On the surface, the job of System Planning Engineer Andrés Valdepeña-Delgado sounds simple: design the best way to get electricity from the power plant to the customer. But when you dive into the details, you quickly realize what a large and complicated beast the electric grid is. Calculating how much energy will be lost during transmission and distribution, load carrying capacities for the various components, alternate paths for electricity to take, projected growth in energy demand and factoring in hundreds of other variables, is just the beginning.
”It’s complex, which is what makes it challenging. And it’s always changing,” Andrés said. “People are used to always having power, and the fact that we can keep the lights on more than 99% of the time is due to a lot of smart people who put this system together long before me.”
As part of the System Planning group, which handles 100-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines and higher, Andrés is helping to make sure that the system grows to meet the needs of our ever-increasing customer base.
“You take something that is complicated, and if you do a good enough job, people don’t notice it,” Andrés said. “They flip a switch and the lights come on.”
Growing up in Durango, Mexico, Andrés developed an early love for machines. “My dad managed a carpentry, so I worked around machinery from a young age. When I got to high school, I realized I was good at math so I decided I should do something with those two skills,” Andrés said.
He had a hard time choosing between mechanical and electrical engineering. The Durango Institute of Technology has a highly-regarded electrical engineering program, so he chose to pursue that path. After earning his Bachelor’s degree, Andrés worked as a field engineer in Mexico, building distribution lines.
He moved to Idaho to attend graduate school at Boise State University, earning a Master’s and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering. In addition to his work at Idaho Power, Andrés is also an adjunct professor at his alma mater, teaching power system analysis, smart grids, renewable energy and ways to optimize the electrical grid to make the most of new technology.
Andrés is also an avid swimmer; he has coached at three local high schools and the YMCA. In the summer he enjoys mountain biking in Boise’s foothills, where it’s easy to look down on the city and see the importance of the work he does.
“What we do is so wide in scope, it has such a big impact on the community.”
Lindsay Barretto500-kV and Joint Projects Senior Manager
500-kV and Joint Projects Senior Manager Lindsay Barretto grew up around Idaho Power, going to company softball games, camping trips and other events, but she never thought she’d follow her father, former Senior Vice President Jim Miller, to “The Company.”
Lindsay wasn’t even interested in engineering until college, when her dad convinced her to try it, knowing how much she loves problem-solving. In 2007, she graduated from Purdue University with a master’s degree in civil engineering.
“I found out I like building big projects — all the planning and organizing that goes into it,” Lindsay said. “And it’s rewarding to see things get built.”
Big projects are in her title now. Lindsay is Idaho Power’s 500kV and Joint Projects Senior Manager. The highest-profile part of her job is overseeing the Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) transmission line, the company’s biggest project in half a century.
As she learned in college, there’s plenty of planning, organizing and problem-solving on big projects like B2H. There are federal and state permitting processes to navigate, local elected officials to keep informed, project participants to work with, rights-of-way to obtain and much more. Each task presents opportunities and potential pitfalls.
Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field doesn’t bother Lindsay, but it has brought challenges. Before joining Idaho Power, she worked for ExxonMobil Development Company, a job that took her all over the world on ships whose crews constructed underwater pipelines, built platforms or carried out a host of other tasks associated with offshore oil and natural gas projects.
Most of those ships were built for men. Many didn’t have women’s bathrooms, and it was often a challenge to arrange sleeping accommodations for her and other women on the crew.
Lindsay admitted some of those early jobs were intimidating, partly because she was inexperienced. But she always had support and encouragement from people who believed in her.
“I like the challenge of large engineering projects,” she said. “I see my job as an opportunity to show that gender doesn’t play a role in how successful you can be. In the past, some might have been told, ‘You can’t do this because you’re a woman.’ I believe in showing the opposite is true.”
Among Lindsay’s accomplishments at ExxonMobil was helping build the world’s first offshore gravity-based structure for liquified natural gas (LNG) — a facility off the east coast of Italy that stores LNG imported primarily from the Middle East and converts it back into a gaseous state so it can be piped to shore near Venice.
After three years at ExxonMobil, Lindsay found herself missing the mountains, her family and her favorite hobby — mountain biking. So she took a job at Idaho Power. It was a “temporary” three-year gig. That was 12 years ago.
