This three-day event brings together the West’s 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. This meeting coincides with the semi-annual WEI Board Meeting and the Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders team presentations.
Member: $999 USD
Registration price increases $100 after August 31, 2018. Registration includes meeting materials, 1 reception, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 breaks, all presentations and panel discussions, one dinner and admission to the Service Company reception and dinner event. Guest tickets are available for $150 and allow a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.
7:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Networking Golf at Oak Creek Golf Club
Here is your chance to network with your peers while enjoying a fun round of golf. In true Tom Fazio form, Oak Creek Golf Club beckons the competitive spirit of golf players at all levels. Each of the 18 holes throughout this Orange County golf course presents new challenges amid tapered fairways, scenic greens, beautiful lakes and bull-nose carved bunkers. With dense and dynamic flora, Oak Creek creates a sanctuary not only for your playing experience but for a variety of birds and other fauna as well.
The registration fee includes: greens fee, cart, range balls, water on the cart, a box lunch and transportation to and from the course. Golf Club rental is available to reserve for $50 per set by emailing Mike at mtripp@oakcreekgolfclub. Please mention Western Energy Institute in your email.
Registration Fee: $180 per person
Refund Policy: No refunds after August 24th
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Women in Leadership
Current Women in Leadership Participants Only
12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Networking Electric Bike Tour
Enjoy a relaxing and fun-filled afternoon as you cruise through Newport Beach on an electric bike! Begin the tour right at the hotel as you depart on an adventure to Balboa Island, a one-of-a-kind, man-made treasure. Next, you'll head to The Wedge, an area known for its shore-breaking waves of up to 30 feet, for magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and some of California's most daring surfers. Breathe in some fresh ocean air as you ride down the Balboa Peninsula and historic piers. Your knowledgable tourguide will highlight iconic sights and famous spots along the way, and there will be a number of stopping points for networking and purchasing refreshments or snacks along the way. Registration fee includes bike rental, helmet, and tour guide. Registration Fee: $65 per person Refund Policy: No refunds after August 24th
3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
WEI Board Executive Committee Meeting
Open only to committee members.
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Check In + Nametag Pickup
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
WEI Board of Directors Meeting
Open only to board members.
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Board of Directors Dinner - Offsite
Invitation only. Open to board members and invited guests. Bus departs at 6:40 pm.
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Registration + Materials Pickup
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Breakfast + Opening Remarks
Speaker(s): Ronald O. Nichols, President, Southern California Edison
Sponsored by Wood
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Political Forecast of the US Midterm Elections
Speaker(s): Jim Messina, CEO, The Messina Group
Renowned political strategist Jim Messina, Campaign Manager for President Obama's successful 2012 re-election campaign, will share how politics are changing and his predictions for the 2018 US Midterm Elections, including how the results will impact Canada and other international relations.
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Climate Change Adaptation
Moderator(s): Caroline Winn, Chief Operating Officer, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Panelist(s): Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Program Co-Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, Jody Freeman, Professor of Law, Director, Environmental Law Program, Harvard Law School, Daniel Kammen, Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley, Heather Grahame, General Counsel and Vice President – Regulatory & Federal Government Affairs, NorthWestern Energy, Brian D'Agostino, Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaption, San Diego Gas & Electric Company
Climate change is happening now. Gone are the days of denying or ignoring as we face new questions: How bad will it be? How rapidly will changes happen and will they accelerate? What are the consequences? Throughout the West electric and natural gas utilities are implementing global climate action in an effort to reduce emissions and slow global warming. In addition, reducing our risks and increasing company resiliency to the changes ahead will require an unprecedented degree of cooperative action and tough choices. This panel will provide an overview of how climate change is impacting utilities now and how that will evolve in the future including extreme weather changes, regulatory reactions, and customer expectations. Next, panelists explore how WEI member companies can adapt to minimize the cost and disruption to utility operations while balancing safety and affordability in our new reality. Learn more about Professor Daniel Kammen's work here and here.
10:45 AM - 11:15 AM
11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Responding to Cybersecurity Incidents
Speaker(s): Vijay Jajoo, Principal, KPMG LLP
Cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide range of risk from both physical and cyber threats and hazards. Sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states exploit vulnerabilities to steal information and money and are developing capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of your essential services. These threats are no longer a matter of if, but when. The consequences can be significant causing severe financial and reputational damage both of which will lead to increased regulatory oversight. After the breach occurs, companies need to collect breach related data to secure evidence and to support legal and law enforcement investigations. Now is the time to define the scope of your cyber response program and take an inventory of all your assets; this will include all customer-facing systems and all internal resources. This session will be a discussion of the core elements of effective Cyber Response Program.
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Lunch + The Power of Lateral Thinking
Speaker(s): Shane Snow, Bestselling Author of Smartcuts & Co-Founder, Contently
Lunch sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services
Breakthrough innovation happens when we rethink conventional wisdom. But how do you train yourself, and your organization, to think differently? How do you foster an environment where it’s safe to do so, where innovation can thrive without destroying your business? How do the world’s most clever companies manage to not only endure change, but harness it to climb to new heights? How do rocket makers and children’s hospitals stay alive in the face of market shifts and competitive challenges? What can established businesses learn from revolutionaries, crazy geniuses, and crackpot comedians to help manage changes big and small? After rave reviews at WEI’s Customer + Corporate Symposium, WEI is bringing this dynamic and surprising message to our Annual Meeting with a focus on executive leadership strategies. Innovation expert Shane Snow reveals the formula from his bestselling book Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking, packaging rigorous research with compelling stories that will inspire your teams with a formula to unlock innovation in any industry, and showing attendees—workers and leaders alike—how to beat the plateau and generate momentum in work and life.
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Natural Gas Interdependency with the Electric System
Moderator(s): Robert Rowe, President and Chief Executive Officer, NorthWestern Energy
Panelist(s): Steve Goodwill, Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, Tim Bleakley, Head of Strategy Practice and Power and Renewables Consulting, Wood Mackenzie, Nick Schlag, Director, E3
As the resource mix in the West continues to evolve with increasing penetration of variable energy resources such as solar and wind along with the retirement of coal and nuclear generating plants, the dependence on natural gas used for electric generation will continue to increase. The adequacy of the natural gas infrastructure to meet the evolving reliability needs of the electric power sector is one of the top structural reliability issues the West faces. In 2017-18, WECC undertook an assessment of the natural gas infrastructure and its interdependency with the electric system in the West. The panelists will present and discuss the major findings of WECC’s reliability assessment and discuss the implications for natural gas and electric companies.
