Executive Planning Committee – Customer Connections

This Committee consists of senior executives of key business lines in Customer Connections. The committee conveys member companies’ education/leadership needs to WEI, recommends leaders to serve on program delivery teams, communicates WEI program offerings back to member organizations, and monitors participation and evaluation of WEI activities. Participants in the EPC Planning Session assist in building valuable programs for employees and their peers, identify key contributors to learn and grow, and promote these programs within their companies.

For more information on this Program Development Team contact Kevin Sullivan at sullivan@westernenergy.org or at 971-255-4973

Committee Members

Mike Broemeling

Avista Utilities

Director, Customer & Shared Services
Member
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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.

Tracy Carlson

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Director, Customer Care
Member

Adnan Chaudhry

Opower

Vice President, Sales
Member

Theresa Drake

Idaho Power Company

Manager Customer Relations & Energy Efficiency
Member
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Theresa currently leads a department of 30 employees responsible for the research and development of customer satisfaction and offering customer programs. Customer programs include a host of energy efficiency programs aimed at informing customers of the wise use of energy and providing financial incentives toward that objective.

Previous to this position, Theresa was a Rate Analyst for Idaho Power involved in regulatory issues and pricing strategies.

Prior to coming to Idaho Power, Theresa created and directed Drake Consulting, a privately held company providing consulting services to financial institutions for marketing opportunities and campaign strategies. Theresa also worked for West One Bancorp in Boise as the Assistant Vice President and Marketing Database Manager where she managed and analyzed customer databases. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Jacksonville State University.

Rick Edwards

NorthWestern Energy

Director of Key Accounts & Economic Development
Member
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Rick is the Director of Key Accounts & Customer Education at NorthWestern Energy in Butte, Montana. He has worked for 29 years at NorthWestern Energy and their previous company, Montana Power.

Rick graduated from Montana Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical communications. He and his wife, Laurie, have three daughters, Ashley, Karley, and Courtney.

Jason Fincher

Active TeleSource, Inc.

Sr. Operations Manager
Member

Lisa Fix

Clark Public Utilities

Director of Customer Service
Member

Mark Freeman

Central Lincoln PUD

Director of Employee, Customer & Community Services
Member

Jason Gregory2

Mosaic

Director, Client Solutions & Strategic Partnerships
Member

Steve Hatcher

Tacoma Power

Customer Services Manager
Member

Andria Ink

BC Hydro

Program Manager, Employee Engagement
Member

Michael Lowe

Salt River Project

Associate General Manager & Chief Customer Executive
Member
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Michael Lowe is the Customer Services Executive for Salt River Project, a major water and power utility serving over 930,000 electric customers in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. In his role as troubleshooter and agent of change, he leads a staff of 950 with an annual budget in excess of $162 million. He directs major customer programs and initiatives, as well as supporting work processes and information technology. His operational responsibilities include new product development, sales, call centers, regional customer service offices, metering, meter reading, billing, and collections. Based in large part on his leadership efforts, SRP has received twelve JD Power Awards for customer satisfaction, an unprecedented record in the industry. In addition, he and his management team secured certification by JD Power for SRP’s call centers in 2006, 2007, and 2008, demonstrating depth and breadth of management skills and processes and an overall dedication to customer satisfaction.

Mr. Lowe continues to be instrumental in shaping service delivery at Salt River Project as a means to enhance its competitive advantage. He has developed a host of services leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty. These include the largest program for prepaid electric service in North America; a territory-wide network of utility-owned automated payment kiosks which process 3 million payments per year; and the second-largest time-of-use pricing program in the United States. Additionally, Mr. Lowe has deployed over 300,000 smart meters and plans for territory-wide implementation over the next 6 years. Customers served by smart meters now are able to view their prior day’s usage on the internet.

Mr. Lowe and his management team successfully planned and implemented a flash cutover to a new customer information system in May 2004 with no significant disruption to service levels and daily operations. His preparations included development of a training program for 1,400 employees, internal and external communications plans, a management system to ascertain the normalcy of all operations following the implementation of the new system, and industry-leading business resumption processes to provide operational continuity in the event of extended downtime of the new customer system.

