New CEO takes over at Hill Country power provider Pedernales, one of nation’s largest co-ops

Pedernales Electric Cooperative Inc., the Johnson City-based electricity provider that supplies swaths of the Hill Country and Austin suburbs with power, has a new CEO — the first woman to hold the post in the organization’s nearly 80-year history.

The nonprofit co-op’s board of directors voted Oct. 26 to name JulieParsley as chief executive. She was previously a partner at Parsley Coffin Renner LLP, an Austin law firm specializing in utility regulations, with a focus on energy issues in Texas and the Southwestern United States.

She is also a former commissioner of Texas’ Public Utility Commission and a former solicitor general of Texas. She is board certified in civil appellate law and was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

Parsley replaces John Hewa, who resigned in May after a dispute with the board that included allegations of racism.

“We’re confident we have found the leader who provides great value to the cooperative’s membership and will honor PEC’s rich tradition and history,” Emily Pataki, president of the Pedernales board, said in a statement.

Separately, Pataki has just been selected by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as his choice for the public member appointed to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviews agencies scheduled to be abolished by the Texas Sunset Act. Pataki is also a board member of Atec Inc., and the Association of Women in Energy.


Hiring Women Isn’t the Problem but Keeping Them is, Says ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance

The oil industry is doing a better job of hiring women. Keeping them remains the challenge, says ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance.

Conoco, the world’s biggest independent oil producer, has seen its percentage of female and minority workers climb among its youngest generation of employees, Lance said in an interview from his Houston headquarters on Thursday.

Boosting diversity is a priority at the company, which has 13,000 employees, Lance said. Women make up a quarter of his eight-member executive leadership team and account for four of 10 seats on the board of directors. Conoco didn’t see a rise in sexual harassment complaints last year, he said, even as high-profile cases made headlines.

Still, there’s work to be done, especially in making it easier for women to sustain a career in the business, Lance said.


New Clean Energy Workshops Offered by AWE Sponsor Utility Classroom

AWE sponsor Utility Classroom is offering a one-day workshop in cities around the country, called Clean Energy Meets the Electric Utility Industry. By addending this workshop, you’ll learn what clean, green and renewable energy really mean; how the electric grid functions and how grid operators are handling greater penetrations of clean energy; why utility regulation models may not encourage change; how solar changed everything; and the challenges and promises of de-carbonizing transportation. Throughout the day we will simplify the overly complex industry jargon and help you gain better insights into the changes, challenges, and opportunities for you in today’s energy marketplace. Ask questions and have some fun along the way…it’s worth a day of your time.

You can learn more and see a list of upcoming class dates and locations on our event page or by visiting Utility Classroom on the web.