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
CEO + President’s of Utilities Facilitated Roundtable
Customer Connections Board Committee
Corporate Services Board Committee
Electric Operations Board Committee
Gas Operations Board Committee
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Service Company Committee Meeting
Open only to committee members.
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Service Company Reception and Dinner
Open to all attendees. Join us for a wonderful evening sponsored by WEI service companies.
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Breakfast and 2019 Western Energy Institute Theme
Speaker(s): Dennis Vermillion, President, Avista Corp.
Sponsored by Henkels & McCoy
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Grid today, Gone Tomorrow? How Grid Defection is Pushing Utility Evolution
Speaker(s): Dale Rieberger, Manager, Cyber Security, FortisBC, Harsh Grover, Director - Planning, Scheduling, Dispatch and Clerical, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Josh Mitchell, Residential Energy Advisor, Chelan County PUD, Sarah Stevens, Legal Counsel / Manager, Legal Services, ENMAX Corporation, Scott Gallegos, Damage Prevention Supervisor, NW Natural
The utility industry is facing impacts from rising customer expectations, rapid technology change, declining energy and infrastructure prices, policy changes and regulatory constraints. This presentation will explore current trends in the utility sector related to grid defection and assess future perspectives pertaining to onsite generation, transportation and customer interactions. What factors are motivating a customer’s desire to defect from the grid? How will utility business models evolve to meet the needs of their customers? What opportunities are available to the utility for growth?
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM
The Power Is Yours: Engaging Your Customers Through Gamification
Speaker(s): Chris Brown, Manager, Gas Purchases and Transportation, Southwest Gas Corporation, Mark Flury, Principal Engineer, Snohomish County PUD, Alicia Gibbs, Asset Maintenance Program Delivery Manager, Avista Utilities, Chris Hirsch, Manager, Electric Distribution Operations Control Center, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Kevin Sorenson, Senior Manager, Distribution Operations, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc., Nita Zimmerman, Deputy EVP, Business Transformation Office, Bonneville Power Administration
Join Stefan Jobs and the Orange team as they explore the relationship between gamification and customer engagement. Gamification refers to the incorporation of game elements, like point and reward systems, to incentivize participation. The continuous and rapid technology evolution has created a paradigm shift in how customers view utilities and how they view their various energy options. Successful utilities realize that customers' expectations are evolving just as quickly as technology. Customers expect services equivalent to those offered by large corporations such as Amazon, Google and Uber. Consequently, utilities must work to engage customers proactively through multiple channels in efforts to meet their expectations and to keep them engaged. Through demand response, smart metering, and distributed energy initiatives, utilities have made efforts to enhance the customer engagement experience. However, have utilities' past attempts successfully met customers' expectations and desires? How do utilities provide customers with an engaging and motivational experience that incentivizes customers to participate? Show up early… Stefan's product launches fill up fast!
10:15 AM - 10:30 AM
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Mapping the Customer Experience
Speaker(s): Brandon Besch, Sr Manager, Substation Construction, Southern California Edison, Jared Ellsworth, Engineering Leader - System Planning, Idaho Power Company, Kumail Moledina, Sr Manager, Electrical and Maintenance Services, ATCO Electric, Randy Walls, Manager of Substation and Relay Operations, Puget Sound Energy, Teala Kail, Manager, Customer Service, New Mexico Gas Company, Vasia Limantzakis, Services Acquisition Team Manager, Bonneville Power Administration
Today's customers have many new and ever changing expectations for their utility provider. Utilities are adapting by gaining a deeper understanding of their customers in order to proactively meet their needs and expectations. Through this presentation, we will look at the ways utilities are learning about their customers and take a journey through the eyes of a customer. We will offer some innovative ways to improve the customer experience today and into the future…..
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Forging the Utility Link in Blockchain
Speaker(s): Ted Connors, Manager of Accounts Payable, Lead Oil+Gas Accountant, NorthWestern Energy, Joy Mastache, Senior Attorney, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Christine Plante, Manager, Customer Service Systems, FortisBC, John Rover, Construction Superintendent, Snohomish County PUD, Tiffany Urland, Manager, Compliance & Operations Programs, Cascade Natural Gas Corp.
Patrick M Byrne said "over the next decade, there will be disruption as significant as the internet was for publishing, where blockchain is going to disrupt dozens of industries." The cutting edge world of blockchain means more to the utility industry than big power demands. Blockchain has the potential to transform energy markets. Join us as we explore the unique opportunities and challenges presented by this evolving technology: What makes blockchain technology special? How does it work? We will discuss potential utility applications and what you should look out for before deciding what your utility's link in the blockchain phenomena can be. This is a presentation you won’t want to miss.
11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
11:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Becoming a Nimble Glacier: Cultivating Culture to Address Workforce Challenges
Speaker(s): Chris Noble, Manager, Gas Operations, Dominion Energy Utah, Claire Lloyd, Sr. Manager, Substation, Protection and Communications Engineering, Seattle City Light, Daniel Honeyfield, Manager, T&D Maintenance Planning, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Kevin Crosby, Production Manager, Arizona Public Service Company, Tanya Tetzlaff, Manager, IT Customer Solutions, FortisAlberta
The pace and level of change on all fronts coming at a utility is a guarantee. How the utility responds will make or break their future. Adoption starts with the people of the organization and how we respond to challenges such as the aging workforce, having the right skill sets, attracting the right talent for the needs of today and tomorrow, and having the right leadership to guide and champion the changes. In this presentation, we will provide insights and perspective on how to influence the culture to embrace change and go from a “slow and steady” to a “start up” mindset and become the change instead of just reacting to it.
11:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Alternative Revenue Generation for Utilities
Speaker(s): Rachel Allen, Power Section Assistant Manager, Electrical Services, Tacoma Power, Leonard Huynh, Manager, Asset Capital Programs, ENMAX Corporation, Cassia Jones, Manager, Integration Lab and Transition Services, Portland General Electric, Ed Jones, Manager, Customer Automation, Analytics, and Digital Communications, Tucson Electric Power, Will Radford, Supervisor, High Pressure Engineering, Dominion Energy Utah, Eric Yamashita, Regulatory Affairs Senior Manager, Southern California Edison
Utilities must evolve to stay relevant, and should consider alternative revenue generation to supplement traditional revenue sources. They must adapt to meet the changing landscape of the future. Customers’ needs are evolving, more data is available now than ever before, and environmental regulations are only getting stricter. Utilities should try new things and push the envelope to creatively generate revenue where the industry may have least expected it. Join us as we take you on a journey of possibilities, starting with things you can do today to take advantage of resources you already have and end with a view into the future we should all be preparing for.
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM
Fact vs. Fiction
Speaker(s): Paul Good, Gas Operations Manager, Avista Corp., Brandon Sax, Supervisor, Treasury Services, Tucson Electric Power, Brittany Syz, Director of Clean Transportation, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Jason Doering, Director, Engineering & Fleet Maintenance, ENMAX Corporation, Jorgan Hofeling, Supervisor, Customer Service Center, Dominion Energy Utah, Lauren Sakamoto, Division Lead - Planning & Design, Asplundh Construction, LLC
The changing landscape of renewable energy, system management, customer expectations, and access to information (accurate or not) has resulted in new challenges for utilities. This has created an environment in which utilities have an increasingly more difficult time maintaining positive perceptions of their business within the market. The misinformation regarding renewable energy and its current capabilities is a primary factor behind the increased difficulty in maintaining stakeholder trust in this area. Historic models of how to interact with stakeholders are no longer effective – a new approach is needed to be successful. Getting involved in the renewable movement and engaging customers around the realities of this shift is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and managing external pressures from regulators and special interest groups. We will discuss an approach that will aid in managing this challenge as well as positioning utilities to succeed in the renewable energy evolution.
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM
This PBR is Not on Ice
Speaker(s): Lorraine Gray, Superintendent - Stations Services, Hydro One Inc., Ashley McDermott, Senior Manager, Robotic Process Automation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Daniel Moser, Line Superintendent, Chelan County PUD, Craig Pulley, Manager, Human Resources, Intermountain Gas Company, Grant Smedley, Director, Power Delivery Engineering, Salt River Project, Kyle Stewart, Manager, Energy Risk Control, Analytics & Credit, Puget Sound Energy
There is an appetite from policy makers to implement new regulatory constructs that align with public policy goals, such as grid modernization and aggressive renewable targets. One such example is the implementation of performance based ratemaking (PBR), which has the potential to significantly disrupt the cost-of-service regulatory model that has traditionally applied to utilities.
Using the recently passed Hawaii PBR bill as a case study, we will take you on a journey to explain PBR, the perspectives of various impacted stakeholders, and what utilities can do to prepare for this potential regulatory shift.
2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
Innovating in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Speaker(s): Belinda Tierney, Manager of NERC & FERC Compliance, NorthWestern Energy, Devin Dukeshire, Area Manager Construction Services, BC Hydro, Don Ashmore, Fleet Manager, Tacoma Public Utilities, Kenneth Murray, IT Supervisor, Central Lincoln PUD, Steve Walker, Sr. Project Manager, Power Engineers, Inc., Suneel Singh, Reconciliation and Mapping Services Manager, Southern California Gas Company
The 4th Industrial Revolution marks the beginning of a new era where technology breakthroughs involving robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, The Internet of Things, Big Data and data analytics and other technologies are positioned to change much of the world as we know it, including how electric and gas utilities conduct business and engage with clients. As with the first three industrial revolutions the 4th industrial revolution is likely to disrupt existing business models, require new skills from the workforce while at the same time opening tremendous opportunity for those that innovate and position to leverage the disruption. This will all happen at a lightning fast pace. This presentation will describe the features of the 4th Industrial Revolution, summarize examples from within and outside the utility industry on how the new advancements are being applied and how innovation can play a role in defining a successful path forward for the Gas and Electric utility industry.
2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
Keep it Simple, Know the Who and Drive The Why to Shape the Customer Experience
Speaker(s): Steve Moser, Area Manager, Long Valley Operations Center, Idaho Power Company, Brendan O'Donnell, Manager - Strategy, Planning & Analytics, Seattle City Light, Justin Pullukatt, Manager, Research & Innovation, ATCO Gas, Charles Roper, Power Operations Manager, Henkels & McCoy, Inc., Jenna Rowell, Manager, Media Relations, Arizona Public Service Company, Paula Yang, Manager of Asset Management Group, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Customers don’t put borders between industries when it comes to their communications expectations – what one service provider gets right they expect all others can, too. This means some transformative, mega-budget brands like Amazon, Google and Apple are setting the bar for the information and content customers expect from us.
It’s a high bar, and often one they set with seemingly limitless budgets, huge creative staffs and from the advantage of being perceived as “glossy,” cutting-edge industries. The good news is that all of our organizations, regardless of budgets and staffing levels, can get better at meeting customers’ content expectations by applying a few core communications principles that influence customer satisfaction and reputation.
During this session, we will share examples of how these principles – simplicity, personalization and covering why more than how – are used effectively by other industries and show what good looks like in our sector, even for seemingly complicated topics like demand charges. The goal is to provide insights and tips any company can readily apply to ensure content is clear, relevant and helpful to customers in a way that creates positive experiences with your brand.
3:00 PM - 3:15 PM
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Survival of the Fittest: Avoiding Brand Extinction
Speaker(s): Faranak Sarbaz, Power Engineer Manager of Transmission Planning and Contracts, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, James Mardegan, Director, Project Delivery, Hydro One Inc., Joe Varela, Manager Energy Solutions, Southwest Gas Corporation, Katelyn Twiggs, Account Manager - Pipeline Integrity, T.D. Williamson, Inc., Nicole Moreland, Manager, Business Operations, Customer & Energy Services Division, Snohomish County PUD, Michael Ansbergs, Manager, T&D Project Engineering, Portland General Electric
Utilities are facing competition from new business models that serve as intermediaries between consumers and utilities, including Community Choice Aggregators, Virtual Net Metering, and Energy Services Platforms. Many utilities are unaccustomed to competing for customers. We must reconsider the value proposition we offer consumers if we want to retain them as customers.
