Edwin R. Stafford, Ph.D.
Professor of Marketing and Associate Department Head, Management Department
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, Logan
Utah’s wind power industry literally started with Christine Watson Mikell in 2001 when she joined the Utah Energy Office as an energy engineer shortly after finishing her MBA. Christine was responsible for wind power and renewable energy (nascent technologies at the time), including overseeing the state’s anemometer loaner program for Utah landowners and businesses interested in assessing the commercial viability of wind resources on their properties.This often required her to be out in the field in Utah’s rural communities erecting met towers and talking with local leaders about wind energy.
As marketing professors at Utah State University, my colleague Cathy Hartman (now retired) and I met Christine in 2003 when we together co-founded the “Utah Wind Working Group” with Sarah Wright of Utah Clean Energy to advance local wind power development. Cathy and I collaborated with Christine on marketing and outreach to build local awareness and support for wind power. Our goal was to make Utah attractive for wind developers.
Together, we organized conferences, made presentations to various stakeholders, utility representatives, and policymakers (including the Utah State Legislature’s Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee), wrote educational articles about wind power for the Utah media, and crafted outreach campaign materials, including a very successful “Wind Power Can Fund Schools” billboard campaign along I-15 that encouraged the legislature to pass some tax incentives for renewable energy in 2004. The billboards were later adopted by Wind Powering America for other states to foster support for wind power.
Christine worked tirelessly to advance wind power in those early years, wearing many hats, often with limited resources. She was quite bold and tenacious in her renewable energy advocacy as a state employee. In 2006, she went to work for a start-up, Wasatch Wind, focused on developing Utah’s first wind power project at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, completed in 2008. As entrepreneur, her years of government experience proved invaluable. Indeed, Cathy and I were able to witness firsthand many of the challenges Christine and her Wasatch Wind colleagues overcame that we documented in our film, “Wind Uprising,” about the Spanish Fork project co-produced with Michelle Nunez of GreenTech Films. Through this film, Christine’s story has been told hundreds of times across the country to educate other communities about the trials facing wind entrepreneurs and the solutions they discovered along the way.
After the Spanish Fork project, Christine went on to become president of Wasatch Wind where she led the development of two additional projects in Utah and Wyoming. My observation is that Christine has the grit and stamina to overcome hurdles and get projects done, even if they take years.
"Working with Christine in those early years on wind power outreach was fun and filming her in the development of the Spanish Fork Wind Project showed that she was a steadfast problem-solver and leader."
She makes things happen. Today, it is exciting to see her take her 15+ years of experience to found her own company, Enyo Renewable Energy, and direct her expertise, enthusiasm and drive to further advance wind and solar development throughout the Intermountain West.