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Regional Voices: Heather Rosentrater – Avista

Heather Rosentrater is vice president of energy delivery at Avista, responsible for the Spokane-based corporation’s electric and natural gas operations and engineering. “It’s a fascinating time to be involved in the energy industry,” Heather says. “New technologies are changing the energy landscape, so it’s exciting and inspiring to be at a company that embraces this change.” For instance, Urbanova – Spokane’s “Smart Cities” collaboration with Avista and five other partners – focuses on healthier citizens, safer neighborhoods, smarter infrastructure, a more sustainable environment, and a stronger economy.

A Spokane native: My great-great-grandfather homesteaded land in North Spokane. I initially thought I would need to leave Spokane to find innovative opportunities in the area of electrical engineering. However, Gonzaga University provided a well-rounded, high-quality education, and Avista is an innovation leader in the energy industry.

How Heather’s career has evolved since joining Avista: After helping support advances in fuel cell technology, I moved to the utility part of the company and focused on system design, modeling, and planning in the downtown Spokane area. Later, I was involved in deploying sensors, switches and software that allowed us to automate parts of our distribution system that resulted in fewer and shorter outages for our customers, and energy efficiency on our system. My current responsibilities include helping to identify opportunities to leverage emerging technologies, such as providing customers with choices regarding solar energy.

Opportunities for young people: I love that Spokane continues to grow, supporting the arts and diverse cultures and providing job opportunities for those just entering the workforce.  It’s great to see unique businesses and restaurants opening up and flourishing, all while Spokane residents continue to enjoy relatively low living costs and easy commutes.

Spokane’s advantages: Besides friendly people and Spokane’s collaborative approach to challenges, I believe there’s no better place the live in the summer. With the river and so many outdoor activities nearby and easily accessible, we can enjoy anything from kayaking to wine tasting.

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