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The location may be different but the gig’s essentially the same for Christine Chavez, the new Department of Public Utilities’ energy and water conservation coordinator.
Chavez held similar positions at the Las Cruces’ utilities department for 20 years and the State Office of Engineers for 16 years.
“Christine had gone through the same challenges and obstacles in Las Cruces that we at the Department of Public Utilities have been going through and we knew she could take us to where we need to go,” said Julie Williams-Hill, DPU public relations manager.
Chavez started working at the DPU last Monday. She said that she had been looking for an opportunity to move back home, having grown up in Santa Fe.
Chavez replaces Matt Dickens, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.
In her capacity as the DPU’s conservation coordinator, Chavez will work with the business community as well as the public at large concerning water and energy conservation issues.
Also, the DPU is required to maintain a conservation plan, which the department adopted last month. It’s important to include customers’ energy and water conservation goals and needs in the plan, Williams-Hill said.
Chavez is tasked with helping to review the plan, ensuring that it’s being met and presenting any amendments to the utilities board.
Chavez said that she has a lot of resources to work with between the staff, community groups and general pubic.
Moving to a smaller community like Los Alamos is something Chavez said she is excited about because it allows her to work more closely with the public.
“I’m mostly excited to learn as much as I can learn (and) to work hard … I feel challenged,” Chavez said of her goals. “It’s a great opportunity for me.”
She said that she prefers leading by example and recalled that while working in Las Cruces, the municipality passed a resolution to drop all bottled water accounts in the city government.
Chavez received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from New Mexico State University.
She said she developed her interest in this career while working in the State Office of Engineers.
“It’s really actually amazing to work in a job where you can develop your interest,” Chavez said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do that.”
Chavez moved to the local area with her 6-year-old daughter Belicia and said that a new location has been a great opportunity for both of them.