Today, when she’s not managing big projects for Idaho Power, Lindsay can be found skiing, hiking or, of course, mountain biking. She’s mentored women interested in or pursuing technical fields like engineering and spoken to high school girls considering similar fields. She also is a volunteer high school mountain bike coach and involved in the Dirt Dolls mountain biking organization, encouraging women to join the sport.
“Being at Idaho Power has given me a chance to excel as an engineer while also building a fun and fulfilling life outside of work,” Lindsay said.
Ever since he was little, Bryan Brandel wanted to be a lineman.
“My father and grandfather were both linemen for a telecommunications company,” Bryan said. “Like most little boys, all I ever wanted was to be like my dad and grandpa when I grew up.”
But Bryan’s family had other plans for him. Citing the physical demands of being a lineman, they urged him to go to college and use his degree to get a job where he could be inside, using his mind instead of his hands. So Bryan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a chemistry minor from The College of Idaho before pursuing graduate education at the University of Colorado.
“I worked for over five years on a Ph.D. in ecology, conducting research and taking classes, before I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy pursuing it as a career,” he said. “All I ever wanted to be was a lineman.”
With the support of his family, he left graduate school and completed the lineworker program at the Northwest Lineman College in Meridian, Idaho. He scored his first job at Idaho Power — a meter reader position — in 2008. He then worked briefly as a customer service representative before finally getting a job as an apprentice lineman. Bryan completed his apprenticeship in four years and worked as a journeyman lineman before being promoted to line crew foreman.
“I’ve never regretted my decision to trade a Ph.D. for lines,” Bryan said. “I absolutely love my career choice and the company I am fortunate enough to work for.”
Bryan appreciates the mental and physical challenges linework demands. It allows him to engage his mind and solve problems while using his hands to build tangible solutions. He admires the people he works with and the positive, determined attitudes they bring to work.
“The sense of teamwork and dedication to serve our customers gives me incredible job satisfaction. Working on a line crew, you face many complex challenges. But I cannot recall a single time we have ever given up. We always find a solution for our customers,” Bryan said.
Bryan said he appreciates Idaho Power’s exceptional safety culture. Everyone from the top down has a genuine passion for safety and is dedicated to constantly improving it.
“Since my first day in line school, before I even became an apprentice at Idaho Power, and until this very day, I have carried a baby picture of my oldest daughter in my wallet as a constant reminder of my passion for safety. I’ll never do anything that jeopardizes my ability to see my family at the end of the day, and Idaho Power reinforces that,” he said.
Because there are so many different jobs at Idaho Power, Bryan says there are opportunities to pursue your passions and evolve in your career. In addition to his career in lines, Bryan has been able to follow his passion for teaching and mentoring, as well as pursue his own continual growth and learning.
Bryan’s a big fan of the company’s total rewards package, too. The compensation, benefits and retirement are very competitive, he said.
“All of these things add up to feeling valued by Idaho Power while I work to make important contributions to the company,” Bryan said. “The company’s purpose and values align with my own, and I cannot imagine ever leaving.”
Growing up in Boise, Regional Manager Angelique Rood thought of working at Idaho Power as a dream job. While attending college, she worked for a local staffing agency that supported Idaho Power. Even though she had worked her way up to branch manager at the staffing agency, she knew a position at Idaho Power would be an opportunity of a lifetime, so she applied when a job in Human Resources became available.
“Unfortunately, I received a little postcard in the mail a month later informing me that I had not been selected for an interview. I was crushed,” Angelique said. However, the chosen candidates weren’t the fit Idaho Power was looking for. After returning to the applicant pool, Angelique was offered an interview and eventually the job.
After nine successful years in Human Resources, Angelique was offered a temporary leadership position in Customer Operations. Although she knew very little about that side of the company, Angelique was up to the challenge and quickly fell in love with the work.
“It’s rare to find a company that still promotes from within and offers opportunities for employees to try different career fields,” Angelique said. “I feel like that’s what makes Idaho Power unique. If you’re willing to learn and work hard, there is no limit to the opportunities.”
Angelique’s temporary position turned into a full-time job managing hundreds of employees in the Canyon and Western regions of Idaho Power’s service area.
“When people ask what I love about my job, I always say the people. I’ve had the opportunity to work in almost every region in our service area, and in every area of our company we have the most amazing people,” said Angelique.
