Rich Wallen was unanimously chosen by Grant PUD’s commissioners Tuesday, Feb. 8, as the utility’s new general manager and CEO according to a press release.

Wallen was tapped as interim general manager Jan. 1, after Kevin Nordt stepped down to focus on his health and take on a new role ensuring the utility a reliable energy supply.

Commissioners pointed to Wallen’s knowledge, experience gained at Grant PUD and benefit of mentoring by Nordt for their decision.

“This process with the commission is part of what we’ve supported to bring folks up through the ranks that are part of this PUD family,” Commissioner Tom Flint said in a press release, pointing to Wallen’s credentials in the military and energy industry.

Wallen thanked commissioners and fellow executive managers.

“Everybody’s been willing to help out, train and calibrate me when I needed to be calibrated,” Wallen was quoted in a press release. “We’ve got a great group of folks on board, moving the District in a positive direction.”

Wallen joined Grant PUD in June 2017 as managing director of power production, overseeing hydropower operations.

In his most recent role as chief operations officer, his responsibilities expanded to include power delivery, safety and operational excellence.

Wallen is a 30-year veteran of the energy industry. He grew up in West Virginia and joined the U.S. Navy, according to Grant PUD.

He spent more than a decade in the military, eventually becoming the chief mechanical operator aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in business from Clayton State University.

He and his wife, Dara, have five children.