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MID picks new leader

Dan Pope, 52, has been named the new general manager of the Merced Irrigation District.

Pope takes over July 1 from Garith Krause, who is retiring.

Pope, who will earn $149,000 a year, has been the irrigation district's hydroelectric project manager at New Exchequer Dam for three years and worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for 26 years.

"The district has a long-standing history for being a good steward of the resources it manages and the excellent customer service it provides its growers and electric customers," Pope said. "The district faces a number of challenges on its horizon with the largest being to obtain a new FERC license to continue operating its hydroelectric project on the Merced River."

Krause has been general manager for four years. He will remain in the Merced area but intends to work with his family's farming interests in eastern Washington.

Before joining the district, Pope was with PG&E for 26 years. He served as the chief civil engineer for the utility's Helms Project and hydroelectric superintendent for its Kings River/Crane Valley system and OM&C Southern Division.

Recently, he was the electric and gas transmission and distribution superintendent in Yosemite before becoming a senior account manager in the Merced area.

Board president Tim Pellissier said the board conducted a national search and interviewed more than a dozen qualified candidates. Pope's experience and tenure with the district will help him as the district moves ahead with federal relicensing of its hydroelectric facilities, he said.

"Dan stood out to the board and we look forward to working with him, not only because of his extensive hydroelectric experience, but because he understands the district and our community as well," said Pellissier.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing is among the most important issues facing the district in the next six years. This district owns and operates both Lake McSwain and Lake McClure as part of the hydroelectric project on the Merced River.

MID General Counsel Ken Robbins said Pope is a perfect fit because he is thoroughly familiar with the district's water and hydroelectric operations and has extensive experience in both retail electric and hydroelectric projects, which is invaluable to the district.

Krause said he is leaving the district in good hands.

"I want to thank all of the staff members at the district who have supported and worked hard these past four years. I know they will give Dan the same loyal support they gave me."

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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