Bob Rowe


Class of 1977
Helena, MT

Bob Rowe

Bob Rowe grew up in Oregon.  He double majored in history and political science at Lewis & Clark and graduated in ’77. He received a law degree from the  University of Oregon in 1980, and eventually completed the Kennedy School Senior Executives’ Program. He is married to Melanie Reynolds, has two children and resides in Helena, Montana. “I love living in Montana. It’s called Big Sky Country for a reason! Its geographic diversity and majesty speak for themselves. Montana’s history is equally diverse.” The Continental Divide is just west of Helena, and the Gates of the Mountains on the Missouri River are just to the east – one of the most important points on Lewis and Clark’s journey west.

Bob Rowe has been president and chief executive officer of NorthWestern Energy since August, 2008. He is very proud of the people with whom he works. “Our people are skilled, hardworking, and dedicated to serving our customers. We provide essential services in a wonderful part of the country. Our work makes a difference in the communities where we live.” NorthWestern Energy is one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 670,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Bob has worked in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors, and helped start a successful small business.  After law school, Bob was a VISTA Volunteer in Montana (where he met Melanie), and continued to work as a lawyer with a nonprofit legal services program.  He served on the Montana Public Service Commission from 1993-2004, and also served as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He testified frequently before Congress, and he first visited Washington D.C. with Professor Don Balmer, where he got his first introduction to public policy. He also served on national advisory boards (including the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service). After leaving the PSC, he co-founded a small national consulting firm, where he worked until joining NorthWestern Energy. 

Bob has worked with or served on boards at a variety of university-based institutes, including the Columbia University Institute for Tele-information. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the University of Florida Public Utility Research Center, and is active in organizations such as the Western Energy Institute and the Institute for Energy Innovation (part of the Edison Electric Institute). He appreciates his Lewis & Clark education because of the emphasis on writing and discussion, and the opportunity to work with professors who were passionate about teaching.