General Counsel PDT

Program Development Teams (PDTs) are a diverse mix of energy industry professionals responsible for the content creation of programs. The role generally involves subject matter expert recruitment, participation in planning meetings, and topic selection. The Chair for the General Counsel PDT rotates dependent on the location for the next session. PDT members provide survey suggestions and responses, identify critical industry issues, share challenges and accomplishments, recommend subject matter experts and set the agenda for each session.

For more information on this Program Development Team contact Joshua Baker at baker@westernenergy.org or at 971-255-4970

Committee Members

Joshua Baker

Western Energy Institute

Program Manager
WEI Program Manager

Laura Lewis

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel
Chair

Michael O’Connor

Salt River Project

Associate GM and Chief Legal Executive
Chair
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Michael was named SRP’s Associate General Manager and Chief Legal Executive Law and Human Resources on July 25, 2011. Based in Tempe, Arizona, SRP is one of the nation’s largest publicly owned electric and water utilities, with annual operating revenues of approximately $3.0 billion, and a balance sheet measuring some $11 billion. In his position, Michael reports directly to Mark Bonsall, the SRP General Manager/Chief Executive Officer. In addition to leading the SRP Legal Department, Michael also is responsible for SRP’s Human Resources, Environmental Management, Land, and Risk Management Departments.

Prior to joining SRP, Michael was a partner at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon. Michael joined Jennings Strouss in 1985 and practiced law at the firm until 2012 in the areas of utilities and energy companies, products liability, complex commercial litigation, insurance coverage and bad faith, and professional malpractice defense.

Michael earned his B.A. degree in Political economy from the Johns Hopkins University in 1982. He earned his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1985. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Federation of Insurance Corporate Counsel, International Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute, Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association, Trial Practice Section, State Bar of Arizona and Maricopa County Bar Association.

Born in New York State, Michael and his wife Michelle have four children: Matthew, a junior at Scottsdale Community College, and triplets, Michael a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, Alexandra a sophomore at New York University, and Samantha a sophomore at Santa Clara University.

Michael has received several honors and recognition while in private law practice: AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (2005-2012), Listed, Southwest Super Lawyers (2009-2012), AB Top Lawyer, Product Liability, Arizona Business Magazine and Best of the Bar, The Business Journal and was selected as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and the Federation of Corporate Counsel.

Michael has been active in several community activities over the years including, but not limited to, Board of Directors of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, the Advisory Board of Directors of the Rodel Foundation, Desert Voice’s Oral Learning Center, Brophy Dad’s Club, North Scottsdale Little League (President), and Valley of the Sun United Way.

Michael is very interested in promoting education and health issues in the State of Arizona. In September 2012, Michael became a member of the Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s Advisory Council Board. On January 25, 2013, Michael became a member of the Board of Directors of St. Joseph’s Foundation.

Kara Wolfe

Western Energy Institute

Program Manager
WEI Program Manager