Energy Northwest selects a new CEO

Robert “Bob” Schuetz

Energy Northwest executive Robert “Bob” Schuetz is the new chief executive officer for the Richland-based power cooperative that operates the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant.

Schuetz is a 28-year Navy veteran who joined Energy Northwest in 2013 and most recently served as site vice president. He succeeds Brad Sawatzke, who retired in June. Schuetz stepped into his new role on Aug. 7.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead this talented organization,” Schuetz said in a statement announcing the move. “We have an amazing team that I’m proud of; and with their talent, our current carbon-free portfolio and strategic initiatives, I am excited for the bright future we have helping the Pacific Northwest meet its clean energy goals.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a master’s in engineering management from Old Dominion University and a master’s in economics from the University of Oklahoma, as well as senior reactor operator management certificates from Energy Northwest and Westinghouse.

Prior to joining Energy Northwest, he was a plant evaluation team leader for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.

Prior to his civilian career, Schuetz spent nearly 30 years in the military, retiring from the Navy as the deputy commander and chief of staff for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, a command that oversees 7,000 service members operating 36 ships from four bases.

“Bob’s diverse leadership experience, combined with his nuclear background and time with Energy Northwest, provide continuity for the agency and a formula for continued success,” said Will Purser, executive board acting chairman. “His talent and relentless pursuit of excellence contributed to earning the agency recognition as a top performing nuclear plant. His contributions have helped grow our carbon-free energy portfolio and paved the way for our leadership with advanced reactors.”

At Energy Northwest, he leads more than 1,000 employees who operate the agency’s mix of carbon-free resources, including hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, wind and battery storage facilities.

Grover Hettel will remain Energy Northwest’s chief nuclear officer with responsibility for the overall performance of the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, Columbia Generating Station.

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