This event brings the natural gas and electric utility executive community together to encourage discussion and foster new opportunities. Learn from subject matter experts regarding imminent opportunities and the challenges pressing utilities to adapt and flex in uncharted territories for best-in-class utility management. Topics covered in recent years include customer relations, global economic insights, new business models for utilities in a carbon constrained world, opportunities and challenges of big data, energy supply and demand forecasting, and visions for the utility of the future.
Member: $349 USD
Registration includes full access to the virtual conference and digital materials through the app.
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Virtual Registration + Help Desk Open
Sponsored by Charge
WEI will host a virtual registration and help desk before the conference begins and throughout the day. Stop in for a visit if you have questions about the agenda, want more information on how to use the app, or need assistance accessing GoTo Webinar for the event.
8:00 AM - 8:15 AM
Opening Remarks + Event Orientation
Speaker(s): Booga Gilbertson, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Puget Sound Energy
Our current Chair will open the Annual meeting and we will give a brief orientation of the day.
8:15 AM - 9:00 AM
Power After Carbon: Building a Clean, Resilient Grid
Speaker(s): Peter Fox-Penner, Founder and Director, Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy
As the dangerous and costly impacts of climate change increase, the rapid development of sustainable energy has taken on great urgency. The electricity industry has responded with necessary but wrenching shifts toward renewables, even as it faces unprecedented challenges and disruption brought on by new technologies, new competitors, and policy changes. The result is a collision course between a grid that must provide abundant, secure, flexible, and affordable power, and an industry facing enormous demands for power and rapid, systemic change. The fashionable solution is to think small: smart buildings, small-scale renewables, and locally distributed green energy. Peter Fox-Penner makes clear that these solutions, while a vital and valuable part of the equation, will not be enough to meet our increasing needs for clean energy. In addition to distributed power, we will need much stronger energy efficiency policies as well as large power systems, battery storage, and scalable carbon-free power technologies, along with the grids and markets that will integrate them. The electric power industry and its regulators will have to provide all of these, even as they grapple with changing business models for local electric utilities, political instability, and technological change. Additionally, natural gas companies are facing dramatic threats and changes as they look to adapt their role in the new energy future. Success will rely on new innovations and strategies to embrace emerging opportunities like renewable natural gas and hydrogen.
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Working from home with your furry friends? Take a moment to care for your pets and post their picture using the Event Feed in the app.
Sponsored by Mosaic.
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Leadership Perspectives: Lessons Learned from a Pandemic
Moderator(s): Robert Rowe, President and Chief Executive Officer, NorthWestern Energy
Panelist(s): Kimberly Collier, Vice President of Human Resources, Puget Sound Energy, Jana Mosley, Senior Vice President, Power Delivery, ENMAX Corporation, Michael Lewis, Interim President, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Aidan McSheffrey, Chief Financial Executive & Associate General Manager, Salt River Project
The unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 have changed how utilities do business and may have important implications for how energy is used in the future. This panel will feature a dynamic discussion among industry leaders about how they adapted and protected employees while continuing to serve customers, as well as perspectives on best practices and strategies in a mid and post-pandemic world. While we all continue to navigate varying uncertainties, this session will provide insight on dealing with a crisis of this scale.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Have you taken up a new hobby while spending more time at home? Whether it's crafting, gardening, jogging, biking, video games, or cooking, share a picture of your recent project or favorite activity using the Event Feed in the app.
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Election 2020: Where Do We Go From Here?
Speaker(s): Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
America’s “historian-in-chief” Doris Kearns Goodwin delves deeply into our 200-year history of presidential elections that brings us to 2020: A most divisive, overwhelming and exhausting presidential campaign cycle, punctuated by relentless social media and news coverage. Accompany Goodwin on a virtual trip back to a simpler time—when conventions chose candidates and general election campaigns lasted only three months—to understand the transformation that has produced today’s eternal campaigning, endless fundraising, unproductive debates, polarizing rhetoric and over-reliance on polling. Through rich stories of past primaries, fractured parties, campaign promises and policy outcomes, former candidates and present-day hopefuls, Goodwin examines the path to the presidency and poses the engaging question: Might our election process need an overhaul? Can we instead evaluate our candidates by the standards of a leadership index that would reveal the strength of their teams, their ability to grow, to learn from mistakes and to overcome adversity—qualities that can apply to leaders in every field and all of us in our everyday lives.
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Recharge for the last session with a cup of coffee or tea! Post a picture of your favorite mug, cup or tumbler to the Event Feed in the app.
Sponsored by ARCOS.
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Communicating with Customers about a Low Carbon Future
Moderator(s): David Hutchens, Chief Executive Officer, UNS Energy Corp.
Panelist(s): Graeme Feltham, Vice President Customer Experience & Initiatives, ATCO Natural Gas, Jose Esparza, SVP Customer Engagement and Information Services, Southwest Gas Corporation, Gillian Wright, Senior Vice President, Customer Services, Southern California Gas Company
As customers and regulators demand more from utilities to reduce their impact on climate change, communicating the value of natural gas as part of the solution is more critical now than ever. This session features a candid discussion about what industry leaders can do to make sure they’re communicating effectively about the role of natural gas, and advocating for the best interests of their customers, as we move towards a lower carbon future.
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM
2021 Western Energy Institute Theme
Speaker(s): Caroline Winn, Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
WEI Board Executive Committee Meeting
Open only to executive committee members.
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Log-In Time for Board Members
9:15 AM - 10:15 AM
WEI Board of Directors Meeting
Open only to board members.
10:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Women in Leadership
Open only to current Women in Leadership program participants.
We look forward to welcoming you on September 14! The virtual Annual Meeting will be presented over GoToWebinar which can be accessed via your browser or by downloading an app on to your computer or phone. Attendees will also use WEI’s Event App to navigate the day and engage with each other.
