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The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council Announces New Chair and Co-Chair Leadership

1 August 2022, (Mpls, MN) The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is pleased to announce Lewis Payne as the new ROWSC Chair and John Steelman as Co-Chair. 


The ROWSC uses an accreditation model to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. In addition to these standards, accreditation requires a formal application process and enlists third-party auditors to ensure compliance with standards. Third-party recognition ensures an independent, proven process to convey credibility and bring recognition to integrated vegetation management (IVM) programs.


Lewis Payne is a leader in IVM within the utilities sector and led the New York Power Authority (NYPA) as a founding utility to first achieve ROWSC Accreditation in 2013 and to achieve re-accreditation in 2018. John Steelman was instrumental in supporting the successful ROWSC Accreditation of FirstEnergy Service Company in 2021. 



Lewis Payne, T-ROW Asset Owner/Manager, New York Power Authority

Lewis has held managerial positions at  Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC and New York State Electric and Gas. Currently, Lewis is a T-ROW Asset Owner and Manager at New York Power Authority. The New York Power Authority is America’s largest state power organization. NYPA is a leader in new energy technologies, energy efficiency, and electric transportation initiatives. NYPA is leading the transition to a carbon-free, economically vibrant New York through customer partnerships, innovative energy solutions, and the responsible supply of affordable, clean and reliable electricity.


John Steelman, Program Analyst, Grow With Trees

John is a Program Analyst at Grow With Trees in Colorado. Grow With Trees assists energy utilities create a brighter future through IVM solutions. John served for six years as a timber cruiser and sawyer with the US Forest Service, and three years in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps working in food security and disaster risk education. He holds degrees in forestry and environmental sciences.


The ROWSC has accredited utilities in the United States and Canada. A common characteristic of these utilities is their recognition of and desire for long-term practices that ensure safety, security, access, and regulatory compliance in an environmentally-beneficial manner.


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About the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC):

The ROWSC was established in 2013 as a program within Dovetail Partners, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental think tank serving as program administrator. The ROWSC is unique in that it is the only accreditation program that has established standards for responsible right-of-way (ROW) vegetation management. ROWSC initially focused on high-voltage

electric transmission corridors throughout North America and has expanded to include pipeline corridors. The aim of the program is to promote the application of integrated vegetation management and best management practices to the utility vegetation management industry in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns. The program is led by a diverse group of stakeholders including industry, government, academia, and environmental NGO’s, in order to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship along rights-of-way (ROW) and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards.


For more information, visit: http://www.rowstewardship.org


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