PORTLAND — John Hairston will be the Bonneville Power Administration’s new chief operating officer following the retirement of Janet Herrin on Monday. Hairston has served in numerous leadership roles throughout his 28 years at BPA, most recently as the agency’s first chief administrative officer.
Robin Furrer, the vice president of Transmission Field Services for 14 years, will be BPA’s new chief administrative officer.
Hairston to play key role in delivery of agency strategic goals
In his new role, Hairston will be responsible for Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish and Wildlife; and Customer Support Services. He will also oversee the Business Transformation Office and play a critical role in BPA’s sustained focus on disciplined cost-containment and grid modernization.
“I selected John four years ago to establish the Chief Administrative Office at Bonneville because I knew he had the right skill set and experience to help BPA move forward through challenging times,” says BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “He has proven his ability to lead change, and I’m confident he’ll continue to help BPA achieve the ambitious goals we have set in our strategic plan.”
Hairston’s focus as COO will be on maintaining BPA’s competitive position as the agency approaches negotiations for new, long-term wholesale power contracts with its more than 140 Northwest electric utilities. Other priorities include continuing to strengthen customer responsiveness, and modernizing assets and system operations.
“This is an important time in BPA’s history and an exciting time to be taking on this role,” Hairston said. “I look forward to building on the continuous improvement of our business operations and working closely with Robin to leverage the full value of our internal services in support of BPA’s strategy.”
Hairston holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Southern University, a master’s degree in urban studies from Portland State University and a Juris Doctor from the Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law. He also holds the certification of Compliance and Ethics Professional from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.
Furrer brings new perspective to CAO position
Furrer has been the vice president of Transmission Field Services since 2005. In that role she was responsible for managing field operations, maintenance and construction of BPA’s high-voltage transmission system, and providing safe, reliable and cost-effective service to customers. With more than 900 employees spread across BPA’s 300,000-square-mile service area, Field Services is the agency’s largest, most geographically diverse organization.
“Robin is a strong and highly effective leader who carries the important perspective of Transmission Services into the front office while helping to further strengthen the agency as a whole,” said Mainzer. “I am very happy to have her join our senior leadership team.”
Furrer will be responsible for BPA’s Human Resources Service Center; Information Technology; Safety; Security and Continuity of Operations; Supply Chain Services; Workplace Services; and BPA’s Diversity and Inclusion Office.
“I’m excited about the path BPA is on, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Furrer says. “The goals we have set out for ourselves are ambitious, from becoming the safest utility in North America to creating the type of work environment that retains and attracts a best-in-class workforce. I believe they are the right goals for our people, and I am committed to helping us get there.”
Furrer joined BPA in 1991 as a transmission project engineer and moved to the Transmission Field Services organization in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Portland State University.