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Recognizing and Outsmarting Cognitive Bias in Utility Leadership Decisions
Speaker(s): Michelle Academia, Customer Contact Centers - Technology Manager, Southern California Gas Company, Duncan Ashwell, Senior Contract Manager, BC Hydro, Mark Fouts, Executive Manager, Fuel and Corporate Planning, Chugach Electric Association, Inc., Shamus Gamache, Electrical Engineering Supervisor, Central Lincoln PUD, Kathy Oceguera, DOT and Regulatory Compliance Supervisor, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Kumar Valsala, Department Manager, Transmission & Civil/Structural, Burns & McDonnell
If you are a leader involved in making decisions that impact the communities you serve, it is important to recognize cognitive/subconscious biases that may be affecting the way you and your teams make decisions. A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make.
How susceptible is the utility industry to these biases? What can we do to change the way we think about our customers, our workforce, and our capital investments so that we make better decisions that will ensure we continue to operate successfully in an ever changing utility industry?
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Reception, Dinner and Graduation Ceremony for Business Acumen
Dinner sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
Open to all attendees
Updated 9.12.2018: The Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa is currently at capacity on some event nights. There is an overflow block at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach (1 mile away) at the special rate of $179 USD per night plus resort fee of $27 and applicable taxes. To reserve at the Hyatt Regency, contact (888) 421-1442 and reference Western Energy Institute Annual Meeting Overflow – September 22 – 26, 2018. The block will be available until Monday, September 17th, or until the room block is full. A link to the overflow block is available here: https://book.passkey.com/go/WEIANNUAL
To contact the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, call the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to check for room availability. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $209 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until September 21, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.
All networking events are schedule for September 23, 2018.
As of September 14, 2018, both the networking golf and electric bike tour are at capacity. If you would like to be added to a waitlist, please email Anna Sanger Reed. We will contact you if a spot becomes available.
Networking Golf at Oak Creek Golf Club
7:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Registration Fee: $180 USD per person
Refund Policy: No refunds after August 24, 2018
Here is your chance to network with your peers while enjoying a fun round of golf. In true Tom Fazio form, Oak Creek Golf Club beckons the competitive spirit of golf players at all levels. Each of the 18 holes throughout this Orange County golf course presents new challenges amid tapered fairways, scenic greens, beautiful lakes and bull-nose carved bunkers. With dense and dynamic flora, Oak Creek creates a sanctuary not only for your playing experience but for a variety of birds and other fauna as well.
The registration fee includes: greens fee, cart, range balls, water on the cart, a box lunch and transportation to and from the course. Golf Club rental is available to reserve for $50 per set by emailing Mike at email@example.com. Please mention Western Energy Institute in your email.
Networking Electric Bike Tour
12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Registration Fee: $65 USD per person
Refund Policy: No refunds after August 24, 2018
Enjoy a relaxing and fun-filled afternoon as you cruise through Newport Beach on an electric bike! Begin the tour right at the hotel as you depart on an adventure to Balboa Island, a one-of-a-kind, man-made treasure. Next, you’ll head to The Wedge, an area known for its shore-breaking waves of up to 30 feet, for magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and some of California’s most daring surfers. Breathe in some fresh ocean air as you ride down the Balboa Peninsula and historic piers. Your knowledgeable tour-guide will highlight iconic sights and famous spots along the way, and there will be a number of stopping points for networking and purchasing refreshments or snacks along the way. Registration fee includes bike rental, helmet, and tour guide.
Ronald O. (R.O.) Nichols is president of Southern California Edison (SCE). He is responsible for external affairs, compliance, power production and procurement, and other operations. He is a member of SCE’s board of directors.
Nichols has more than 35 years of experience in the electric and water utility industry. He has been a strategic and operational advisor to utilities, state and local government, power suppliers and the financial community on complex energy and utility matters throughout the United States, particularly in the West.
Previously, Nichols was senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Nuclear for SCE, overseeing regulatory policy and affairs, regulatory operations and environmental affairs.
Prior to joining SCE in 2014, Nichols served for three years as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), where he provided leadership for the utility in supplying reliable and competitively priced water and electricity while continuing to maintain and implement environmentally conscious policies and priorities.
Previously, Nichols was a managing director at the energy practice of Navigant Consulting, an international consulting organization with over 2,000 employees. From 1980 to 1997, before his position at Navigant, he was a co-founder and Senior Vice President of the energy and water utility consulting firm, Resource Management International, which was headquartered in Sacramento with offices throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. Prior to starting his energy and water utility consulting career in 1980, he held positions with the California Department of Water Resources and the California Energy Commission.
Nichols is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with a degree in agricultural economics and business management.
Mr. Vermillion has been president of Avista since January 2018 and CEO since October 1, 2019. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of Avista and president of Avista Utilities from 2009 to 2018. He also serves as chairman of the board for Avista subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. Mr. Vermillion joined Avista in 1985 and has held various staff and management positions. His experience covers a broad range of activities, including leadership, energy trading and marketing, risk management, scheduling, resource operations, power/transmission contracting, resource planning and coordination, regulatory issues and production cost modeling. Mr. Vermillion has served as Vice President of Energy Resources for Avista Utilities and prior to that, as President and COO for Avista Energy from February 2001 until its sale in June 2007. He currently serves as a board member for the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Avista Foundation. Mr. Vermillion formerly served on the Boards of Western Energy Institute (WEI) and Spokane County United Way and is a past chairman of the Spokane County campaign. He is a graduate of Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
CEO, The Messina Group, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and President Barack Obama’s 2012 Campaign Manager
Jim Messina is arguably one of the world’s most successful political advisors. The mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Jim Messina seized the reins on what Bloomberg Businessweek dubbed “the highest-wattage crash course in executive management ever undertaken”—and succeeded, earning the President another term in the White House. With the guidance of technology’s foremost leaders, Jim abandoned every step of a traditional presidential campaign and merged technology and politics in a way that was both unpredictable and unprecedented.
Jim’s strategies established the modern presidential campaign—Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt called it “the best-run campaign ever.” The American Association of Political Consultants later crowned him the Campaign Strategist of the Year (2013).
Since then he has gone on to advise Presidents and Prime Ministers on five continents including: UK’s Theresa May and David Cameron, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Italy’s Matteo Renzi and in 2016 helped Spain’s President Mariano Rajoy win a surprising re-election margin.
