hour of every day throughout our 3-state service territory, our employees see a lot in the field. They see car accidents and help injured motorists. They see lost children and help return them home. They administer first aid. It’s just the right thing to do.
When an Avista employee sees someone who needs help, they offer it without question. Sometimes they go about their good deeds so quickly that the recipient doesn’t get a chance to learn the employee’s name, which is exactly what happened last week in Spokane.
Andie Davis of Deer Park sent us a message on Facebook about an Avista employee who helped her mom Connie Davis. The trouble was, we couldn’t immediately figure out who the employee was. Here’s what she wrote:
“I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you a little story about a gentleman who works for Avista in the Spokane area, but I first need to give you a little background.
My mom is a cancer patient, with stage 4 cancer. It's a very aggressive variety of cancer; she will be on chemo the rest of her life. With that she has had complications with the chemo, and it has affected her ability to do just about anything. Her balance, dexterity, energy, mobility, breathing and memory have all been affected. The purpose for me sharing this is this, because many of these issues came into play yesterday.
My mom was watering her flowers, while using her walker on her front porch. One of your Avista trucks happened to be parked nearby, while the driver was tending to his paperwork. My mom fell, (her walker rolled down the ramp and got away from her) and couldn't get back up. After a couple attempts trying to get up, your driver had made it to her house and helped her recover her walker and back into her house. LUCKILY her worst injury was a scuff to her knee and bruised pride. She maintained good humor as they both joked about "I've fallen and can't get up" BUT if your employee hadn't helped her, who knows how long she would've been stuck outside in the 90+ degree weather before anyone would've noticed her. She didn't get his name or I'd try to thank him personally. It's nice to know that there are still kind people out there who will help those who cannot help themselves. I wish I could tell this man thank you myself, though I know it's not very likely we will ever find out who he was. . . . This guy deserves an extra day off, a hug and some ice cream! Not only did he help someone in need, he made your company look good, and those are the guys your company needs in the age of distrust for large corporations. THANK YOU for hiring this man, so he could be where someone really needed his help.”
I immediately forwarded Andie’s message to several Avista managers to try and figure out who this terrific employee was. No luck after days. Although I did hear additional stories about helping out young kids and even helping another woman in a similar situation get to her feet. It showed me, more than anything, that these types of good deeds happen all the time and we simply don’t talk about them. I know a lot of my co-workers shy away from the spotlight and aren’t looking for a pat on the back, but in this case, it was deserved and everyone who read Andie’s note really wanted to find this guy.
After about a week of searching I got a call from a manager in our natural gas area who said he found our hero. It was Journeyman Gas Serviceman Trevor Butler. A couple of his co-workers came forward to say who did the good deed. He didn’t even want to come forward himself.
When told of the thank you he received, ever-so-humble Trevor just said it was the right thing to do. No less. No more.
There’s a lot more to being an employee of Avista than just punching the clock, we have a responsibility for our neighbors too. I’m certainly proud to work here with people like Trevor, who make the communities we serve better by just doing the right thing.
To Trevor, I think Andie said it best, but once again, thank you for what you did to help Connie. You’ve made your co-workers very proud.
Aug 28 , 2012
Avista was truly “Human Powered” last week thanks to more than 120 employees who generously volunteered their time for the Salvation Army Backpack for Kids giveaway or helped us organize, set up and staff the Avista Energy Fair 2012 at the event. In the lead-up to the big day, employees donated more than $1,700, which was matched by a $500 contribution from Avista. Three bins of school supplies were also donated by our generous co-workers in Spokane.
The event began at 8 a.m. with a line that stretched around a city block. When the last backpack was given out at 6:30 p.m., more than 1,500 families had received a total of 3,614 backpacks, many of which were proudly worn by their new owners. For the 137 kids who were placed on a waiting list when the backpacks ran out, their wait for school supplies won’t last long. Avista has donated an additional $2,000 to the Salvation Army to purchase the packs and the learning tools that go inside.
The day and what it meant to our employees is best summed up in their own words:
“What an important service to the families and children who so desperately need support – and the joy that it brought the children to have a new, beautiful backpack of their very own! We were so grateful to be able to share the opportunity for our employees to volunteer and see firsthand the important work that you (Salvation Army) do in our community for the same families who are also our customers.”
