Empowering the Rural West: Terri Marranzino-Ray’s Vision for Tri-State Generation & Transmission

TriStateTri-State Generation & Transmission makes money-saving changes.  

By Kat Zeman

Terri Marranzino-Ray loves power. As senior manager of support services for Tri-State Generation & Transmission, delivering power to the rural West is her No. 1 responsibility. “At the end of the day, our goal is to provide outstanding customer service and keep the lights on,” she says.

Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State’s diverse portfolio leverages natural resources to generate reliable and affordable electricity for its membership, which consists of its 43 member cooperatives.TriState info box

Marranzino-Ray manages roughly 1,000 fleet vehicles and oversees the company’s 28 transmission facilities in the four states Tri-State serves: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. She’s also in charge of roughly $24 million of inventory, investment recovery, transmission compliance and reliability and office services.

Saving Money

Although she’s been with the company for 21 years, Marranzino-Ray has made a number of changes since taking over her current job five years ago. One of the changes was extending the life cycle of the company’s fleet vehicles.

In the past, Tri-State retired diesel trucks when they reached 150,000 miles and gas vehicles at 100,000 miles. “Due to our stellar maintenance program, our diesel trucks now run to 200,000 miles and our gas vehicles go to 150,000,” she says. “We did this in order to maximize the life cycle of the vehicle without compromising maintenance, service or safety and we achieved over a $2.5 million one- time cost savings.”

In addition, Marranzino-Ray changed how the company’s vehicles are retired. Tri-State vehicles used to be sold in-house. That meant that when a vehicle was ready to be retired, Tri-State employees could buy them. “If you worked for Tri-State, you could bid on them,” she says.

The problem with that system was that one employee would bid $5,000, another $10,000 and a third would bid $15,000, she says. Then the top two bidders would back out and the company sold its vehicle for $5,000. “We were basically giving these vehicles away,” she says. “Now we’re selling our vehicles at auction and we’ve more than tripled the return on investment.”

Aside from changing when and how vehicles are retired, Marranzino-Ray made a number of safety-oriented changes that include increasing the inspection frequency for certain vehicles. “We now inspect our big equipment twice a year to promote the safety and maintenance,” she says. “Anything that lifts a human gets inspected twice a year.”

Tri-State’s fleet includes 33 large specialty vehicles such as trucks, cranes and man-lifts. One of the newest additions is a $2 million 2011 Bronto Skylift, an insulated aerial truck that can lift workers 169 feet into the air. “It can get our guys safely on the transmission lines without climbing towers and saves a lot of time and money to get the job done efficiently,” she says. “The majority of our trucks can lift a man about 100 feet in the air.”

Marranzino-Ray’s career with Tri-State spans more than 21 years. She says that she’s faced many industry and organizational changes but looks forward to future opportunities.