This committee represents the Customer Connections interests of the Board of Directors. Members are tasked with providing direction to WEI and the Executive Planning Committee on appropriate subject matter for WEI to pursue and to establish the content and priorities for its major conferences. They will provide guidance for other WEI programs as appropriate to assure that programs are meeting the needs of the Board of Directors.
For more information on this Program Development Team contact Kevin Sullivan at Sullivan@westernenergy.org or at 971-255-4973
Mike is the Director, Customer & Shared Services at Avista with responsibility for customer service including meter reading, field services, billing, contact center, training, technology and credit & collections. He is also responsible for supply chain, facilities, fleet and business process improvement.
Mike joined Avista in 1983 and has held a variety of leadership roles during his career. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and resides in Spokane, Washington.
He has been active in the community serving on non-profit boards along with being very active in the Boy Scouts of America.
As process director for serve customer, Lori is currently responsible for the process work of the Account Services which provides billing services to NW Natural’s customers, Customer Contact Center activities for all customer inquiries and services requests, Customer Field Services which provides meter and equipment services, and Meter Reading. Her background includes work in labor relations, pipeline construction of distribution systems, risk management and land acquisitions. Overall, she has spent 27 years in the gas utility industry.
Tommy Sanders is the Vice President of Gas Supply and Transmission and has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas industry. Tommy is responsible for gas control operations, natural gas scheduling and volume administration, transmission system and supply planning, natural gas acquisitions, market development and energy management.
Tommy manages strategic relationships with producers, marketers, pipelines, end-users and regulators and is responsible for gas purchases of approximately $250 million annually. He has directed major pipeline projects and compressor operations and measurement.
He worked for the Gas Company of New Mexico from 1982 through 1996 managing gas acquisitions, transportation and marketing; and at PNM from 1996-2009 as the director of gas supply and transmission.
He has served as an expert witness with the PRC in many cases and as a Company representative in FERC interstate pipeline cases.
Tommy graduated with honors from New Mexico State University with a B.A. in Accounting. He is a New Mexico Certified Public Accountant, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Mexico State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
He received Malcolm Baldrige Pinion Level recognition in 2001 for Gas Supply and Control and is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s “Utility Executive Course.” Tommy is also a graduate of Leadership Albuquerque. He is a member of the Western Energy Institute, the Southern Gas Association and the American Gas Association.
Ms. Schroeppel responsibilities include strategic and day-to-day leadership of NorthWestern’s customer facing, communication and human resources generalist processes. She holds degrees in Statistics, Sociology and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Debra Smith became the General Manager of Central Lincoln People’s Utility District on July 1, 2013. Prior to joining Central Lincoln, Ms. Smith worked in various capacities at the Eugene Water & Electric Board for over 17 years, most recently as the Assistant General Manager. In that role, she was responsible for electric and water operations, utility engineering, power trading & operations, customer and energy management services and generation.
Ms. Smith has a BS in Finance from Arizona State University. She and her husband are currently living in Newport, Oregon.
Kristin Stathis leads PGE’s Customer Service Operations area, which is responsible for providing outstanding service in day-to-day interactions with the company’s 833,129 customers. She oversees PGE’s Smart Metering Operations, Meter Services & Field Operations, Billing, Credit, Revenue Collections, Community Offices, Direct Access Operations, and Customer Contact Operations areas.
A 20-year-veteran of PGE, Stathis has served in a broad range of roles throughout the organization. Prior to her current position, she served as general manager of Revenue Operations, assistant treasurer and manager of Corporate Finance and general manager of Power Supply Risk Management. Before joining PGE, Stathis worked at a number of companies in the Portland area, most recently Arthur Andersen LLP.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Willamette University and a certificate in accounting from Portland State University. Stathis also serves on the boards of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities, Marylhurst University, Western Energy Institute (WEI), and the advisory board for the University of Idaho Utility Executive Course.
Greg Zeller is the Director, Engineering at Puget Sound Energy. In his 40th year with Puget Sound Energy (and Puget Sound Power & Light), he has extensive background in all aspects of utility operations. Currently, he is in a temporary assignment as the Program Manager for a technology transformation at PSE implementing an SAP CIS system, Outage Management System and as GIS system for both electric and gas infrastructure. As the Director, Engineering he oversees the day to day functions of PSE electric and gas engineering including generation, transmission, distribution, substation, control/protection engineering. Prior to this position he served to oversee Electric Operations including Substation construction and Maintenance, System Operations and Electric First Response operations functions.
Mr. Zeller is a graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelors’ degree in Electrical Engineering, specializing in power systems analysis. Professional development experience is from the University of Washington’s Business School Executive Program. He is a registered professional engineer in Washington State and a member of IEEE.