A large part of Angelique’s job as regional manager is to support Idaho Power’s field employees, who work hard to keep the lights on and play an important role in the community. “My team is at the core of the services we provide as a company. Whether we’re restoring power after a storm, assisting a local business with a new power request, or helping a customer reduce their energy bill through energy efficiency programs – we are making a difference every day,” Angelique said.
Besides helping to support the communities where we live and work, Angelique is proud to work for Idaho Power because of the company’s commitment to core values of safety first, integrity always and respect for all.
“We don’t just talk about these values, we live them. That’s the type of company I want to spend my career with.”
Danielle ReadyEducation and Outreach Energy Advisor
Getting to work with people at every stage of life, from grade school to college students, adults and seniors, has been a career goal come true for Idaho Power Education and Outreach Advisor Danielle Ready.
“I love helping people,” she said. “It’s exciting to watch a group learn how amazing and complex the electrical grid is, or how they can conserve natural resources and save money by becoming more energy efficient.”
Danielle started with the company as a temporary customer service representative. The position became permanent after a year, opening the door to other Idaho Power career paths.
“When I applied to work at Idaho Power, I was looking for a company that would provide a long-term career with advancement opportunities and a better work-life balance for my family,” she said.
Danielle’s supervisor encouraged her to set a goal for other jobs she would be interested in outside of customer service, and to take steps to get herself out there.
“I identified the top three positions I was interested in,” she said. “I did a lot of volunteering, asked for any extra training opportunities, job shadowed, joined committees and coordinated events for my team, both because I enjoyed it and to gain extra experience.”
After two years in Customer Service, an Education & Outreach Energy Advisor position opened.
“It was the No. 1 job on my list!” she said. “What attracted me was the public speaking and teaching as well as engaging with our local communities,” she said.
Danielle’s background has provided a great foundation for her job. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Advertising, with an emphasis in International Business, at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Following graduation and before coming to Idaho Power, she worked in the hospitality and tourism industry.
“That’s where I discovered my passion for creating superior customer service experiences and teaching new employees,” she said. “I now have the awesome opportunity to teach, empower and encourage people through Idaho Power’s educational programs.”
Danielle and her fellow Education & Outreach Energy Advisors are experts in all things Idaho Power, providing educational and community presentations and trainings in everything from basic electrical safety to raptor protection to clean energy.
“I really enjoy working with children and young adults through our STEM education and career outreach efforts,” she said. “I represent Idaho Power at community events, facilitate group tours at our facilities and work with educators to encourage participation in our free programs like Solar 4R Schools, The Energy Wise Program and student scholarships.
“I’m grateful to work for a company that values education and supports the needs and interests of the communities we serve.”
In addition to what Idaho Power does for our communities, Danielle said she loves the company’s employee culture of safety, teamwork and kindness.
“It’s privilege to work with kind, generous and talented people who are committed to serving others and accomplishing goals as a team,” she said. “I appreciate being in an environment where I’m respected, valued, supported and encouraged to ask questions, grow in my career and put safety for myself and others first. I am thankful to have both a personally rewarding and fulfilling career as well as competitive pay and good benefits.”
Human Resources Professional Chase Ropelato has a passion for people, and it’s evident in all he does.
Chase graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Management and Human Resources. Before coming to Idaho Power, Chase worked for a small company that was under new ownership. “They wanted me to come in and make sure everything was on the up and up,” he said. “I reviewed everything based on what I knew, but then my wife and I wanted to move to Boise. Idaho Power had a job open, so I applied for it, and here I am!”
Chase’s favorite thing about his job is working with people. “In my particular role on the Benefits team, I meet with people when they’re at a low point in their life, like when they’re hurt or something happened to somebody they love,” he said. “It feels good to be the person who gets to say ‘Hey, we’re here to help.’”
Chase has been with Idaho Power for just over five years. He says the importance of work-life balance, employee benefits, and his close-knit team are just a few of the perks.
“My team is amazing. We help each other and work really well together. It’s probably the best team I’ve ever been a part of.”
The work-life balance and supportive leadership of Idaho Power has led Chase to become an active member of the community. He represents the company on the Idaho Immunization Assessment Board, and he’s also very active on the board of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC).