All registered attendees will receive an email from WEI on September 9 with your unique access link and helpful tips on how to make the most of the event.
If you are reading this after September 9, but you have not yet received a welcome email, please contact WEI at 503.231.1994 so that we can verify your registration and get you the information you need to connect.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prizewinning,
New York Times #1 best-selling author.
Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim
and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of
studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin
Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the book provides an accessible and essential road map for
aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives.
Goodwin’s career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when as a 24-year-old graduate
student at Harvard she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious
programs for leadership and public service. Goodwin worked with Johnson in the White House and later
assisted him in the writing of his memoirs.
She then wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which became a national bestseller and
achieved critical acclaim. It will be re-released in Spring 2019, with a new foreword highlighting LBJ’s
accomplishments in domestic affairs that have stood the test of time.
Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home
Front in World War II. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys was adapted into an award-winning five-part
television miniseries. Her memoir Wait Till Next Year is the heartwarming story of growing up loving her
family and baseball. Her sixth book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the
Golden Age of Journalism, won the Carnegie Medal and is being developed into a film.
Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln served as the basis for Steven
Spielberg’s hit film Lincoln and was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for
American History, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize.
Well known for her appearances and commentary on television, Goodwin is frequently seen in
documentaries including Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; and
on news and cable networks, and shows including Meet The Press and The Late Show with Stephen
Colbert. She played herself as a teacher on The Simpsons and a historian on American Horror Story.
Goodwin graduated magna cum laude from Colby College. She earned a doctorate degree in Government
from Harvard University, where she taught Government, including a course on the American Presidency.
Among her many honors and awards, Goodwin was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize, the Sarah Josepha
Hale Medal, the New England Book Award, as well as the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.
Goodwin recently founded Pastimes Productions with Beth Laski to develop and produce film, television
and digital projects.
Goodwin lives in Concord, Massachusetts. She was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker
room in 1979, and is a devoted fan of the World Series-winning team.
Dr. Fox-Penner is Founder and Director of the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Professor of Practice at the Questrom School of Business, where he teaches courses on sustainable energy and electric power.
His research and writing interests are in the areas of electric power strategy, regulation, and governance; energy and climate policy; sustainable finance; and the relationships between public and private economic activity. Prior to BU, he served for over two decades as principal and chairman of the Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm where he remains an academic advisor. Before this he served as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Dr. Fox-Penner is a frequent speaker on energy topics and the author of numerous published articles and books, including the highly acclaimed Smart Power: Climate Change, the Smart Grid, and the Future of Electric Utilities (Island Press, 2010) and its sequel Power After Carbon (Harvard University Press, 2020). His research has been widely cited, including in one Supreme Court decision.
In addition, he is a Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Energy Impact Partners, one of the largest dedicated clean energy private equity fund groups in the world. He is on the global advisory council of Earth Day Network and on the advisory boards for Mobility Impact Partners and the National Regulatory Research Institute’s Training Initiative. He previously was on the boards of the Solar Foundation and the Global Energy Group and served as an advisor to the Center for National Policy, the Aspen Energy Institute, the Hewlett Foundation, and other organizations. Continue reading Peter’s bio and CV.
As senior vice president and chief operations officer for Puget Sound Energy, Booga Gilbertson is responsible for electric and gas operations, including emergency response, maintenance and construction, grid modernization, electric and gas system operations, system planning, project management and engineering. A passionate advocate for safety, she is responsible for safety operations and culture across the company. She enjoys innovating and integrating leading practices and technology with legacy operations, navigating change, and developing people.
Since joining PSE Gilbertson has held a broad range of engineering, operations and management positions in planning, asset management, gas and electric engineering, performance measurement, budgeting, project management, construction and maintenance, 24-hour control center operations, labor relations, technology and emergency response management. She also has experience in the consumer goods manufacturing industry as well as vocational instruction.
In addition to her responsibilities at PSE, Gilbertson serves on the board of directors of the Western Energy Institute. In the past year she was chair of that board. She is also a past chair of the Edison Electric Institute’s National Response Executive Committee. She currently serves on the Washington State University Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Executive Council; she has also been a member of the University of Washington’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board.
Gilbertson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration degree from City University.
She enjoys skiing, hiking, running, kayaking, gardening and weaving.
Bob has been President and Chief Executive Officer of NorthWestern Corporation since August 13, 2008. He is Co-Chair of the Institute for Electric Innovation, part of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI); a member of the EEI Board of Directors Executive Committee; a member of the American Gas Association Board of Directors Executive Committee; Western Energy Institute past chair and current executive committee member.
Bob lives in Helena, Montana. He holds a BA from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, a JD from the University of Oregon, completed the Kennedy School Senior Executives’ Program, and has been active in various professional organizations. He has been active with a variety of university-based organizations, and is currently a senior fellow at the University of Florida Public Utility Research Center.
At NorthWestern Energy, Bob’s focus is working with other employees to build a strong company, focused on providing essential infrastructure and service, and that will be a long-term partner to the customers and communities they serve.
Gillian Wright is senior vice president and chief customer officer for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. She is responsible for the SoCalGas customer services operations, customer solutions and gas acquisition organizations.
Previously, as chief human resources, administrative and environmental officer of SoCalGas, Wright oversaw the SoCalGas human resources, fleet, facilities, environmental services, supply management and logistics organizations.
She joined SoCalGas as a regulatory analyst in 1999 and has held increasingly responsible management roles in regulatory affairs and customer service for SoCalGas since then.
Wright is a member of the board of the California State University Foundation, LA Family Housing, Western Energy Institute and Los Angeles Business Council. She is also past chair and a former member of the board for the Energy Solutions Center and a graduate of Leadership California. Wright holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Reed College.