Randy Barcus, chief economist for Avista, is known for delivering economic forecasts in language everyone can understand. He did just that in a Wise Words interview with Rebecca Nappi of The Spokesman-Review. An excerpt was published Aug. 7, 2010. Here’s the complete transcript.
But more to the point about me, I think I realized the “work to live” impact when in 1995 Washington Water Power was planning to merge with Sierra Pacific Power in Reno and my new job location was going to be Reno. Not to be overly dramatic, but Reno in 1995 was not a place you’d want to move with young children. Real estate was expensive compared to Spokane and the lifestyle was a complete 180 degrees different; it reminded me of why I left Los Angeles. As employees, we were offered “after the merger closed” the transfer or to accept a severance payout and terminate our employment. I elected severance, which surprised a lot of people because they said they didn’t think I liked Spokane that much. It wasn’t about Spokane, although I do like it a lot here. I had no hope of finding a comparable job here, and pretty much expected I’d be moving someplace else. At the time, I said I’d go for a similar job in a nicer place or a better job in a similar place. I’m sure many people have made these choices. In fact, it’s often more difficult for an economist because we tend to over analyze the tradeoffs. Needless to say, the merger didn’t happen. The new combined company name of Avista was adopted by Washington Water Power and here we are today. Yes, that was a tough decision because of the unknown consequences, but I knew then and still believe now it was the correct one. During that six months between electing severance and the cancelled merger, I went home every night after work and saddled up my horse and went for a ride in the hills all by myself. Life always looks better from the back of a tall horse, and life looked pretty darned good at that time. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how important it was (and remains) to have a supportive wife. We made these decisions together to do what was best for all of us, knowing we might have to make some big sacrifices. I’m glad the merger didn’t happen, because now 15 years later I’m looking at retiring in a few years with an adequate pension, which of course would not have been the case had I left. I won’t be riding off into the sunset, because we sold our riding horses a couple of years ago to do some other types of travels. Our roots are 15 years deeper in the community, and I feel we have made a number of contributions to it. I served for nine of those years on the County Parks Advisory Board and my wife has been involved in charity work, giving back to a community that has served us and our family well. I believe we have a lot of great opportunities here but we have to take advantage of them; and overall, I think it leads us and many of our friends to have a more healthy and full life.
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