In 2013, Messina launched The Messina Group. In this role, Messina provides strategic consulting to businesses around the world. The firm has been involved in winning public policy campaigns on five continents. Clients include Uber, Airbnb, Google, Delta Air Lines, Hutchison Whampoa, and over 70 others.
Previously, Jim served as Deputy Chief of Staff in President Barack Obama’s White House, where he was integral to the passage of the historic health care bill, the economic stimulus act credited with saving the US economy, and the landmark repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Messina continues to advise and guide Democratic candidates and organizations at all levels, as well as providing insight on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, BBC and others.
Jim serves on the boards of Organizing for Action (OFA), Virgin HyperloopOne, Google’s Advanced Technology Panel, Vectra.ai, Pillpack, Patient Safety Movement Foundation, LanzaTech, Hyp3r, the United States Soccer Foundation, and the Montana Land Reliance.
Brian D’Agostino is the Director of Fire Science & Climate Adaptation for SDG&E. As director, D’Agostino is responsible for meteorology, fire science, the Community Fire Safety Program and climate adaptation initiatives. D’Agostino joined SDG&E in 2009 and oversaw the development of SDG&E’s weather network, one of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated weather networks. D’Agostino serves as an advisor and former chair of the American Meteorological Society’s National Energy Committee and sits on several advisory committees specializing in climate adaptation and fire science. D’Agostino is a graduate of Plymouth State University with a bachelor of science in meteorology.
I have been employed at FortisBC since 1997. I started as a CO-OP student in the help desk group. Before graduating from Colleague I had a temporary position performing odd jobs on the weekends. After I graduated I started as a technical analyst for a couple years and then moved into a system analyst role where I was responsible for supporting our internal and external websites. I progressed into becoming a SAP developer supporting the HR and Finance groups for a few years. I then proceeded to move into a supervisor role sometime around 2007. My responsibilities where to be oversight for the entire IS group and to interact with all the vendors. From there I was promoted to Manger IS operations which had the same oversight as before but now included the electric scada operations. More recently in 2015 I was encouraged to take on a new role as Manager of Cyber Security.
Harsh Grover is currently leading Smart Distribution Operations at PG&E. She has been with PG&E for eight years and has held several positions of increasing responsibility within the Company, most recently as Manager of Applicant Design in Service Planning and Design. In this role, Harsh led a large team of Program Managers, ADEs and Estimators; and brought significant improvements to the Applicant Design process including reduction of Global and Design Review cycle times for both Gas and Electric. Prior to Applicant Design, Harsh led Emergency, Maintenance and Operations Programs, and held roles in Business Finance supporting Maintenance and Construction.
Prior to joining PG&E, Harsh spent several years with IBM Global Services, KLA-Tencor and KPMG. She holds an MBA in Finance, Marketing and Strategy from the Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University in Utah. She holds a BS in Computer Science and is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified. In her spare time Harsh enjoys traveling and reading.
Josh joined Chelan County PUD in January 2015 in a role titled, Energy Efficiency Advisor. In this position, he manages several efficiency programs that includes HVAC, Weatherization, Lighting and Low Income and others. His job is evaluating current programs, program development, contractor management as well as being responsible for the county’s residential savings and budget targets each year. He also sit on the Residential Advisory Committee and several work groups for Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.
Josh has worked in the energy efficiency profession since 2004. Originally hired at Puget Sound Energy as an Educator, where he spent several years teaching middle school science programs. Josh has bounced between managing residential and commercial efficiency programs for utilities. He holds an education degree from Luther College in Iowa and tries to spend as much time as he can in the mountains.
I joined the ENMAX Legal Services team in 2013. In June, 2018, I moved into my current role as a Director, Legal Services where I continues to act as a legal counsel to internal clients, but also manage a cross functional team of lawyers that provide expertise across the company.
I have gained over 10 years of experience in the legal field and worked at a mid-size private law firm prior to joining ENMAX. My areas of experience and practice include various matters of corporate and commercial law. I aim to provide practical, strategic and timely advice on a variety of general matters for the business including information technology issues, risk management, negotiations, and process improvements.
Outside of work I spend most of my time with my husband and two children. We love to ski, swim, hike, bike and do all things active and outdoors.
Scott has been the Damage Prevention Supervisor for NW Natural since February of 2013. He oversees a team of Damage Prevention Specialists, who perform damage investigations and gas safety and dig law training for excavators and homeowners. Scott is currently the President of the Oregon Utility Coordinating Council and the Vice Chair for the Washington State Dig Law Safety Committee. He is the President of Metro Utility Coordinating Council in Portland, the Klickitat/Skamania Utility Coordinating Council and has served on the Oregon Utility Notification Center Board of Directors representing Natural Gas Distribution. Scott also sits on the advisory board for Clackamas Community College’s Utility Workforce Readiness program. Scott has over 19 years of experience in the natural gas industry to include Construction, Engineering and Quality Assurance.
Brandon Besch has been with SCE since 2004 when he joined the company as an Electrical Engineer working on substation automation projects. Shortly after joining SCE he participated in an engineering job rotation program that gave him experience in areas such as Transmission and Interconnection Planning, Protection Engineering and ultimately Distribution Field Engineering.
In 2008, Brandon joined the Substation Construction and Maintenance organization as a Construction Project Manager working on a wide variety of capital projects that ranged from new substations, to infrastructure upgrades, to large scale substation expansions and rebuilds.
Starting in 2012 Brandon moved into leadership roles in Substation Construction, initially spending several years managing the Substation Construction Project Management group where his organization was responsible for managing hundreds of SCE’s annual substation construction and infrastructure upgrade projects. In 2016 Brandon transitioned to a new role leading Substation Construction Field Forces, where he was responsible for an organization of 175 craft personnel that perform a wide variety of construction activities on capital projects.
In January 2019 Brandon moved into the role of Principal Manager of Substation Construction where he was responsible for the Construction Management, Field Forces, Material Operations, Start-Up Engineering and Quality Control.
Most recently, Brandon was assigned to a new role in Substation Construction & Maintenance as the Principal Manager of Work Management and Technical Services, where he is responsible for the construction management, strategic planning and performance management for the organization as well as the compliance and maintenance programs and technical support of field operations.
Outside of work Brandon enjoys traveling with his wife, and taking advantage of California’s many outdoor activities like camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing, and surfing.
