Colorado Springs Utilities’ board, comprised of City Council, announced Jan. 31 that two internal candidates have been named finalists for the CEO position, vacated by the resignation of Aram Benyamin last fall.
The finalists are Lisa Barbato, P.E., Chief System Planning and Projects Officer, and Travas Deal, acting CEO and Chief Operations Officer, Utilities said in a release.
“After a national search, we are pleased to advance two current leaders as finalists for the CEO position,” board chair Wayne Williams said in the release. “Colorado Springs Utilities is a vital community asset, and all residents have a vested interest in its continued success. That’s why we are soliciting community input that will be reviewed along with other criteria to make this important decision.”
Ratepayers are invited to provide input through this form available online. Deadline is Feb. 14. The board is slated to choose the CEO on Feb. 22.
Utilities provided this information about the two finalists:
Barbato has served as Colorado Springs Utilities’ Chief System Planning & Projects Officer since March 2022, where she’s responsible for aligning a four-utility service engineering division while leveraging best practices around resource and infrastructure planning, design services and execution of projects.
She joined Colorado Springs Utilities in 1998 as a water and wastewater infrastructure project engineer. In 25 years at the organization, she has held management positions in both the water and energy side of operations. In 2010, she became the Wastewater Resources Recovery Facility manager. In 2017, she was named the general manager of the Distribution, Collection and Treatment Department, responsible for the maintenance and operation of the wastewater collection system, the water resource recovery facilities and the maintenance of the water distribution system.
In March 2019, Barbato was named the general manager of Energy Supply, overseeing generating facilities, fuel acquisition and the Martin Drake Power Plant’s closing process.
Barbato earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Creighton University, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska and holds a Professional Engineering (P.E.) license.
Deal was appointed acting CEO for Colorado Springs Utilities by the Utilities Board on Dec. 1, 2022. He was named COO in April 2020. He is responsible for the safe and reliable operations of the utility’s four services — electric, natural gas, water and wastewater.
He joined Colorado Springs Utilities in 2017 as field services manager. In 2018 he transitioned to the Energy Services Division, serving in a district manager role then two general manager positions, leading significant process improvements for the utility.
Deal served as a U.S. Marine for a decade before a successful career in transportation — first in rail-based freight transportation and later at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana.
He joined Duke Energy in 2008, working at Gibson Generating Station, the largest coal generating plant in the United States at 3,250 megawatts. During his tenure at Duke, he held various management roles in operations and maintenance, including operations excellence manager.
Deal holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Oakland City University.