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Roger Koopman, Commissioner

Roger KoopmanBorn in 1949, Roger has lived in Bozeman, Montana, since 1977. Married to Ann for 44 years, the Koopmans have four children and eight grandchildren.

Roger graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (BGS), geology emphasis. He subsequently served for four years in Washington, DC, in the congressional offices of Steve Symms (R-Idaho) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) as press secretary and chief of staff. Following Paul’s election defeat, Roger became a staff writer for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and subsequently moved to Montana to serve as National Rifle Association field representative in a four-state area.

In 1980, Roger started Career Concepts, a full service private employment agency, specializing in career development, business consulting, permanent job placement and temporary staffing. The company has assisted over 500 local businesses and provided more than 10,000 job-seekers with gainful employment. After operating the agency for 37 years, he sold it in 2016.

In 2009, Roger became an associate of Compass Advisors, a local mergers and acquisitions firm that assists business owners with valuations, exit planning and business sales, and functions as a seller or buyer side intermediary in individual, corporate and private equity firm acquisitions. He continued with the firm for four years.

Roger has also been an active freelance writer and radio talk show host. He has published in numerous national magazines, was a columnist for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for five years and for the Business to Business journal for six years. Roger has founded several citizens organizations and has served in leadership roles for many others, including: director and VP, Montana Shooting Sports Assn., chairman, NFIB Guardian Council, NFIB federal liaison, policy analyst, Montanans for Better Government, and president, Private Employment Association of Montana.

Roger was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2004 from House District 70, and re-elected in 2006. He served on the House Judiciary Committee, House Education Committee (vice chair) and House Fish and Game Committee. Roger was known for his innovative, free market-oriented legislation and his passionate defense of taxpayer rights, individual freedom, economic prosperity, and transparent, constitutional government.

He was appointed by the governor to serve on the Montana Economic Development Advisory Council, was recognized by Eagle Forum as the Outstanding Legislator of the year and by the National Federation of Independent Business as Montana’s Small Business Champion of the Year.

Roger is an avid outdoorsman, with bass and trout fishing, big game hunting, handloading, hiking, camping, photography and rock hounding among his favorite pursuits. He has also enjoyed playing a number of roles in community theater, is (he says) a credible singer, and makes largely unsubstantiated claims to being a “great cook.” His “Koopman’s Constitutional Chili” did win a blue ribbon once. He is happy to give the recipe to anyone who dares try it.

Roger was first elected to the Public Service Commission in 2012, representing the 14 counties that compose PSC District 3 in Southwestern Montana. As the first republican ever elected in that district, he won re-election in 2016.

Click here for selected documents authored by Commissioner Koopman

Roger’s statement on serving as a Montana Public Service Commissioner:

"Serving as a PSC commissioner is a great honor and an awesome responsibility. This is an especially exciting time to be joining the commission, partly because of the critical issues we have before us, and partly because the make-up of the new commission is so strongly represented by small business people and entrepreneurs who by nature, are used to being visionary and pro-active. What the people of Montana will likely see is a Public Service Commission that truly gets down to business, is less political and more professional. A commission that is not afraid to ask tough questions, navigate new directions and test fresh ideas. A commission that will be highly aggressive in defending the best interests of Montana ratepayers, which in turn will strengthen our economy and improve our state's future for everyone. That's the essential mission we have before us on the PSC, and we have a wonderful blend of skills and experience among the commissioners and the PSC staff, that I believe are very much up to the task!"

Travis Kavulla, , VICE CHAIRMAN

Travis KavullaTravis Kavulla represents the Montana Public Service Commission’s geographically largest district. In November 2010, he was elected by a 28-point margin, the largest of anyone facing an election contested by both major parties since the modern commission’s inception in 1974. He was re-elected in 2014 in an uncontested race to a term concluding in 2018.

In addition to his role on the Commission, Mr. Kavulla is co-chairman of the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation (CREPC), which leads West-wide discussions on energy policy, wholesale electric markets, and the reliability of the grid. He also serves as the co-chairman for the Northern Tier Transmission Group (NTTG) Steering Committee, which conducts regional transmission planning and cost allocation and whose footprint covers much of the intermountain region and the Pacific Northwest.

Mr. Kavulla was President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in 2015-2016, and continues to serve on the association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He also represent states on the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the FCC Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations.

As a commissioner, Mr. Kavulla has made decisions on hundreds of matters and worked on several major initiatives, including the review of utility rates for several electric, natural gas, and water utilities; the calculation of power purchase rates and the design of a wind integration rate for renewable projects for Montana’s largest utility; the governance model and by-laws for the California ISO’s regional real-time energy market, the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM); the elimination of entry barriers for passenger motor carriers in Montana; the introduction of performance incentives to a utility’s procurement and energy-supply function; and major legislation relating to energy and transportation policy reforms in the State of Montana.

