Electric Utility Fundamentals + Insights PDT

The Gas Utility Fundamentals + Insights Program Development Teams is a diverse mix of energy industry experts who support curriculum development and directly teach the course to WEI Members. These industry leaders provide over 100 years of combined industry experience in nearly all facets of the gas business.

This group meets regularly to identify critical industry issues, discuss challenges and make updates and changes to the GUFI course.

For more information on this Program Development Team contact Eric Christenson at christenson@westernenergy.org or at 971-303-2118

Committee Members

Eric Christenson

Western Energy Institute

Director of Program Curriculum + Analytics
Chair
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Eric leads new program development and has responsibilities for Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders, General Counsel, the Executive Planning Committee, and Board of Directors Electric Operations Committee. He joined WEI after seven years at Portland General Electric. At PGE he developed and managed the company’s Enterprise Risk Management program and worked in several other areas including operations benchmarking, regulatory affairs, fleet services, AMI, and finance.

Prior to joining PGE, Eric worked in internet marketing and as the Manager of Strategy and Analysis for a debt buying and recovery firm. Eric earned a BA in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Oregon. He volunteers his time on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Society of Association Management and as Vice President of the Greater Portland Soccer District.

Robert Kendall

M.J. Beck Consulting LLC

Senior Advisor
Instructor
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Bob has spent his entire career of over 45 years in the electric utility industry serving in senior management positions at Southern California Edison (SCE) for 30 years; EVP then President of Sunlaw Energy, a Los Angeles based generation owner and development company for 2 years; as a Managing Director with Navigant Consulting for 10 years; with M. J. Beck Consulting for 3 years; and is in his 2nd year as an instructor with WEI.

Bob’s primary focus during his career has been on designing competitive procurements for new fossil-fueled and renewable generation and transmission projects and negotiating the resulting contracts to make these projects a reality.

Bob also headed a division of SCE’s Revenue Requirements Department that was responsible for managing its response to regulatory proceedings initiated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and for managing the company’s rate cases. In this capacity, he testified numerous times before the CPUC as an SCE policy witness to oppose or support proposed new rates, regulatory requirements and/or rules. Bob also served as SCE’s chief lobbyist to the CPUC. Finally, while at SCE during utility deregulation, Bob was a key member of the team that created the CaISO.

Currently, Bob focuses on procurements and contract negotiations of renewable energy resources including off-shore wind on the U.S. east coast and energy storage. He is a qualified and recognized expert in electric utility contracts, integrated resource planning, engineering economics, transmission planning, power generation, and several other subjects and has testified as an expert witness both in the U.S. and internationally numerous times.

Bob has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, an M.B.A. in Finance, and a J.D. in Contract Law. Bob is a member of the California Bar Association.

Jim Nicholson

Nicholson and Associates Consulting Company Limited

President
Instructor
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Jim is a strategic, results-driven Senior Executive with experience across a broad portfolio including customer care, operations, sales & marketing and human resources. Holding senior roles in Utilities, Forest Products and Industrial sectors, Jim is a passionate customer advocate and skilled business leader.

Active in Utility industry associations, Jim has served on and Chaired an number of Western Energy Institute’s committees and events over the last 10 years. Prior to his retirement in late 2014 as BC Hydro’s Director of Customer Care he represented BC Hydro nationally as a member of the Canadian Electricity Association’s Customer Council. He currently serves as the Board Vice Chair of the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia.

Widely respected within his vast network, he excels in cultivating deep and lasting relationships with customers, executive leadership and major industry partners. In addition to his strong business operations background, Jim has the ability to translate his passions and experience into his Coaching, Facilitation and Board assignments, making him a sought after professional across a broad spectrum of Industries.

Jay Wicks

Black Marble Electrical Solutions

Owner
Instructor
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Jay Wicks has 32 years Electrical Engineering Field/Design Experience graduating from Virginia Tech in 1983. This experience includes the successful facilitation of many large equipment and system upgrades/retrofits. He has hands-on experience with all types of electrical equipment and controls, large & small.

He has many years of experience designing and installing automation and controls systems for all types of power plants, including AGC, with the exception of nuclear.

Jay has over 25 years of Technical/Safety Instruction experience developing and facilitating various educational programs. Jay incorporates actual real world case studies, videos, hands-on equipment demonstrations, and humor to educate the classroom attendees. He facilitates these classes in a unique way that explains complex subjects in a down-to-earth yet technical manner.

Mr. Wicks is currently working with Salt River Project as a power quality consultant providing PQ data analysis, PQ & Grounding training.

Jay Wicks is committed to serving the utility, manufacturing and industrial facilities communities through electrical safety and technical training and consulting.

Certifications:
* IAEI Licensed Electrical Inspector (Arizona)
* Certified NCCER Instructor for Instrument & Electrical
* Professional Engineering License (Arizona)
* Certified E-Hazard Instructor
* Certified Lightning Safety Professional (National Lightning Safety Institute)