Jared Ellsworth joined Idaho Power in 2004 as a Distribution Planning Engineer. Jared spent time working in several different Areas at Idaho Power as a Dist. Planning Engineering before transitioning to System Planning in 2007. After a one-year temporary assignment in Grid Operations, Jared moved into his current role as a the Engineering Leader of Idaho Power’s Transmission Policy & Development group. Jared oversees Idaho Power’s Local and Regional Transmission Planning, transmission related capital projects, WECC path rating studies, and mid to long-term transmission strategy.
Jared received his BS in Electrical Engineering, and Masters of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 2004 and 2010 and professional engineering license in 2008. Jared, and his wife, are the proud parents of two wonderful daughters (5 and 2).
My name is Kumail Moledina and I am presently the Senior Manager for Electrical and Maintenance Services at ATCO Electric. My responsibilities presently include oversight for substation maintenance, telecommunications maintenance, isolated operations, telecom tower maintenance, commissioning of electrical assets and the ATCO Electric panel shop
I started my career in 2002 with Schlumberger. I was an electrical engineer and had the opportunity to travel to approximately 25 countries over 9 years. This involved overseeing several projects from conception to completion (installation) for various clients. The primary function was based around design and commissioning of Variable Speed Drive (VSD) skids for different environments.
In 2011 I joined ATCO electric as construction engineer. Since this role I have had the positions manager of construction planning and technical services, manager of site management (contractor construction) and my present role which is described above.
I received my BSc in Electrical Engineering in 2002 and professional engineering license (P. Eng) in 2006. I am a proud father of two boys (1 and 3) and have been married for seven years.
I came to Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in 2004 as an electrical engineer in our Substation Field Engineering Department. Through my years at PSE, I’ve had many great opportunities to work in different departments and gain insight into our industry from different perspectives. I worked as a maintenance planner, construction manager, Supervisor of Operations, special projects that brought Outage Management System into Operations and also a short time in our Change Management Organization. Most recently, I’m the Manager of Substation and Relay Operations, where I’m responsible for maintaining and constructing our substation and protection systems. Prior to PSE, I worked at Tacoma Power in the Transmission and Distribution Planning Department and nine years in the High Tech Industry working for Intel in Oregon and Silicon Valley. I have Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Electric Engineering.
Teala is the manager Customer Service at New Mexico Gas Company. She has a wide range of responsibilities, from ensuring great customer service to more than half a million customers to working on introducing new features to meet customer needs, as well as attracting, keeping and promoting top talent in the organization. Teala started her career in the utility business as an intern in college and has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. She has a background in corporate communications and economic development and has been through several utility mergers and acquisitions. She has been in her role in customer service for more than 2 years.
I have been at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) since 2000. I started as a student intern in the procurement organization working on a variety of contracting actions. After a year I graduated from Portland State University with a business degree and was made permanent in the position. Three years later I became a team lead and about two years after that a supervisor managing our commercial materials purchasing department. I have since managed our construction management contracting team and now I manage our service acquisition team. I have bought or managed nearly everything BPA buys and have enjoyed every minute.
Chris Noble joined Mountain Fuel in December 1988. Mountain Fuel later changed it’s name to Questar and in 2016, Questar joined Dominion Energy. Chris moved into his current role as Operations System Support Manager/Western Gas Distribution in 2017 where he oversees the High Pressure, Measurement & Control, Meter Shop, Cathodic Protection and Leak Survey.
While starting his energy career as a meter reader in Sandy City, Utah, Chris attended college studying accounting and the electrical trade. Chris also has experience as a Collector, Service Technician, Ask-A-Tech, System Integrity Technician and Cathodic Protection Technician. Chris has also had various foreman and supervisor roles.
Chris has experience remodeling and framing houses, building log homes and had the opportunity to live and work as a missionary in London, England 1986-1988. Chris also enjoys golfing and fishing and is married and has one son and two daughters.
Claire Lloyd joined Seattle City Light in 2014 as executive engineering manager of substations. Her responsibilities include substations, protection, automation, security and City Light communications systems. She is the manager responsible for the new Denny Substation, Seattle City Light’s largest substation and the first built in over 30 years. Prior to joining Seattle, Claire worked at Tacoma Power in engineering and management positions responsible for generation, hatcheries, compliance, energy management and smart technology. Claire has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Washington. She enjoys scuba diving, skiing, hiking and running with her husband, daughter and son. Claire supports science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) development as a mentor in programs for middle and high school robotics teams.
Daniel Honeyfield joined Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in August 2015 as a Principal Electrical Engineer. In January 2017, he was promoted into his current role as the Engineering Manager of Transmission & Distribution Maintenance Planning where he oversees the development of yearly Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and Capital plans for all SMUD-owned substations and transmission & distribution lines that ensure SMUD’s compliance with Federal & State regulations.
With over 14 years in the utility industry, Daniel’s experience combines both private business and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining SMUD, Daniel worked for the City of Riverside Public Utilities from 2007 – 2015 with increasing responsibilities. His last role there was utilities senior electric engineer where he supervised professional and technical personnel in their Electric System Planning Department. His previous employment also includes engineering roles at Jacobs Engineering from 2006 – 2007 and Verizon from 2004 – 2006. Daniel received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and his MBA, with emphasis in Technology Management, from the University of Phoenix. He also holds a PE license with the state of California. He is married and has two children, Leah and Nolan.
I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation I began my Engineering career working at North Star Steel Az. While at North Star Steel I worked as a Process Engineer, Reliability Engineer and Manager of the Rod Block Process. I worked at North Star Steel for 5 ½ years. I then switched to the Utility Industry and began working for Arizona Public Service (APS). I currently have worked for APS for 15 years. During my career for APS I have worked at two coal fired power plants (Cholla Power Plant and Four Corners Power Plant). I have had the opportunity to work as an Engineer, Engineering Manager and I have been a Production Manager at both Plants.
Tanya is the Manager of IT Customer Solutions at FortisAlberta. She is responsible for the IT portfolio managing all applications that directly serve FortisAlberta’s customers including those supporting customer mobile applications, the web, new service connections, billing, metering and load settlement.
In this role, Tanya’s primary goal is to ensure that IT application maintenance and deployment of new capabilities is aligned with the business objective of serving our customers in the ways that matter most to them.
