SLV REC welcomes new CEO Eric Eriksen
MONTE VISTA— “Listen and learn…” that is the priority for San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative’s new Chief Executive Officer Eric Eriksen. Beginning work on March 1, Eriksen spent much of his time the first few days listening to employees and learning their duties, ideas, and visions for the future.
“I’m here to listen and learn; my first priority is the employees, then the members and communities we serve. I won’t have all the answers, but I will listen. We will navigate any barriers or challenges and find solutions together,” Eriksen said. “This is a long-term commitment for me; I’m optimistic and looking forward to the future.”
Eriksen brings over 25 years of industry experience in electric, gas and telecommunications with degrees in Electrical Engineering and a master’s in Business Administration.
He most recently served three years as Northwest Lineman College’s National Vice President of Engineering Operations and President of the Texas and Idaho Campuses.
His prior experience includes 14 years as Vice President of Transmission and Distribution for Alaska Electric Light and Power and President of Kwaan Electric Transmission Intertie Cooperative.
Notable projects include connecting the first cruise ship to shore power, developing an 80MW hydroelectric powerplant, interconnecting one of the world’s largest silver mines through a 138KV submarine cable, receiving a $2 million grant to electrify Eaglecrest Ski Resort, developing a world class industrial avalanche and mitigation program, and advancing 69KV Avian protection.
SLV REC is a perfect fit for Eriksen as he loves outdoor recreation and the mountains and enjoys engaging with people.
“Connecting with people is so much better in rural communities. They’re more neighborly and supportive of each other. I love the family-oriented atmosphere in the Valley. Coming from Alaska where there are not a lot of people, you learn to pitch in, work together and get things done. It’s more enjoyable and you can appreciate and empathize with others when you’re working in their shoes too,” he said.
The cooperative world may be new to Eriksen, but he is service-oriented and always has been. In the few weeks he has called the San Luis Valley home, he has signed up to be a part of Trout Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a local flying club.
Looking forward, Eriksen sees the outstanding things being done at SLV REC; he is not looking to make changes just for the sake of making changes.
“There will be constant evaluation and moving forward to provide the most reliable and responsible power we can,” he said. “I see SLV REC as an organization that is already moving the area forward with engagement and innovation. We’re going to continue to hold a high standard and bring others up. We want to be better tomorrow than we are today, and we’re going to do that through strategic planning, partnership, and ownership. The result will benefit members and employees; we’ll continue to change lives and make living in the San Luis Valley better.”
He is passionate about sharing his many years of industry experience to help serve employees, students, and the community. One of his favorite past-times is being a private pilot. Eriksen also enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing.
He has a 19-year-old son that just graduated from Northwest Lineman College and recently did a ride-along with REC crews. Eriksen’s 17-year-old daughter lives in Alaska and enjoys ballet. His significant other, Lena, is in a commercial pilot program with Alaska Airlines. She will have her private pilot’s license in a few weeks, then will spend another year taking classes, followed by gaining experience and flight hours before she makes the San Luis Valley home.
Eriksen is committed to making SLV REC the best he can. He is looking forward to being here for the long-term.
“I never really felt settled in my previous position in Idaho; there were always moving parts,” he said. “I’ve only been in the Valley a few weeks, but I can feel home here.”