Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flowers Power -- Idaho Falls utility chief to speak Thursday

Jackie Flowers
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce is featuring Idaho Falls Power Director Jackie Flowers as its speaker Thursday afternoon as part of its CEO Speaker series.

The free program will be from 3 to 4 p.m. at the ARTitorium on Broadway.

Flowers was hired to head the utility in 2006.

At 115 years, Idaho Falls Power is one of the oldest public power generators in the United States, and it is Idaho’s largest publicly held utility. Idaho Falls Power boasts some of the lowest utility rates in the country — less than half the national average for residential power. It is also unique in that more than 95 percent of its energy comes from carbon-free energy sources, predominantly hydroelectric power.

Flowers said she saw several challenges when she came to Idaho Falls from Sheridan, Wyo. Although she was a licensed civil engineer with infra-
structure experience in dams and municipal public works, she had never managed an electrical utility.

Her first day on the job, as she prepared to meet her staff, then Mayor Jared Fuhriman handed her the massive set of keys to all the facilities and said, “You know you are going to have to earn their respect. How are you going to walk in there and introduce yourself?” Flower replied, “Doughnuts will be involved.”

Since then, she has distinguished herself in her industry, serving on the board of directors for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), which is made up of utilities from eight western states, as well as on several other industry organizations. She regularly speaks on energy issues and has been asked numerous times to speak about her position as one of few female utility executives in the country.

Asked about the challenges she may have faced being a female in such a male dominated industry, she said, “It isn’t really something that I have given much thought to in the past. In engineering school the ratio was about 4 to 1 male to female. There have only been a couple of times in my career where the fact that I am a woman has really stood out.”