With over 15 years of experience in the utilities industry, Tanya has fulfilled various roles from technical consultant through project manager. Tanya holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada and enjoys the daily adventure of being Mom to 3 boys.
Brandon Sax started with Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) September of 2013 as a Financial Analyst within the Financial Planning and Analysis team. In February of 2016, Brandon became the supervisor of the Treasury Services team where he manages the company’s cash and short term investments, makes short term borrowing decisions, and manages the companies treasury bank relationships.
Brandon has 14 years of financial experience within the utility industry and the financial services industry. Prior to joining TEP Brandon held positions at a large southern Arizona credit union, VantageWest Credit Union, within their business and commercial lending department. His experience in credit underwriting, financial analysis, and cash management have enabled him to fully engage in the financial operations of TEP. Brandon holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Accounting and an MBA in Finance and holds the Certified Treasury Professional designation.
Brittany Applestein Syz is Director of Clean Transportation San Diego Gas & Electric Company. She focuses on SDG&E’s electric vehicle infrastructure strategy. Prior to this role, she was Senior Counsel, Real Estate.
Prior to SDG&E she worked as General Counsel and VP of Business Development at Oberon Fuels, an alternative fuels producer. She developed and maintained partner relationships, assisted with product strategy, and analyzed new business opportunities. Before Oberon, Brittany practiced transactional law at Solomon Minton Cardinal LLP in San Diego and Morrison Foerster in San Francisco. She specialized in real estate and corporate transactional matters.
She continues uses her legal experience to work on pro bono cases regarding affordable housing, housing rights, and immigration rights. Brittany was awarded the 40 Under 40 by San Diego Metro in 2013 and a Top Young Attorney by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2012. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University, obtained her master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and received her law degree cum laude from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
I am a registered Professional Engineer and hold bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Psychology, both from the University of Manitoba. I am currently the Director of Engineering & Fleet Maintenance at ENMAX Energy Corporation overseeing maintenance engineering and major outage planning and execution for ENMAX’s combined cycle and simple cycle generating stations and district heating station. I joined ENMAX in February 2017.
Prior to joining ENMAX, I was with the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) for 9 years, most recently as the Director of Operations Planning & Engineering overseeing planning and engineering support for the operation of the Alberta electric transmission system, including power system restoration planning. While at the AESO, I also held the positions of Director of Transmission System Planning, Energy Strategy Program Director, and Director of Commercial Services.
Prior to joining the AESO, I spent nine years at Manitoba Hydro in a variety of engineering roles, including Thermal Maintenance Engineer, Reliability Centred Maintenance Engineer, Resource Evaluation Engineer, Export Market Analysis Engineer, and Section Head of Thermal Resource Evaluation.
I joined Dominion Energy (then Questar Gas) in 2011 as a Customer Care representative. I was most recently in the CIS Maintenance department where I helped to maintain and to improve the customer information/billing system, working closely with programmers, system business owners and those in technical support. In late 2017, I was given the opportunity to move to my current position, as a supervisor in the Customer Service Center. I supervise a few Customer Care representatives, but my main responsibilities are over the training and Quality Assurance department. We provide support and training for policies, procedures and systems for all incoming Customer Care representatives in order to provide the best and most efficient customer service for our customers. I received a dual BA in Journalism (with an emphasis on Public Relations) and Speech Communications from the University of Nevada, Reno and received my MBA in 2014. I am married to my best friend, Dillon, and together, we have two little boys, ages 2 and 5.
I have been employed with Asplundh Construction Corp since early 2014. I started as a Planner and designed for about eighteen months under our California clients. In late 2015, I joined Asplundh’s Special Projects division which gave me the opportunity to not only plan/design, but to also travel and expand Asplundh’s Planning territory with new utility partners. In October of 2016, I was given the opportunity to manage the front-line operation of Asplundh’s Special Projects Northwest Division, which is my current role. Prior to my employment with Asplundh, I worked (interned) for Southern California Edison Company in Logistics/Scheduling and Planning departments during my Junior/Senior years in High School. Upon graduation and two years in internship, I transitioned to a full-time Program/Project Analyst position in Planning, where I spent the following two years. I departed from the Company after nearly four years. I’ve been in the industry for about eight years.
Paul Good started with Avista Utilities in 2005 as a Customer Project Coordinator in charge of designing the electric and natural gas infrastructures for commercial and residential developments in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. In 2008 he started designing re-conductor projects for the company until accepting his current role in 2010 as the Natural Gas Operations Manager in Coeur d’ Alene where he supervises the daily operations all crews and first responders in the district. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Whitworth University and is married with two children.
I have been in the NERC compliance area for 7 years and have been the Manager of the NERC team for the past 4 years. Our team is charged with documenting compliance to the NERC Standards and preparing NorthWestern Energy for audits. Most recently, I was named the Manager of FERC Compliance. This is a very different area of compliance and I am excited for the opportunity to grow. I am a CPA and have an MBA and have worked in the corporate accounting world for 23 years prior.
I have been married to John, my high school sweetheart, for 30 years and have 2 children, Britt, 18 and Zach 15. I am an avid sports fan and I love to golf.
Devin joined BC Hydro in 2007 and in his current role is responsible for the safe delivery of capital construction projects, maintenance, and emergency support for Vancouver Island. Devin is also Construction Services subject matter expert for Transmission projects province wide. Prior to his current role, Devin was a Field Operations manager, managing Transmission Services largest portfolio for 7 years. Devin led the safe implementation of aircraft operations and was pivotal in developing procedures such as Platform, Hoist, and Class D Rescue which have positively changed the way work is executed in Transmission today. Devin’s resilience allows him to effectively lead teams of people through stressful situations and he is recognized as the Transmission SME for his counsel and technical guidance. He has successfully lead teams through major emergencies province wide such as the Fraser River Tower Failure and Samsung Narrows Conductor Failure.
Devin played a key role in implementing BC Hydro’s Transmission Maintenance program for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Then in 2014, Devin was seconded as the Project Manager for the ILM project where he was responsible for leading a team of Construction crews to deliver the Spuzzum section of the 500kV line. In this role, Devin frequently interacted with high profile clients and executives to ensure successful completion of the ILM project. Devin’s passion for safety and his instinctive ability to lead crews allowed him to achieve 230,000 man hours without a single time loss accident. As a result of this achievement, Devin was recognized with an Award of Honor in Safety.
