Grant County PUD leader to step aside amid cancer treatment

Grant County PUD
Kevin Nordt, Grant County PUD General Manager

EPHRATA — Grant County PUD General Manager and CEO Kevin Nordt will take a junior role at the public utility as he deals with the effects of treatment for prostate cancer, with the PUD’s chief operations officer taking on interim leadership.

The PUD says Nordt, 56, will step down effective Monday in favor of COO Rich Wallen, who will become acting general manager through the remainder of the year until commissioners decide on a longer-term appointment.

Nordt was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2020 and has undergone a continuing round of treatment since then. IN a statement issued by the PUD, he said, “… my health no longer allows me to function in the role of general manager/CEO at the level our employees and the people of Grant County deserve.”

“I have responded well to my treatments but I also have seen my capabilities diminish significantly,” Nordt said. “This is no surprise; just part of the deal.”

Nordt will take on the new executive role of “chief resource officer,” working with a team of employees to assure Grant PUD a long-term power supply.

He began his career at Grant PUD in 2006 after years as a nuclear engineer, energy trader, analyst and power supply strategy manager for Portland General Electric and later as coordinator of Mid-Columbia River dam operations. He began at Grant PUD as director of power management and then as chief financial officer. Commissioners selected him as general manager in June 2016.

PUD Commission President Larry Schaapman praised Nordt as “an excellent leader.”

“We look forward to him being influential in an advisory role and view Rich Wallen as an outstanding choice for interim general manager. The core values of the utility will not be disrupted.”

Commissioners are expected to address the management changes at their Dec. 14 virtual meeting.