He has also testified before FERC on the reform of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and before Congressional committees on the clean air regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

prior to his election to the Public Service Commission, Mr. Kavulla worked as a journalist, writing on political economy, culture, and development. His by-line has appeared in publications as diverse as the Wall Street Journal, Catholic World Report, the Dallas Morning News, and the Journal of Eastern African Studies, among many others. Mr. Kavulla has also served as associate editor for National Review, the biweekly magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr., and has worked as a professional editor of media ranging from blogs to books. Mr. Kavulla has received a number of honors, including being awarded a year-long, full-time writing fellowship in 2008 from the Phillips Foundation.

Mr. Kavulla received his bachelor’s in History at Harvard University, and holds a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, England, where he was a Gates Scholar. Mr. Kavulla is a fourth-generation Montanan.

Tony O'Donnell, Commissioner

Tony O'Donnell Tony O’Donnell was elected to District 2 of the Montana public service Commission in November 2016. His district encompasses most of South West Montana, including: Yellowstone, Carbon, Big Horn, Treasure, Rosebud, Powder River, Custer, Prairie, Fallon, and Carter counties.

As a homeowner in Billings for 22 years, Tony has an extended track record of civic involvement. He has held leadership positions in a number of organizations, including: United Way, Yellowstone County PTA, Christian Sportsman Club, Boy Scouts of America, local homeowners association, and Lions Club.

Tony has a genuine passion for work and has held 2-3 concurrent jobs throughout most of his life. Early in his career he spent several years in the financial and insurance professions. Prior to serving on the Montana Public Service Commission he worked at Lowe’s Home Improvement for 16 years, while simultaneously running a retail merchandising company.

Tony attended St. Mary’s College of California where he studied philosophy and theology. He prides himself on being a life-long learner and he enjoys engaging in political and philosophical debates with friends.

As a strong supporter of Economic Freedom, Tony is keenly interested in how regulators can apply Free Market principles to the mutual benefit of ratepayers, as well as regulated utilities.

Tony’s Statement on serving as a Montana Public Commissioner:

"As a home owner, voter, and ratepayer in Billings for the last 22 years, I take my duty as public servant extremely seriously. Though often shrouded in a cloak of acronyms and technical definitions, the decisions that are made at the Public Service Commission directly impact the safety, as well as the finances of nearly every Montanan. High energy bills don’t just harm ratepayers by taking money out their pocket, they raise the price of everything that you buy from canned food to baby diapers. As a commissioner I’m committed to making sure that the supply of energy in Montana remains affordable and reliable for all ratepayers."

Bob Lake, COMMISSIONER

Bob LakeMontana voters elected Bob Lake in 2012 to the District 4 seat on the Montana Public Service Commission. Lake’s district includes Lincoln, Sanders, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Granite and Ravalli counties.

A 43-year resident of Hamilton, Lake and his family have deep roots in District 4, where he worked in the animal feed business including 22 years as owner of Lake Milling Inc./Lakeland Feeds in Hamilton. A 43-year resident of Hamilton, Lake served as President of the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, President of the Montana Chamber Foundation and with several other clubs and organizations, including the Montana Lottery Board.

After selling Lakeland Feeds in 2000, Lake pursued his interests in politics. In 2002, voters elected the Republican to the Montana House of Representatives. Lake served on the Education Committee, Rules Committee and from 2007 to 2010 as Chairman of the House Taxation Committee. He also chaired the Ethics Committee. While serving in the House, Lake’s colleagues appointed him to the Select Committee on Education Funding.

In 2010, voters elected Lake to the Senate, where he was appointed vice chairman of the Taxation Committee and as a member of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee and Education Committee.

Born in Ronan in March 1938, Lake’s parents left the dust bowl of Eastern Idaho to pursue a new beginning in the beautiful Mission Valley of Western Montana. Lake’s father farmed and worked in custom harvesting while his mother raised five children and managed the household, which included a large garden, chickens and an orchard.

Lake graduated from Ronan High School before serving in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958. He married his high school sweetheart, Faithe, 54 years ago. The couple has two children; daughter Coleen works as the state director at the Better Business Bureau and lives in Helena while son Ward works as a 3rd grade teacher at the rural Lone Rock Elementary School northeast of Stevensville. Lake has two granddaughters.

Brad Johnson, Chairman

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson was elected to the Public Service Commission in November 2014. Brad believes that safe, reliable, and cost-effective utility services are essential for economic development in Montana. His goal is to ensure utility customers receive the lowest rates possible consistent with high-quality service.

Brad also served as Montana Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. As secretary of state, he was committed to maintaining the reliability and security of the voting process. He successfully fought for passage of legislation that prohibited electronic voting machines and requires that paper ballots be used in all Montana elections. Under his leadership, Montana also became one of the first states in the country to fully comply with the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which required states to modernize their election systems.

Prior to serving as secretary of state, Brad was an independent businessman in Bozeman, where he owned an auto parts store. Brad also worked for RightNow Technologies, a successful software company. And in the early Eighties, he served as the district representative for Congressman Ron Marlenee.

Agriculture is still Montana’s number one industry, and Brad’s roots in that community run deep. He served as an ag extension agent, worked with the American Quarter Horse Association and the American Simmental Association, and earned a master’s degree in agriculture.

Brad was born in 1951 in Lake Forest, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1976, and moved to Montana in 1980. He currently resides in East Helena with his wife, Linda.