Industry veteran named new CDEC general manager

Writer: Cibola Beacon

GRANTS – Robert E. Castillo, P.E., of Santa Fe, has taken over as the new general manager of Continental Divide Electric Co-op.

Castillo comes to the co-op from Public Service Co. of New Mexico, where he was director of gas and electric operations and governmental affairs for the state’s largest investor-owned utility. Castillo officially began duty at CDEC on March 1. He replaces outgoing general manager Richard A. Shirley, who retires April 30.

“Robert will be a great asset to the cooperative, board and staff. He will serve the membership well,” Shirley said of his successor.

Castillo was among six finalists for the position by the co-op’s governing board of trustees. Shirley has   led CDEC since 2000 when he replaced retired manager Fred A. Lackey.

“We felt that with his experience and everything, he was the best candidate. Hopefully he’ll be happy here and we’ll have a manager for several years to come,” said Lynn Head, CDEC’s board president.

Castillo holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Mexico and a bachelor’s in civil/environmental engineering from New Mexico State University. He has been in the engineering and utility field since 1979. Prior to his appointment over governmental affairs at PNM, he was regional director for the utility’s gas and electric operations in northern New Mexico. Castillo also served as administrative services director for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department in Santa Fe and served as chairman of Gov. Bill Richardson’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority task force.

In addition to executive positions at Texas-New Mexico Power Co., Castillo brings experience from the public and electric cooperative sectors. In the 1990s, Castillo was executive vice president of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the lobbying arm of the state’s 17 electric co-ops. Prior to that, he served as executive director for the New Mexico Public Utility Commission, the predecessor of today’s Public Regulation Commission that regulates the state’s utilities, telecommunications, motor carriers and insurance industries.

Castillo has served on more than a dozen statewide associations, councils, foundations and authorities and most recently has volunteered on the Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Francis Cathedral Basilica and the St. Michael’s High School Booster Club.

Continental Divide Electric Cooperative is a non-profit, consumer-owned electric distribution co-op providing service to about 23,000 meters throughout Cibola and parts of McKinley, Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia counties. CDEC does not own or control any electric generation resources and is an all-requirements purchaser of electric energy from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Colorado. The Co-op owns about 3,850 miles of primary distribution lines and has invested $52.7 million over the years to serve its members.

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