New VELCO leadership: Board member, corporate secretary, and chief operating officer
April 14, 2022 (Rutland, VT) – Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) Board Chair Larry Reilly and President and CEO Tom Dunn announce the elections of Ms. Maura Collins as Board member, Ms. Jaime Smyrski as Corporate Secretary, and Mr. Colin Owyang as Chief Operating Officer. These elections were unanimously approved by the company’s Board of Directors on April 14, 2022.
Maura Collins serves as Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) and joins the VELCO Board of Directors as a representative of the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity (VLITE). VLITE’s mission is to advance Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan by funding initiatives with particular emphasis on the energy needs of low-income Vermonters and by the appointment of three VELCO Board Members.
Board Chair Larry Reilly, hailed the VELCO Board’s newest member, “Maura’s intellect, passion and expertise would be welcome on any board but I am particularly appreciative of her election given her experience and informed point of view. I look forward to her contributions.”
Reacting to her election, Ms. Collins said, “What is especially compelling for me about serving as one of VLITE’s independent directors on the VELCO Board is VLITE’s focus on lower-income Vermonters and my interest in amplifying that voice as best I can. Energy policy is a key factor in housing affordability and has a disproportionately significant impact on those traditionally underserved by financial markets. I look forward to listening, learning and offering my views to help shape VELCO’s continued success during a time of energy industry transformation.” Ms. Collins began working at VHFA in 2002 and through progressively increased responsibilities she worked in or oversaw most of the departments of the Agency before becoming Executive Director in January 2019. VHFA is a statewide housing lender dedicated to low- and moderate- income Vermonters. Ms. Collins has her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Vermont and has served on UVM’s faculty, teaching graduate-level housing policy courses, and received a BA in English from SUNY Buffalo. In her role at VHFA, Collins sits on the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the Vermont Council on Homelessness, the Vermont Housing Council, the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) Board and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (FHLB) Advisory Council.
Jaime Smyrski has been an integral member of the VELCO for more than fourteen years. “In addition to managing VELCO’s legal operations, I am thrilled to advance to the corporate secretary role as we seek to leverage the expertise of our talented Board of Directors in support of VELCO’s vision to create a sustainable Vermont.”
Noting Ms. Smyrski’s steady rise through VELCO’s ranks, President and CEO Tom Dunn praised her work ethic and animating curiosity: “Jaime is a dynamo. Her work ethic is exceeded only by her innate curiosity and desire to learn. She is someone the Board and my executive team has come to rely on. Her promotion is well earned.”
Ms. Smyrski began her career at VELCO in January 2008. She is a member of the Society of Corporate Governance and the Eastern New England Chapter for Corporate Governance.
Colin Owyang recently rejoined VELCO as Senior Vice President and assumes the Chief Operating Officer role from recently retired Chris Root. Of his new position at VELCO, Mr. Owyang said, “VELCO’s role in Vermont is unique as is its ability to advance the state’s energy vision. Serving a new, expanded role at the company even as I renew valued coworker relationships is an incredible opportunity and one I deeply appreciate.”
President and CEO Tom Dunn noted the timeliness of Mr. Owyang’s ascension, “In this period of fundamental grid transformation against the backdrop of war, pandemic, increasing cyberattacks and supply chain challenges, I can think of no other leader I would want overseeing transmission grid services in Vermont. I am confident Colin’s contributions and leadership will help ensure VELCO’s continued status as one of the nation’s most reliable and innovative transmission companies.”
Prior to returning to VELCO in February 2022, Colin served as: General Counsel and Head of Strategy at Franklin Energy; Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel at VELCO; Deputy Attorney General in Massachusetts; Senior Vice President and General Counsel at National Grid USA; Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston, MA; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Trial Attorney in Washington, DC; and as a law clerk to three federal judges. Colin is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Yale College and Yale University. Colin also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Champlain College.