“My boss suggested I join a nonprofit board for additional experience, and my work at the Idaho AEYC has been super rewarding,” Chase said. “The State of Idaho doesn’t offer any financial support for preschool or daycare, so part of our mission is to make sure there’s childcare for all children whether or not their parents or guardians can afford it. They also work with the Idaho Stars program to train daycare and preschool providers in child development, education, health and safety.”
Changes in technology, particularly with batteries and energy storage keep Chase excited about the future of Idaho Power. “It’s interesting to see how a regulated utility will adjust to a changing market,” he said. “I’m excited to see where we go!”
Terrestrial Resource Manager Allison Murray’s Maine roots date back to before the Revolutionary War.
“As the first in my family to move West, I was drawn by the vast expanses of wide-open wilderness and the sense of possibility the West still engenders,” Allison said. “My western sojourn and eventual Idaho Power employment embodies my sense of adventure and delight in trying new and challenging things.”
As a non-traditional student, Allison started college as a 20-something single mom, finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. She earned her Master of Science in Resource Management at Antioch New England Graduate School in New Hampshire. Following a brief stint working in state transportation permitting, she joined a small consulting firm doing permitting, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing and compliance projects for a variety of utilities across the country.
“I worked in some amazing places for some great utilities, including in Idaho and Oregon,” Allison said. “I fell in love with the Northwest and knew my family would feel the same. So I suggested opening a satellite office in the West.”
After a few years running the firm’s West Coast office, based in Portland, a close friend (and Idaho Power employee) encouraged Allison to consider leaving consulting to join Idaho Power.
“I was living in Oregon and couldn’t picture myself moving out of the trees and rain to make a home in the desert,” she said. “But the more time I spent in Idaho getting to know Idaho Power, the great folks who work here, and the amazing environmental work Idaho Power does, the more convinced I became about this great opportunity.”
Whether touring Hells Canyon, visiting the Swan Falls Museum, traveling through eastern Idaho, or meeting folks who reminded her of her hardworking, honest and straightforward friends and family from Maine, everything pointed toward making the move.
“I’ve been in Idaho and with Idaho Power for almost seven years now,” Allison said. “I’ve never second-guessed that decision.”
It’s incredibly difficult for Allison to pick just one thing she loves about her job and the company.
“As the Terrestrial Environmental Manager, my team consists of science professionals who are committed to doing their best, not just because they get a paycheck, but more so because they are passionate about their disciplines and the work they do at Idaho Power,” she said.
“Whether developing habitat management plans that benefit a variety of species and ecosystems, protecting cultural and historic resources, or ensuring our transmission and distribution lines are maintained in an environmentally sensitive manner, the folks on my team are consummate, passionate professionals. They’re also just plain fun – I see them as extended family rather than employees and colleagues.”
From a corporate perspective, Allison said she feels incredibly lucky to work for a company fully committed to environmental stewardship and compliance.
“Of all the utilities I worked for as a consultant, Idaho Power is one of very few companies with such a strong environmental ethic,” she said. “It shows in the resources they invest in our department, our people and our community as a whole.”
Allison said her path may have meandered before she got to Idaho Power, but she’s glad it led her here!
“If you’d told me I’d be happily living in the high desert of Idaho working for a utility company, I would have laughed and said you were crazy,” she said. “I now recognize that everything I worked for and held dear was leading me here. My office extends from American Falls to Hells Canyon. I work with some of the best scientists in the state.”
“We’re focused on ways to improve and protect natural and cultural resources, and we’re having fun doing it.”
So why is she planning to stay at Idaho Power? In a word, ownership.
“As a consultant I flew in, did work for a client and flew back out. I never had the opportunity to watch my projects grow, mature and reach fruition. I never had the chance to see the long-term benefits of the work for a company or its stakeholders. Also, while I’ve made many dear friends in the industry, I never was able to stick around long enough to truly understand what it means to be part of the utility community. Idaho Power feels like family,” she said.
Senior Engineer Chellie Jensen is not only whip smart and logical, she’s also creative and community minded — all qualities she gets to bring to work at Idaho Power every day.
Chellie grew up with parents and teachers who recognized her abilities in math and science. Later, she went to Montana Tech, a STEM-focused university, to get a degree in engineering.
