Fred Williams Signs Off From CVEA Board – After Almost 50 Years

Some people hang around on the job for a long time. And Fred Williams is one of those people. He's been on the Copper Valley Electric bo...

Some people hang around on the job for a long time. And Fred Williams is one of those people. He's been on the Copper Valley Electric board of directors since 1971 – for 49 years. And now he's retiring from the board, and CVEA is giving him a big sendoff, with a write-up in the Ruralite commemorating his achievements with CVEA. 

Fred Williams, 2016. (File Photo, Country Journal)

The year 1971, when Fred first signed on with the electric company board of directors, is a long time ago. In 1971, Apollo 14 landed on the moon; it was the third landing. Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden. Amtrak began its passenger train service. And Walt Disney World opened in Orlando. The Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, which runs through our region, hadn't even been built. It wouldn't be started until 1975, and the first oil wouldn't go through the pipe until 1977.

Between 1971 and today, Copper Valley Electric built the Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Plant in Valdez and the Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project  – vastly improving the electrical stability of both the town of Valdez and the Copper Valley.

Although Fred Williams is being honored now for his work with CVEA, he is a multifaceted person who's had an iron in the fire on many fronts while serving the Copper Valley.

For years, Fred's day job was as a Fish & Game biologist in our massive, significant region. As a fisheries expert he worked on subsistence, federal and federal and state regulations.

But Fred Williams is at heart – first and foremost – an historian. He knows all about the Copper Valley and its history, and how to safely travel in the region. He's worked with both the Copper Center Museum – and with Copper Basin Search & Rescue. These are not unrelated interests.

Fred has been up on the glaciers that were traversed during the Gold Rush of 1898, and has examined miners' equipment and analyzed exactly how those desperate, determined men hauled their ton of goods over the snow and down into the Copper Valley. And he has accumulated and read many, many books about our region and its history.

Fred Williams of the Copper River Valley: A complex man with an abiding love in the Alaskan wilds.

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