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News Releases : OPPD board approves selection of vice president of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs
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At their monthly public meeting this evening, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors approved the selection of Cliff Fleener as the utility’s vice president of Sustainability & Environmental Affairs. He will begin this new role April 17.

Fleener brings more than 20 years of environmental business experience to OPPD. Most recently, he served as the global director of Environmental Responsibility for Valmont Industries (VMI), supporting all Valmont business segments worldwide. He was responsible for developing and implementing enterprise-wide environmental compliance, risk-management and sustainability strategies, programs and standards.

“OPPD’s mission is to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customer owners. On the environmental front, we are working toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and exploring ways we can work with our employees, our customers and communities to achieve that goal. Legislative and regulatory requirements continue to evolve. And our industry as a whole, is in a period of great transition,” said OPPD President and CEO Javier Fernandez. “Cliff not only has the qualifications, he has the heart to lead our sustainability efforts at this crucial time.”

OPPD announced the creation of the new Sustainability & Environmental Affairs Business Unit in April 2022, at which point, the executive leadership team began a thorough search for the ideal candidate. Previously, these functions fell under OPPD’s Public Affairs business unit, headed by Vice President Lisa Olson. She will continue to lead Public Affairs.

“I want to commend Lisa. She has done a phenomenal job leading a team of talented employees dedicated to environmental stewardship, a critical component of our mission, while also overseeing our Public Affairs team’s important stakeholder outreach and education efforts, among other functions. These areas continue to grow and evolve,” Fernandez said. “By dividing these roles, OPPD’s executive leadership team will be better positioned to meet the ever-increasing responsibilities in both business units, in service of customers.”

Fleener holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ball State University and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

2023 Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth update

The 16th annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth was Saturday, March 4, and it was one for the record books. The event, co-hosted by OPPD and Metropolitan Utilities District to raise money for utility assistance programs, saw 911 registered runners and walkers – the highest ever. More than $140,000 was raised, that is second only to last year’s event, which raised $150,000. OPPD Director Sara Howard and her mother, M.U.D. Board Director Gwen Howard, were this year’s co-chairs.

Funds raised through the event are administered by Dollar Energy Fund, a registered 501(c)(3) that serves low-income utility customers and works with 35 local entities to provide financial assistance for those in need. Funds are equally distributed between M.U.D.’s Home Fund and OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program. Customers can still donate to the cause online [] or by contributing via their monthly utility billing statements.

Other action

In other action, directors:

  • Approved the February 2023 meeting minutes and the March 16, 2023, agenda.
  • Reviewed, discussed and accepted the Strategic Directive 14: Retirement Plan Funding monitoring report, finding the utility to be sufficiently in compliance with the directive.
  • Awarded a labor contract in the amount of $979,828 to TEIC Construction Services for economizer outlet expansion joint replacement at Nebraska City Station Unit 2.
  • Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract for the purchase of a substation control building enclosure, subject to review and approval of the final contract by the district’s general counsel. This is related to a substation under development near Bennington to support load growth and reliability in the area.
  • Awarded a contract in the amount of $3,693,854 to Arcosa-Meyer Utility Structures for galvanized steel transmission and substation structures for construction of a new substation in northern Douglas County.
  • Authorized management to negotiate and enter into a contract or contracts to procure materials and services for the Sarpy County Station Unit 3 generator circuit breaker and isolation disconnect switch project, subject to review and approval of the final contract by the district’s general counsel.
  • Received the monthly President’s Report, available at

Next board meetings

The next all-committees meeting will be held in-person Tuesday, April 18, at 10 a.m. at OPPD Energy Plaza, 9W, 444 S. 16 St., as well as virtually, via Webex. The meeting link will be available at, beginning about 9:45 a.m. The next monthly board meeting is Thursday, April 20, at 5 p.m., both in-person at the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., as well as virtually via Webex. The public can attend virtually by accessing the meeting link and instructions at, beginning at 4:45 p.m.