Mr. Lowe’s experience includes thirty years in positions of increasing responsibility in finance, information systems, and customer services. He has a strong technical background in costing, pricing, corporate budgeting, corporate financial planning, and all facets of treasury operations. He led first efforts at the company to align delivery of information systems with corporate strategic direction, identifying enhanced customer information and improved customer systems, as the greatest point of focus.

Mr. Lowe is immediate past Chairman of the Community Board of Catholic Healthcare West East Valley Hospitals and a current member of the regional board for Catholic Healthcare West, where he represents the interests of Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. He served as a past member of the board for Catholic Charities Social Services of the Diocese of Phoenix and past treasurer of the Phoenix Chapter of the Financial Executives Institute. He received his MBA from Arizona State University. He also holds a BA in economics, summa cum laude, from California State University, Stanislaus.

An avid cyclist and second-generation native of Arizona, Mr. Lowe resides with his wife, Sandy, and his two sons in Tempe, Arizona.

Brad Markus

Dominion Energy

General Manager, Customer Service, Community Relations & NGV's
Chair

Dawn Mehrer

FortisBC

Director, Customer Contact Center
Member

Maria Mills

MDU Utilities Group

Customer Service Manager
Member

John Morris

CLEAResult

Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs
Member

Raymond Sanchez

New Mexico Gas Company

Area Manager
Member
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Raymond Sanchez is the Senior Director of Customer Service for New Mexico Gas Company where he oversees the company’s call center and billing functions.

Ray has almost 20 years of experience in the gas industry. He began his career at Tenneco Gas in Houston, TX and then moved to Public Service Company of New Mexico before joiningNew Mexico Gas Company. Ray has held progressive positions in gas transportation contracts, gas operations and most recently in customer service.

Ray earned his MBA in General Business from New Mexico State University in 1993 and a BBA in Finance and Real Estate from New Mexico State University in 1991.

Bobbi Schroeppel

NorthWestern Energy

VP, Customer Care, Communication, Human Resources
Member
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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.

Jacqueline Smith

Seattle City Light

Strategic Planning Advisor
Member
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Jackie has over 30 years of electric utility experience at Seattle City Light. This includes working in both the customer service and operations sides of the organization. Because of her knowledge of utility practices and collaborative style she has played a key role on many process improvement and change management initiatives.

She is currently Strategic Planning Advisor for City Light’s Customer Service and Energy Delivery Officer. In this role she oversees the Business Unit’s capital and operational budgets, coordinates strategic plan efforts, serves on process improvement committees, works with human resources on talent acquisition and training efforts and manages business unit office staff. In case that does not cover everything, there is also the phrase “”and other duties as assigned””.

Christopher W Sohus

Southwest Gas Corporation

Vice President, Southern Nevada Division
Member

Karen Sparkman

Snohomish County PUD

Senior Manager, Customer Service & Support
Member
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Karen Sparkman has spent the majority of her professional career serving in various leadership roles in Public Power. She has been Senior Manager of Customer Service and Support at Snohomish County PUD since July of 2013. In this capacity, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership in the management of the District’s Customer Service Support Functions, to include: Workforce Planning, Quality and Staffing, Front Line Customer Facing Operations, Revenue Cycle Management, Field Operations, as well as back-office support. Ms. Sparkman is also responsible for ensuring compliance with the District’s customer service regulations and the collective bargaining agreement as it relates to department employees and processes.

Prior to her current position, she had served more than 12 years at Colorado Springs Utilities, lastly serving in the role of Billing Manager in charge of overseeing all of residential, commercial and industrial billing, special contracts and leading the analyst team responsible for Quality Assurance and Customer Information System (CIS) oversight. During her career she’s had a history of success in Customer Experience Improvement, Performance Management, Staff Development, Process Optimization and Business Process Reengineering.

Mrs. Sparkman holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University.

Kevin Sullivan

Western Energy Institute

Senior Program Manager
WEI Liaison

Andrew Wendell

Chelan County PUD

Director of Customer Service
Member

Laura Wetmore

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Sr. Manager, Energy Solutions & Service
Member