A Recent Addition to the PUD Staff Returns to His Mid-Columbia Roots
By Rodger Nichols
It’s been a full-circle journey for 1 of Northern Wasco County PUD’s (NWCPUD) newest employees, Geoffrey Lacefield.
Geoffrey grew up in Dufur, where his parents— Leon and Maretha—still live. Leon was a log scaler for SDS Lumber and plays banjo for The Dufur Boys. Maretha is familiar to locals for her many years working for Columbia River Bank.
Following high school, Geoffrey got an associate degree from Heald College in Sacramento, California, and a bachelor’s degree from Cal State University Sacramento in electrical and electronic engineering.
After interning with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (MUD), Geoffrey was given a job as an assistant engineer until he got his degree in 2008 and became an associate electrical engineer. He worked for the MUD for 12 years.
But the lure of the Northwest is strong, and a chance encounter while visiting home gave Geoffrey the connection he needed.
“I came to Oregon to go on a kayak trip with my buddy, Joshua, and to visit my family,” he says. “When I went to church that Sunday, there was a friend of my family who works at Klickitat PUD. I got an interview with them and worked there for almost 31, 32 years.”
When the chance to work even closer to home became available this summer, Geoffrey took the position of senior power engineer with Northern Wasco County PUD.
“Typically, I work on any and all engineering projects within the spectrum of the utility,” he says. “If they need something, I jump in.
“My career has branched to many different corners of power engineering, from substation design and construction to maintenance to operations. I was the only electrical engineer at Klickitat PUD, so I got to work and complete a wide range of cool projects.”
Geoffrey says he appreciates the PUD culture and the dedication of his fellow employees.
When not working, he’s busy with several interests.
“I take a kayak trip every year if I can,” he says. Geoffrey’s favorite river route is a 5-day, 4-night trip on the John Day River, from Clarno to Cottonwood.
“It’s not like the Deschutes,” he says. “There are a few rapids, but nothing serious. I’m doing catch-and-release for bass and can catch over 100 fish a day. Every cast, you catch a fish. It’s so much fun.”
The secret, Geoffrey says, is timing.
“You need to go at the right time of year when the water is really low and you’re dragging your boat a little bit,” he says. “There is nobody around, and all the fish are in the hole fighting for the same food.”
Geoffrey also likes to restore cars.
“Outside of fishing, it’s 1 of my favorite hobbies,” he says. “That’s part of how I got through college. I put myself through building houses, working in automotive or taking any kind of job I could get over the summer. That’s how I learned to work on cars.”
Geoffrey’s projects include restoring a Corvette and a 1972 Chevrolet truck. He plans to work with his father to restore the family’s 1955 Chevy station wagon.
Geoffrey and his wife, Jennifer, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Their son George is 13, and twins Everett and Juliet are 10. All 3 attend Lyle School.
“We’re very active with the kids,” Geoffrey says.
The children participate in sports, keep busy with chores and spend a lot of time with their grandparents whenever they can. They also help maintain the family’s half-acre garden.
“We plant soft squash, eggplants, peppers, beans, hard squash, pumpkins and, of course, tomatoes,” Geoffrey says. “We love fresh tomatoes.”