The experience Pam Patton has gotten on the board of directors of La Plata Electric Association has led to her appointment to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office announced Wednesday that he had appointed the Bayfield resident to fill the seat left vacant by Matt Baker’s resignation. Patton will officially begin her four-year term June 21, and she will be sworn in June 25.
“Pam has demonstrated the ability to work with wildly different groups of people throughout her career,” Hickenlooper said. “She also hails from one of the most beautiful parts of Colorado, one that is rich in traditional energy exploration. Pam understands firsthand the important balance between promoting innovation and protecting Colorado’s beautiful landscapes.”
Patton applied for the position after former Sen. Jim Dyer, who served as a PUC commissioner from 2001 to 2004, called her and suggested she would be a good candidate.
“John and I had a soul-searching conversation about whether we could make this kind of commitment to the state and finally decided we could,” Patton said, referring to her husband, John Patton. “My only real regrets are leaving the LPEA and FastTrack boards and just not being able to be here with our friends all the time.”
Patton grew up on a sheep ranch in La Plata County and went on to retire from the Navy after 20 years with the rank of commander. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Fort Lewis College and a master’s from the University of Southern California.
She has served on the LPEA board since 2000 and is a past president and current secretary. During her time with LPEA, she has become a credentialed cooperative director and earned a Cooperative Board Leadership Certificate from the Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She also serves on the boards of FastTrack Communications and the LPEA Round Up Foundation.
“I have mixed feelings about Pam’s appointment,” said Greg Munro, CEO of the electric co-op. “I’m really going to miss her on the board because she studies everything, really deals with facts and is not afraid to deal with difficult issues.”
A graduate of Leadership La Plata, Patton also has been active with a number of local organizations, serving on the board of the local Salvation Army Extension Unit since the mid-1990s, shortly after she and her husband retired to Bayfield in 1994. She served as president for five years. She also is active in the League of Women Voters of Southwest Colorado.
In 2001, she was awarded the Barbara Conrad Leadership Award by LLP and was honored with the Morley Ballantine Award for a woman leader in business by the Durango Chamber of Commerce in 2008.
While Patton will receive a salary of more than $100,000, a lot of that will be spent to maintain an additional residence in Denver and travel home to Bayfield for some weekends and holidays, she said. Her husband, John, is going to use the time in the city to attend some classes at the University of Denver and learn a foreign language.