Chugach Electric Board Names Hal Halpern as New Chief Executive Officer
Halpern Brings Over 15 Years of C-Suite Experience to the Role
Chugach Electric Association, a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative and Alaska's largest electric utility, announced today that Hal Halpern has been named as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 11, 2022. With over 15 years of C-suite experience, Halpern joins Chugach from Cooperative Light & Power in Minnesota, where he served over three years as CEO. In his new role, Halpern will oversee the development of Chugach’s utility strategies and business growth.
In his three years as CEO at Cooperative Light & Power, reliability increased at the utility by 52% and the cooperative was ranked #2 in reliability among its peers in Minnesota. Under Halpern’s leadership, the utility received the Leroy Vanderpool Excellence in Safety Award and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s Lifeguard Award, which recognizes companies who have safety as a core value. Additionally, the utility has worked on a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 95% in 2024 and is developing new battery technology capable of hundreds of hours of energy storage.
“Hal’s expert knowledge of complex technologies and his innovative spirit is sure to greatly benefit Chugach, our members, and the community at large,” said Rachel Morse, Chugach Board Chair. “His experience meeting the unique needs of a cooperative to provide reliable, affordable, safe and sustainable power to communities makes him the ideal leader to serve our more than 90,000 members in Alaska.”
Halpern’s experience includes working as an application engineer at Photodyne, where he went on to contribute to the development of the world’s first fiber optic power meter and the world’s first high resolution OTDR (optical radar). Hal and his team grew this company into the global leader of fiber optics which ultimately became a prized acquisition of 3M.
As Vice President for Laser Precision, his team developed a ‘new product process’ which generated many new innovative products for the utilities industry which led this company to become the market leader. As CEO of Lightguide Communications, a Power, Fiber-Optic and Broadband Infrastructure Company, Hal’s team was responsible for over one million Electric, Fiber-Optic and Broadband new builds and upgrades.
A long-time corporate leader, Halpern has also been the Chief Executive Officer of Fiber-Span. During his time at Fiber-Span, Halpern and his team pioneered the use of wireless (RF) over fiber optic technology, a move that has since saved countless lives around the world.
Halpern joins Chugach following the retirement announcement of CEO Lee Thibert, who served six-years in the role. Thibert is credited with leading the acquisition of Municipal Light & Power, as well as the purchase of ownership interest in both the Beluga River gas field and Cook Inlet’s first commercial gas storage facility.
The Chugach Board partnered with executive search firm JK Executive Strategies to identify Halpern as Thibert’ s replacement. Halpern will relocate from Two Harbors, MN. to Anchorage for his new role.