Letters From the West

Memorial services for Johnson set Tuesday at BSU

Peter T. Johnson, former Bonneville Power Administration Administrator in the 1980s.

Peter T. Johnson, former Bonneville Power Administration Administrator in the 1980s.

Services for Peter T. Johnson, whose courageous leadership at the Bonneville Power Administration in the 1980s kept the regional power agency from financial ruin, will be Tuesday.

A memorial service for Johnson will be held at the Stueckle Sky Center at Bronco Stadium on the Boise State University campus at 10 a.m.

Since my story about Johnson ran Tuesday I have heard from many of his friends and admirers about his accomplishments and character. Steve Wright, who just stepped down as BPA chief and was hired by Johnson when he was a shaggy-haired hippie right out of the University of Oregon to run its new energy efficiency program in 1981, pointed me to a Washington Post story on leadership where he talked about Johnson.

He included Johnson among his three role models, Franklin Roosevelt, former Oregon Republican Sen. Mark Hatfield and Johnson.

“One key lesson I took from him is that a sound analysis will lead to a sound decision that will withstand public scrutiny even if controversial,” Wright told the Post.

Marc Johnson, the former Cecil Andrus chief of staff who just became “of counsel” for the Gallatin Group, in his blog “Many Things Considered,” pointed to a Harvard Business Review article Johnson wrote about turning critics into consultants. Johnson showed how he learned the difference between business and government leadership is that the public has a profound impact on your decisions and that a smart leader develops a process, like he did at BPA, to incorporate them in the decision-making process.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West