Dennis Vermillion is the CEO of Avista. Former NARUC President Paul Kjellander is Senior Advisor at Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Avista has been a leader in the smart cities movement, as you know if you've been following developments in Spokane with Urbanova. Avista is one of the members of Urbanova, which has the mission to create a vibrant environment and living laboratory for scalable, replicable smart city projects in Spokane's University District.
Avista extended that University District's innovation sector due to a new pedestrian bridge from there to an area in need of revitalization, where the utility happened to own land. The win-win situation started with two buildings built by the group that are the foundation for the five smartest blocks in the world.
The word, group, in this case is important because this is all about collaboration. Here to explain is Avista CEO Dennis Vermillion, in a talk with PUF's Paul Kjellander.
PUF's Paul Kjellander: You've got a development not far from your corporate headquarters near downtown Spokane that you call the five smartest blocks in the world. What is it?
Dennis Vermillion: Creating what we call the five smartest blocks in the world was the vision of our Chair, Scott Morris. Before he retired as CEO, we learned that a new pedestrian bridge was going to be built just east of downtown Spokane in an area known as the University District.