New Workers Keep PUD Rolling

Many Departments Added New Faces in 2017 to 2018

Jay Bonogofsky and Derrick Mauritson

Derrick Mauritson
Derrick Mauritson, Hydro Operator, left, and Jay Bonogofsky, Chief Operator, make sure Northern Wasco County PUD’s small hydro project at The Dalles Dam is well maintained, producing power and providing attraction water for salmon. Kathy Ursprung photo

The faces of Jay Bonogofsky and Derrick Mauritson aren’t ones that you are likely to see that often at the Northern Wasco County PUD office.

They are based at the PUD’s small hydropower plant at The Dalles Dam, where the Columbia River’s waters rush by (aided by the hydro plant) and whistle pigs frolic in the grass under towering pine trees.

Jay has been the Chief Operator at the hydro plant for the past year and a half. Derrick has been a Hydro Operator since November.

“My job is to make sure this unit is running, coordinate with the staff to make sure maintenance is done, and, at all times, this unit is supplying fish attraction water for salmon,” Jay says.

Jay has a passion for fish and says the power produced by the plant is a very beneficial side effect of the fish protection process. Studies have shown that the attraction waters agitated by the turbine improve conditions for migratory fish.

Jay is no stranger to hydropower. Originally from Montana, he worked in the industry in California for 20 years before moving to The Dalles.

“It’s the greatest place I’ve ever worked,” he says. “The people are very approachable at the PUD. It’s a friendly environment to work in.”

Jay has been married to his bride Joni for 35 years. He has a son, 33, and a daughter 30.

“I enjoy just hanging out with my wife, watching TV, and enjoying the countryside,” he says.

He also enjoys riding his motorcycle and likes to play the guitar “Country old school on an old acoustic guitar,” he says. On occasion, he has performed for his co-workers at PUD for birthdays.

Derrick worked at PGE’s Pelton-Round Butte Project in Madras. He and his wife of 31 years, Lana, moved to The Dalles to be closer to family— very close, in fact. Derrick’s son, Garrett, has worked for the PUD as a Relay, Control, and Meter Technician since November 2016.

“My daughter goes to school at Central Washington University,” he says, so it’s also a shorter trip to visit her in Ellensburg.

In his free time. Derrick likes to fish and hunt.

He also likes the working arrangements at the PUD. “Working for PGE for 13 years, I would talk to people I’d never seen in 15 years,” Derrick says. “Here, if I want to talk to someone, I can just go down to the office.”

Derrick and Jay are the full-time operators at the hydro plant. Two part-time employees who are retirees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also work at the plant.

Sue Powers

Sue PowersSue Powers has been the Contracts and Risk Specialist at the PUD since November 2017.

“I report to the Chief Financial Officer, who is responsible for enterprise risk management,” Sue says. “My current project is to
document and implement contract and procurement practices that keep the PUD in compliance with state regulations, are financially sound, and utilize best practices in general. I support the Operations team.”

Sue worked for 20 years in product planning, purchasing, and materials/ inventory management at Columbia Sportswear in Portland and Hood River Distillers. She has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Montana and a Master’s in Business Administration from Portland State University.

Sue was born in New York but has lived in Oregon since 1985. She lived in Portland until 2003 when she and her family moved to their current location in Hood River.

“My husband, Tim, works for U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” Sue says. “My son, Miles, is 24, graduated from Western Washington University, and recently started his first full-time job at the U.S. Geological Service. My daughter Erin is a full-time student at the same university.”

Sue and her family like to be outdoors in their free time.

“We are skiers, bicyclists, hikers and, this time of year especially, gardeners,” she says. And while she claims no special talents for herself, she appreciates them in others, noting that her husband is an amazing pianist.

She also appreciates the work of the PUD.

“I like the fact that the PUD provides such a basic and foundational product that the rest of the economy depends on,” she says. “It’s easy to feel good about what you do when the organization you work for provides a critical and necessary service.”

Nathan Ericksen

Nathan EricksenNathan Ericksen has been an Engineering Associate at the PUD since August 2017.

He is from Wenatchee, Washington, and has a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Montana Tech in Butte, Montana.

He lives with his girlfriend, Samantha, and has a wide range of hobbies, including cooking, biking, hiking, collecting watches, building computers, and collecting audio equipment—but that’s not all.

“I brew my own beer,” he says.

He has a lot of reasons to like working at the PUD: “The benefits, excellent work environment, good people, and providing affordable power to the public.”

Jon Schellinger

Jon SchellingerJon Schellinger has been a system administrator at the PUD since February of this year. He was an Information Technology Specialist in the military and most recently worked at Amazon Web Services as a Data Center Technician.

Originally from Independence, Missouri, he has a wife, Andretta, and a daughter, Summer.

Jon’s hobbies include gaming, both computer and cardboard strategy games, spending time with his family, and riding his motorcycle.

“While I am new to the PUD, I can say I have enjoyed the challenges that come with coming to a new organization,” Jon says, “and upgrading and maintaining server and network infrastructure in order to look to the future of the PUD.”