8minutenergy Renewables names Sam Couchman Director of Community Relations

20. December 2012 | By:  8minutenergy Renewables

8minutenergy Renewables, LLC today announced that Sam Couchman has joined the company as Director of Community Relations.

Sam spent 23 years as the Director of the Imperial County Workforce Development Board (WDB) and as Director of Veteran Services for Imperial County.  The WDB is responsible for oversight, policy development and planning for the entire workforce development system in Imperial County.

As Director of the WBD, Sam managed multi-million dollar budgets and supervised over 80 people.  He frequently consulted with federal and state officials regarding workforce policy and strategies including community engagement, workforce analysis and development and the Department of Labor's One-Stop Career Center System.  Sam oversaw One-Stop Business and Employment Centers in Brawley, El Centro, Calexico, Winterhaven and other communities in Imperial County.

As Director of Community Relations for 8minutenergy, Sam will work with local organizations and agencies in the Imperial Valley to support the goals of 8minutenergy and its partners.  This will include attending local board meetings, consulting with local officials and ensuring that Imperial Valley residents are hired for jobs with 8minutenergy and its renewable energy partners whenever possible.

“Sam is an excellent representative for 8minutenergy in Imperial County,” said Martin Hermann, CEO of 8minutenergy.  “He will play an invaluable role in helping us work even more closely with local officials and organizations to achieve objectives that benefit both 8minutenergy and the people of the Imperial Valley.”

“Sam's thirty-five years of experience working with all levels of government to bring jobs and economic development to the people of Imperial County illustrates the strength of his commitment to the region,” added Tom Buttgenbach, President of 8minutenergy.  “His expertise and experience will help advance our 12 solar projects in the Imperial Valley, which will result in job opportunities and an economic boost for the area.”

“I am excited to work with a leader in renewable energy like 8minutenergy to further economic development and local job creation in my own community,” said Couchman.  “Joining 8minutenergy enables me to be directly involved in an industry that will help diversify our local economy and provide opportunities for generations to come.”

Sam is currently the city of Brawley's representative on the Imperial Valley Enterprise Zone Joint Powers Authority, serves on the Brawley City Council, and is a member of the Brawley Chamber of Commerce.  He is also Vice President of the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Community Foundation.  He is a past president of the Imperial County Overall Economic Development Commission.

A lifelong resident of Brawley who has lived in the city for 59 years, Sam's family settled in the Imperial Valley in 1936.  He graduated from Brawley High School then earned degrees from Imperial Valley College and San Diego State University.  Sam is highly active in the community.  He is a Rotarian and a member of Elks Lodge #1420, the Stockman’s Club and the Hidalgo Society.  He is also a lifetime member of the Imperial Valley Historical Society, and serves as treasurer of the Imperial Valley Coin Club.  He is the past president of Literacy Volunteers of America and a member of many other local and national organizations.  Sam is married and has two sons, two stepsons, and two grandchildren.

8minutenergy has over 2,000 MW of solar PV power under development in California.  In the Imperial Valley, the company has 12 solar farm projects underway.  Over the life of these projects in the Imperial Valley, the ongoing fiscal and economic benefits are projected to produce: $4.4 billion in total economic output, 240 new jobs, $2 billion in direct expenditures, $60 million in additional property taxes, and a $32 million net fiscal impact on the general fund.

All 8minutenergy solar projects are considered in-state resources and are located on disturbed, low-value farm land.  8minutenergy strives to ensure that its solar power projects provide low cost, clean renewable energy from the sun with low environmental impacts, particularly when compared with public lands projects on pristine desert wildlands.