After being recruited at a career fair on campus, Chellie started her first engineering job at Idaho National Laboratory, trying her hand at all different types of engineering. Like many female engineers, Chellie found herself the only female in her group, a situation that didn’t change after she moved to Boise and joined an engineering consulting firm.
In 2006, she secured a position as a mechanical engineer in Micron’s facilities department. She loved her work and team there, but knew the stability of working at a utility would benefit her growing family, so she looked to Idaho Power. “I saw an opening in the Energy Efficiency department and applied. Ten years later, I’m in the same job, but no two days are the same! I get to work with all three of my past employers and teammates in my role at Idaho Power,” she said.
Chellie is a tremendous advocate for the Idaho Power culture that attracted her in the first place, especially a culture so inclusive of intelligent, talented women. “Idaho Power looks to women to lead, and we’re welcomed and valued,” she said.
Chellie specializes in helping city governments manage the efficiency of their water conveyance and wastewater treatment plants. She says the best part of her job is working with people, creating community and seeing the opportunities that making energy-efficient changes provides for city governments’ job growth. She set up Idaho Power’s first Water and Wastewater Cohort program to help cities and plant operators make energy-efficient facility and behavioral changes, and to learn from one another.
“I love and believe in what I do. I see results, and I see people’s lives change when the energy-savings light bulb clicks for them. They are winning regional and national awards with their efforts. Supporting that speaks to my personal core values of helping and encouraging. That’s been huge for me.”
Outside of how much she loves the work she gets to do, Chellie loves the time Idaho Power invests in our communities, including by asking employees to volunteer in classrooms across our service area.
“The volunteer opportunities, such as the Partners in Education at Monroe Elementary, the High School Science Bowl, and Rake up Boise, help fill my bucket. Nationally, I am a mentor in a program called Women for Energy Efficiency. It feels good to give back and support other women in this field. I also get to volunteer in my kids’ preschool and elementary school classes to teach them about energy efficiency.”
The culture and the community make it more than just a job to Chellie.
“The reason I came here was the stability, but I stay because this is a family. It’s woven into every thread of the company. When people work at a company for 30 to 40 years, that says something. You don’t see that anywhere else. People are genuinely happy to be here.”
Environmental Manager Fred Noland never thought he would build a career at an energy company, but that’s precisely what he’s done. And he’s not exactly a rare bird — many Idaho Power employees often find themselves spending their entire careers with us.
“I assumed I was going to work for a government agency, like a state park or the BLM. Then in my last few weeks of college, I noticed a job post highlighting Idaho Power’s recreation and stewardship work,” he said. “One of my professors had a clean hydropower poster on his office wall. I asked him what he knew about Idaho Power, and that helped seal the deal, so I applied.”
Shortly after graduating with a degree in Resource Recreation and Tourism from the University of Idaho, Fred started as an Environmental Assistant at Idaho Power. “I was the only person in my program who had a full-time job, with benefits, lined up before we even graduated.”
Fred’s first job was conducting recreation use surveys in Hells Canyon (interviewing people about their recreation, including how and where they do it). Over the next three years, these surveys took Fred across Idaho Power’s service area and evolved into more in-depth mail surveys and data management, including in his next role as Data Manager.
Over the next 10 years, Fred was able to explore different opportunities within Idaho Power before being appointed as the first director of our parks program, a job he earned in part because of his experience working with park facilities, including as a summer job in high school.
“After a couple of years developing and leading the parks staff, Idaho Power gave me the opportunity to get a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Administration,” Fred said. “I was able to work, go to graduate school, and even welcome a son all at the same time, and it was because the company supported my education, but also my work-life balance.”
Today, when Fred is looking for candidates to join his team, he looks beyond the usual skills and requirements associated with the position. He looks for candidates who have a sense of pride in what they do and who love working in this field.
“At Idaho Power, you’re a good fit if you want to do a good job and do the right thing. We need curiosity and motivation to help us work through complex challenges.”
Fred feels there aren’t many other places in Idaho where you can work as part of a team that provides reliable energy to the communities we serve, while also studying impacts to the river. “We’re addressing societal issues on a big scale — it’s a front row seat to solving conflict between people and the environment.”
Want to know more about our environmental work? Visit our Environmental Stewardship page or reserve your place in one of our campgrounds.