COLUMBUS: American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) inducted three individuals to the AMP Wall of Fame this week. Jon Bisher, former city manager of Napoleon, Ohio, and chair of the AMP Board of Trustees; Tom Luebbers, AMP bond counsel; and Frank Robinson, AMP federal tax and project development counsel were honored with a ceremony April 20. The Wall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor those individuals who, through their dedication, have made significant contributions to AMP and public power.
Dr. Jon Bisher was city manager of Napoleon, Ohio, from 1998 to 2014, previously serving as executive director of the Henry County Community Investment Corp. following a 20-year career as an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Jon represented the City of Napoleon on the AMP Board of Trustees during his time as city manager. In June 2009, he was elected chair of the Board, a position he held until October 2014. He led the Board during a time of significant growth in terms of members, services, strategic operational changes and project development. During his time as chair, AMP purchased and commissioned the Fremont Energy Center, incorporated the Prairie State Energy Campus as a member generation resource, began construction of four hydroelectric projects on the Ohio River, constructed and commissioned the Napoleon Solar Facility and oversaw the successful closure and decommissioning of the Richard H. Gorsuch Generating Station. Jon also provided guidance during the renaming and rebranding efforts the organization undertook in 2009.
“Jon listened to the other Board members, he was open and provided great leadership,” said John Bentine, AMP senior vice president and general counsel. “He did a wonderful job in leading this organization through a great deal of evolution. Jon was a great chair, a great human being and his efforts and service to AMP are going to be remembered for a long time.”
Tom Luebbers served as AMP’s bond counsel for more than 25 years. He was instrumental in forming the OMEGA Joint Venture program in 1993 that first allowed the use of tax-exempt financing for project development, in particular the Belleville Hydroelectric Plant. This program also facilitated the development of the AMP Wind Farm and a network of distributed generation benefitting numerous AMP member utilities. Tom also helped secure Private Letter Rulings from the IRS that allowed AMP to issue tax-exempt debt on behalf of its members. Through 2015, these financings have funded countless individual system improvement projects in AMP member communities, as well as $6 billion in project development financing for the Richard H. Gorsuch Generating Station, numerous joint venture projects, including the JV5 Belleville Hydroelectric Project and the JV2 Distributed Generation Project, AMP’s interest in the Prairie State Energy Campus, AMP Fremont Energy Center and the Cannelton, Meldahl, Smithland and Willow Island hydroelectric projects on the Ohio River (the largest such deployment in the nation at the time of construction), among others.
“Tom is the father of the joint venture concept at AMP,” said Bob Trippe, senior vice president of finance and CFO. “The JV process opened the door for tax-exempt financing for AMP and our members, and there’s been significant financial savings for our members ever since.”
Frank Robinson spent nearly 40 years practicing public finance law for the firm of Sidley Austin. His association with AMP began in 1988 when he, as counsel for the investors, helped structure the financing for AMP’s purchase of the Richard H. Gorsuch Generating Station, the organization’s first owned generation asset. For nearly 30 years working with and on behalf of the organization, Frank was actively involved as AMP’s federal tax and project development counsel. During that time, approximately $6 billion was funded for generation project development, including Gorsuch Station, numerous joint venture projects, including the JV5 Belleville Hydroelectric Project and the JV2 Distributed Generation Projects, AMP’s interest in the Prairie State Energy Campus, AMP Fremont Energy Center and the Cannelton, Meldahl, Smithland and Willow Island hydroelectric projects on the Ohio River (the largest such deployment in the nation at the time of construction), among others.
“Frank has been a key to the strategic growth of the organization,” said AMP President/CEO Marc Gerken. “Our members have benefitted from his talents matched with his continued desire to better understand AMP and our goals. With that knowledge he provided guidance and kept us protected.”
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