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Avista Picks Up Talent From Enron, Illinois Power

Avista Picks Up Talent From Enron, Illinois Power

Avista Energy, emphasizing people power in its drive to become a national energy marketing and technology company, has just named six new vice presidents, picking up talent from Illinois Power/Illinova Energy and Enron Capital and Trade among others.

At a Washington press briefing Avista Energy Chairman Neil E. Kelley, formerly chairman of Vitol Gas & Electric, announced the new hires, saying the company was attracting talent by offering a chance to create value and participate in the company's success with incentives and options.

Chairman Thomas M. Matthews of parent Avista Corp. outlined initiatives underway to more than double the company's value, dropping the utility identification and becoming known as a trading and technology company. He pointed to growth in Avista's Internet billing and reporting system, its fiber optics and telecommunications services, and fuel cells and distributed resources, as well as regional and national energy marketing and trading. Matthews said Wall Street was not recognizing the value of Avista's new lines of business in the company's stock price and he was considering spinning off some of the new technology units in IPOs to get that value on the books.

Meanwhile, Avista Energy, headed by Kelley and Michael R. Kutsch, who formerly headed up Vitol Gas & Electric, which Avista bought earlier this year, is gathering talent. David Dickson, working out of the Spokane, WA, office, will manage natural gas trading and marketing-western region. Prior to Avista, Dickson served as the managing director for energy trading at Illinois Power. In Houston, Brent Friedman will become vice president, risk management. He was managing director for commodity risk for both Illinois Power and marketing affiliate Illinova Energy. From Enron Capital and Trade, Avista picked up Darren Lobell to run the Midwest electric desk as vice president, trading-Midwest. Lobell had been director of trading for ECT's Midwest regions. Another recruit from Enron, Sean P. O'Neal, will be Avista's vice president, trading-Southeast, moving over from managing ECT's trading at the Entergy and TVA hubs. In addition, Mark T. Stugart has been named vice president, trading, to oversee coal, SO2 and oil activities. Stugart had co-founded and managed Soundview Energy, a petroleum marketing company in Boston. He also had many years experience with the Vitol group of companies. And Eric J. Melvin, who had established the structured marketing program at Hess Energy Trading in New York, will be in charge of the same area for Avista as vice president.

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