Awards recognize Frank Brown and Margaret Lewis for lifetime achievement and excellence in customer service. 


“Margaret and Frank represent the very best of BPA’s Energy Efficiency team and what can be accomplished with the lowest-cost resource in the region.”

Jamae Hilliard, vice president of Energy Efficiency at BPA
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance recently honored two BPA employees during its 2021 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards.

Margaret Lewis, a supervisory public utilities specialist in the Programs group of Energy Efficiency, was recognized with the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration. The award recognizes her excellence in customer service helping customer utilities leverage BPA’s Energy Efficiency programs across the region.

Frank Brown, a public utilities specialist in the Distributed Energy Resources workgroup in Energy Efficiency, earned the Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Lifetime Achievement, capping an energy efficiency career that has spanned more than 40 years.

“Margaret and Frank represent the very best of BPA’s Energy Efficiency team and what can be accomplished with the lowest-cost resource in the region,” said Jamae Hilliard, vice president of Energy Efficiency at BPA. “Their work is helping to drive down rate pressures by ultimately reducing the overall demands on the system. And that work cascades down from BPA to all of our utility customers and benefits the Northwest.”

Margaret Lewis

Michael Little of Seattle City Light’s Customer Energy Solutions agreed with that assessment of Lewis.

“At her core, she is a collaborative professional who is driven by the greater good for our industry, her customers, and the region,” Little wrote in his nomination of Lewis. “She is a team player who works to reach collaborative outcomes, and she wholeheartedly deserves this recognition.”

Lewis helped Seattle City Light report energy conservation activity to BPA and provided excellent customer service. Little also pointed to Lewis’ work to match the utility with partners for bilateral transfers to ensure efficient spending of Energy Efficiency Incentive funding across the Northwest. Lewis played a key role in developing bilateral transfers between Seattle City Light and Lewis County Public Utility District, Central Lincoln PUD, the City of Sumas, the U.S. Navy and the Port of Seattle.

Lewis also spearheaded an effort to clarify the processes and procedures with the Strategic Energy Management program and helped establish a more unified approach to SEM across Snohomish Public Utility District, Tacoma Power and Seattle City Light.

For her part, Lewis was quick to share accolades during the awards ceremony.

“I would like to honor and thank my colleagues for pushing the envelope in energy efficiency,” Lewis said. “And to the Energy Efficiency team at BPA, thank you for responding to my calls, flares, carrier pigeons, instant messages and all the other ways I would reach out for help.”

Frank Brown

Brown’s colleagues have called him “Encyclopedia Brown” and “The Godfather of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response” for his enduring contributions in the development and implementation of energy efficiency and demand response programs in the Northwest.

Brown’s fingerprint on the energy efficiency movement in the Northwest stretches back to the 1970s when he began working in the conservation office for the U.S. Department of Energy in Seattle. He served on an internal DOE advisory committee for the proposed Regional Power Act (later known as the Northwest Power Act) and would go on to implement the Act’s initial energy conservation programs in the early 1980s as the energy conservation manager for BPA’s Seattle office.

Brown was able to grow the conservation program from $1 million to $75 million and expand staffing from 4 to more than 50 employees. He was a leader in promoting diversity, receiving multiple awards for hiring women and minorities in underrepresented fields.

Brown helped guide and push for incorporating conservation standards into building codes, first at a municipal level and then by the state of Washington. He even developed the first non-wires assessment team within Energy Efficiency that helped BPA avoid costly transmission projects.

His led lighting upgrades at Grand Coulee Dam to replace roughly 10,000 fixtures, shifting an entire megawatt of energy used by station service into output for the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Beyond four decades of service in promoting energy efficiency and developing strategic connections between energy efficiency and emerging technological opportunities, Brown has mentored dozens of EE professionals, ensuring his legacy long outlives his career.

“Frank has been a champion of energy efficiency during every cycle of funding, courageously sustaining it during the ‘down times’,” wrote Lee Hall, Distributed Energy Resources manager, in Brown’s nomination packet. “He has brought national recognition to BPA and the region, distinguishing himself as a leader in the Northwest’s energy efficiency community.”

Honoring a past BPA administrator

In addition to Lewis and Brown, NEEA also recognized Chelan PUD general manager and former BPA administrator Steve Wright with a Chairperson’s Award for his long-term commitment in advancing the alliance’s work.

“Steve was one of the first leaders in the region to articulate energy efficiency’s role in a more resilient power system,” said Susan Stratton, executive director of NEEA. “His leadership was essential to developing NEEA into a regional collaborative that not only saves energy, but also fills a pipeline with emerging technologies, compiles data resources for better planning, and engages with the market in building codes and appliance and equipment standards to permanently increase energy efficiency in the Northwest.”

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance brings together more than 140 utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. NEEA is dedicated to accelerating both electric and natural gas energy efficiency, leveraging its regional partnerships to advance the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices.

Since 1997, NEEA and its partners, including BPA, have saved enough energy to power more than 620,000 homes each year. As the second-largest resource in the Northwest – behind only hydropower – energy efficiency can offset most of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live.

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