-Anne Marie Axworthy, Director of Consumer Affairs
“Having only been employed with Avista for about two months, it hasn’t taken long to find out that Avista truly lives out its commitment to give back to the communities it serves. This commitment was displayed early in the process through communication at both the corporate and departmental levels encouraging employees to participate, and by providing the work schedule flexibility to allow me to be able to volunteer. However, what really cemented Avista’s commitment for me, was when I did a double take when I realized Scott Morris was driving the shuttle van I was riding to the event. It was amazing to me the number of parents that expressed their gratitude for our participation in helping to get their children something as simple as a backpack for school.”
-Bob Brandkamp, Risk Management Analyst
“It’s eye-opening anytime I do community service with low income people. I registered people as they came in, and I had to ask what their monthly income was. The answers were astounding, how little people live on in our community. These are people with kids my kids’ ages. I feel fortunate to be in the position I'm in. It’s great that Avista partners with organizations like the Salvation Army.
-Lamont Miles, Design Integration Manager
“It was very nice for Avista to put the opportunity out there for us to volunteer. It’s hard for my wife and I to know where to volunteer and this gave us a way to help in the community.”
-Brian Hosig, Residential Meterman
“I saw a lot of people with pride and dignity; people who appreciated what was given to them. They were surprised we had an Avista goody bag. I'm glad I did it. It meant a lot to me.”
-Roxanne Williams, Energy Efficiency Program Rep.
“I volunteered with my son, Patrick. I thought it was good for him to see the need out there. He's pretty sheltered with dinner at home every night and the school supplies we purchase for him. It was good for him to see the other side of the coin -- how much need there is. It was startling to see what some people are surviving on every month with several children. It’s Important to go to school that first day and start off on the right foot. How devastating it would be for kids to go to school without school supplies.”
-Debbie Deubel, Construction Standards Technician
And finally from Capt. Kyle Smith, Spokane Corps Officer, The Salvation Army Spokane Regional Services:
“Having such a wonderful group of volunteers from Avista was extremely helpful. Your employees’ big smiles and willingness to jump in wherever needed made the difference. One of my favorite words is "synergy." Yesterday I think we experienced synergy in action. We all achieved far more working together than we could have done apart. Thanks again for being good neighbors.”
Aug 20 , 2012
The cold weather is coming - attend an Energy Fair and be ready
The Avista Energy Fair 2012
is coming to locations in the Inland Northwest. It will offer demonstrations of ways to keep homes warm and safe for the winter ahead. Fair attendees can speak with Avista staff and learn first-hand about low-cost and no-cost energy efficiency tips. They’ll see how to install window draft stoppers like rope caulk, window plastic and v-seal. Free samples of these and other materials to help people maximize energy efficiency in their homes will be given out at the fair.
In addition, Avista employees will have information about billing assistance and payment options. Avista community partners will also be on hand to offer helpful information about other community resources.
For the kids, and the kids at heart, Wattson, Avista’s Energy Watchdog, will be on hand to share his message of energy efficiency and safety.
Each year our customers ask for help in managing their energy use and costs during the winter. It’s never too early in the year for us to offer a broad range of ideas and demonstrations that will help residents keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside their homes. This event provides a great way for customers to conveniently access Avista’s many services. Information about payment options
, energy assistance
and energy efficiency
will be especially helpful to those struggling to pay their bills.
Please join us.
• August 23, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Salvation Army, 222 E. Indiana Ave. Spokane, WA
• September 11, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Lewiston Community Center, 1424 Main St., Lewiston, ID
• October 10, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Harding Family Center, 411 N. 15th St., Coeur d’Alene, ID
• November 8, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. – East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St., Spokane, WA
Aug 17 , 2012
Across our three-state service territory and into western Montana, Avista employees are active volunteers in the communities where they live and work. In fact, in 2011 they logged more than 52,000 hours of community service in more than 1,000 organizations. Community partnerships are a valued part of Avista’s culture, bringing value to both the people served and to the individual volunteer.
Historically, we’ve been pretty quiet about the positive impact our employees make through their community work. However, we think it’s time that they get the recognition they so richly deserve for the important work they do both during and after work hours. Employee volunteerism is one element of Avista’s Community Impact section of our 2012 performance report titled “Together We Will Build Shared Value.”
We encourage you to take a few minutes to read the report and if you feel so inclined, to give us your feedback
Spokane’s Journal of Business recently ran an article
highlighting four Avista employees and the volunteer work they do, including delivering Meals on Wheels and serving as a volunteer firefighter. It provides a good look at how Avista incorporates volunteerism into our company’s business while providing a cadre of talented and dedicated individuals to the service organizations in the communities we serve. We hope you will join us in saying thank you to our employees for their service.
