Energy Northwest names interim CEO

An executive with broad nuclear plant management experience was named Thursday as interim chief executive officer of Energy Northwest while the process continues to select a permanent replacement for retiring Vic Parrish.

Mark Reddemann, currently vice president of operations support with Xcel Energy, was named vice president and interim CEO during a meeting of the public agency's executive board.

Reddemann, who was offered a three-year contract with a base salary of $350,000 annually, also is one of three finalists for the permanent position, said Sid Morrison, chairman of the executive board.

The board decided to name an interim CEO because Parrish is scheduled to retire in mid-July, and it felt someone was needed in the position "while we close out deliberations and negotiations" for a permanent successor, Morrison said.

He said it wasn't known how long that process might take, but believes it could be concluded "very soon."

"We are trying to do this right and get the right person for Energy Northwest," Morrison said.

Reddemann currently serves on the Energy Northwest Corporate Nuclear Safety Review Board, an independent advisory body to the CEO and chief nuclear officer that provides management and safety overview of nuclear activities at Columbia Generating Station.

Names of the other two candidates were not disclosed by the board, which met in executive session for 11/2 hours to discuss the hiring of a successor to Parrish, who was named Energy Northwest CEO in 1996.

The ad hoc search committee has sought someone with experience in managing nuclear power plants and has a strong performance record. Morrison said earlier this week that top-level executives in the commercial nuclear industry command significant pay in the international market.

In addition to his base salary, Reddemann could earn up to 50 percent of his base salary -- up to $175,000 -- in performance-based pay for achieving safety, plant performance and low power cost goals, said Rochelle Olson, manager of public affairs for Energy Northwest.

He also could receive up to 35 percent of his base pay for achieving as yet unspecified, long-term performance measurements. Those measurements still are being negotiated, Olson said.

Parrish could earn about $758,000 in the fiscal year that ends this month, according to estimates from Energy Northwest. That includes base pay and performance-based bonuses.

A specific compensation amount was not advertised for prospective candidates, and the pay does not come from taxpayer dollars, Morrison said earlier this week.

Reddemann has a broad background in the nuclear power industry. He was a vice president with Nuclear Management Co. from 2005-06, and before that served as a vice president for plant technical support at Georgia-based Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.

He also was a vice president of engineering at Nuclear Management Co. and site vice president of its Kewaunee and Point Beach nuclear power plants. He also worked at several nuclear plants across the country.

He holds a bachelor's in applied mathematics, engineering and physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Energy Northwest consists of 28 public power member utilities across Washington and provides electricity to 1.5 million ratepayers. It owns the Northwest's only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, which the Bonneville Power Administration funds. It also markets its power.

Energy Northwest was encouraged to seek a CEO with broad nuclear experience by BPA.

The executive board praised Parrish's service Thursday. He told the board he was proud of the partnerships created among Northwest public power agencies during his time with Energy Northwest, and their work for ratepayers.

-- Kevin McCullen: 582-1535; kmccullen@tricityherald.com