Jul 30 , 2012
For this year’s Settler’s Days Parade in Deer Park, Wash., Avista dressed up one of our electric line trucks with a patriotic theme to cruise the route. Our employees volunteer their time to participate in community events like this to share information about energy efficiency and safety. We love the communities we serve. Thanks for having us, Deer Park!
In the picture above you can see Deer Park Operations Manager Frank Binder; Journeyman Lineman Pat St. Amand, his wife Coleen and their two daughters Bridget and Margaret; Community Investment and Foundation Manager Kristi Meyer; and of course, Edison and our Energy Watchdog, Wattson.
Jul 11 , 2012
One of the original operators of Cabinet
Gorge Dam, 90-year old Clyde Meredith,
who retired in 1984, rode alongside
Cabinet's current Chief Operator.
Avista employees and the community of Clark Fork celebrated our Independence Day and commemorated Cabinet Gorge 60th anniversary at the annual Clark Fork, Idaho - Fourth of July celebration last week.
Several of Avista’s hydro operations and environmental resources employees and their families, a line truck, electric safety demonstration trailer and Bull Trout education trailer took part in the community’s annual Fourth of July parade.
One of the original operators of Cabinet Gorge, 90-year old Clyde Meredith, who retired in 1984, was also in the parade. He rode alongside Cabinet Gorge’s current Chief Operator, Don Wells in Clark Fork License Manager Tim Swant’s 1965 Pontiac LeMans.
Avista helped support the community celebrations and fireworks, and donated a trailer-mounted BBQ to the Clark Fork Booster Club so they have a means of fundraising for many years to come.
We’re proud to be a part of the community of Clark Fork for the past 60 years. Happy Birthday to America, and to Cabinet Gorge.
Jun 08 , 2012
Safety is a family affair in Oregon
Avista’s commitment to safety extends beyond our workday and jobsite – all the way down to our grandkids. Last Saturday Avista’s Eddie Randles recruited his 7-year-old granddaughter Arianna to help at Safety Saturday at the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford, Oregon.
Randles started the day with a Tailboard Meeting – just like employees who go out into the field to fix gas leaks or build new pipelines. (That’s her focused, arms-crossed look in the picture.) The detailed briefing taught Arianna all of the natural gas display items for the event and how they work.
“She even installed my pressure gauge build-up on the gas meter and found a leak with the Rover,” Randles said. “She was so versed in the different parts of the meter she was able to describe it to the Red Cross gentleman [see photo].”
The event was free and open to the public. Dozens of organizations provided information and exhibits, from document spreading to fire prevention to electric and gas safety.
Thanks Eddie and Arianna for going the extra mile for safety!
Jun 06 , 2012
Imposters claim President Obama providing credits or applying payments to utility bills
Avista and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana are warning customers to be alert to a scam that has impacted utility customers in several states across the country. According to reports, imposters are claiming that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills in an attempt to obtain social security numbers and bank routing numbers.
Utilities impacted by the scam also report that scammers have visited customers in person, posted fliers and used social media and texting to send this false message.
“We all should be vigilant in protecting our personal information at all times. That’s why customers are reminded that Avista does not contact customers seeking personal information, and it is our policy to safeguard any information that we collect during the course of providing electric and natural gas services,” said Mike Broemeling, Avista’s director of customer service.
“You have the power and the right to safeguard your personal information and your home. Customers should trust their instincts and feel empowered to hang up the phone or request a stranger to leave their property if approached about scams like this,” said Chelsea Dannen, public relations and media specialist for BBB.
Avista and the Better Business Bureau offer the following tips to avoid falling for this scam and others:
• Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
• If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
• Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
• Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.
May 30 , 2012
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from our customers and employees that they want more information on how we do business in areas like utility operations, environmental stewardship and our community impact. We’re glad you asked!
That information and more is available in our fourth annual report on our performance, “Together We Will Build Shared Value,”
now online at avistautilities.com.
Our primary mission is to provide the energy you need for your life. The back story is all about what goes into providing that energy and how often this has additional benefits to the customers and communities we serve. That’s shared value.
In this year’s report, we tell many stories of how shared value is created throughout our business. For example, in the Utility Operations section we talk about how Avista must meet state-mandated energy savings targets. As part of our sustainable business practices, the report is published online
We’ve made PDF files available of the entire report and four of its sections for your convenience in sharing the report with others.
Shared value is at the heart of what Avista does every day. We hope you’ll take the time to read this year’s report and give us your feedback
. We want to hear from you about how – together – we can continue to build shared value.