I joined Tacoma Public Utility in 2015 as their Fleet Manager. Prior to that I spent 23 years in the corporate world with Ryder Transportation. Between the private and public sector I have 25 years of experience in the transportation field. I have been married for 30 years and have two daughters and a son as well as two granddaughters.
Ken Murray joined Central Lincoln People’s Utility District in early 2013 and promoted within the year to his current position as Information Technology Supervisor. Prior to Central Lincoln, Ken spent nearly six years serving the local Lincoln County Government IT department, specializing in systems administration and standardized departmental processes. Ken started his career as a US Navy Pilot, serving both as a Strategic Command resource and Instructor Pilot. Ken is an Oregon State Alumni with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration – Management Information Systems.
With a career built on Government Service, Ken now enjoys having a direct impact on his community through the evolution and use of technology as a sustainable way to provide exceptional electric service while keeping rates low. Ken is happily married and has two daughters.
Steve has been with POWER Engineers for 17 years and has served in a variety of roles. He currently serves as a Project Manager for Electric Transmission and Distribution projects. His experience includes management, technical direction and coordination on transmission line and substation projects. His experience includes all facets of transmission line design at HV and EHV voltage levels, including conceptual routing studies, development of design criteria, detailed transmission line design for new and upgraded/reconductored lines along with thermal re-rating analysis, estimating, and expert testimony. Steve is a licensed professional engineer in several states and holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Idaho and an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Washington.
Suneel Singh joined the Southern California Gas Company in 1998. She started as a Region Associate Engineer in Gas Distribution. As a Region Associate Engineer she performed analysis on the Gas Distribution System, prepared engineering designs involving measurement and regulation, responded to emergency incidents within Technical Services. After two years, Suneel transferred to Measurement, Regulation, and Control and expanded her skills by conducting analysis to design regulator stations and meter-set-assemblies. Suneel has held positions in various departments over the years and is currently the Planning and Engineering Manager in Distribution Gas Operations. In this role, she manages the Northwest Region Capital Budget, provides leadership for the establishment of standards and specifications for pipeline systems, and components as well as policies and procedures for Company-wide compliance with State and Federal pipeline safety requirements. Furthermore, she provides engineering analysis and emergency response support for the pipeline system in Northwest Region. Suneel received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Faranak Sarbaz started her career with City of Los Angels in 1992, as an Electrical Enginner. She joined Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Water System, Projects Group in 2001. she transferred to Power System working in distribution in 2006, and was promoted as a Group Lead in Engineering Division, Major Projects. Faranak moved to Ttransmission Planning in 2008 to supervise LADWP System Planning. In April of 2018, she was promoted a Power Engineer Manager of Transmission Planning and Contracts, responsible for Long Term Transmission Assessment of High Voltage AC and DC system, and Contracts, compliance with State, City, and regulatory mandates related to Bulk Electric System, and coordinate the external Transmission Planning work for LADWP system with other utilities.
Faranak holds a Bachelor Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from CSULB, and a Master of Business Administration from USC.
I have been employed at Hydro One since 2006. I started in the field as Protection and Control Engineer where I was accountable to maintain and commission protection, control and telecom equipment. Over the years I transitioned into multiple roles and capacities including Project Manager, Change Consultant/Facilitator, Engineering Production Support Manager, Manager of Transmission Investment Capital Planning and most currently the Director of Project Delivery. Within my current role I manage a team of approximately 100 people accountable for Project Management and Outage Planning for the execution and delivery of the Transmission Stations, Transmission Lines and Distribution Stations capital portfolio within Hydro One.
Previous to joining Hydro One, I spent 5 years in the Automotive Sector designing, commissioning and launching automated robotic assembly lines for a variety of customers throughout North America.
I am a graduate from Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, ON) with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and hold a licence to practice as a Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario. I also hold a designation as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certificate in Organization Development.
Joe Varela joined Southwest Gas Corporation (SWG) as a college intern in 1990. After graduating from The University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, Joe began his full-time career at SWG in Operations. In 1998, Joe became an Industrial Gas Engineer in Key Account Management. There he supported the continued use of natural gas and promoted new uses with SWG’s commercial/industrial customers. Joe has negotiated service agreements, and bypass rate agreements. In his current role as Energy Solutions manager, Joe focuses on economic development for SWG through the promotion of emerging natural gas technologies such as compressed natural gas, renewable natural gas and combined heat and power. Joe also oversees SWG’s new Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) program that is moving the company into new areas of service that could result in significant increased margin for the company. Joe was part of a team that pursued and received approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission for a compression tariff and a renewable natural gas tariff.
Joe holds an MBA from the University of Arizona. His industry experiences combine operations, sales, regulatory, public affairs and customer management.
Katelyn Twiggs is the Regional Account Manager for the Rockies West region at T.D. Williamson (TDW), specializing in Pipeline Integrity services (ILI, NDE, Turnkey Solutions). In this position she is responsible for providing technical expertise and support to regional oil and gas operators to help provide pipeline solutions that are aligned with current oil and gas industry requirements and meet their individual pipeline integrity needs. She has been in this role for three years. Katelyn originally joined TDW in 2011 after graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science, and has worked in various roles at TDW, including Human Resources, Operations, and Sales. Katelyn currently lives in Chicago, where she loves spending time with her husband, Kyle, and their two Shih Tzus, Maizi and Sophie.
Michael Ansbergs joined Portland General Electric in 2015 as a supervisor of transmission engineering & specialized design. In August 2016, his role expanded to include oversight of a larger group, T&D Project Engineering, that’s responsible for engineering, design, and project management of transmission and distribution projects, various capital programs, and large municipal and key customer projects. Prior to joining PGE, he worked for PacifiCorp in their engineering organization.
Michael has 17+ years of experience in project management, cost estimating, and engineering in the electrical industry. This includes time spent working directly for an electrical contractor, and large industrial customer prior to joining the utility sector. In addition to his management duties, he also represents PGE as the liaison for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Eastern Oregon University, a certificate in Energy Innovation and Emerging Technology from Stanford University, and is currently pursuing an MBA through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Nicole Moreland joined Snohomish County Public Utility District in 2010 as an Energy Efficiency Program Manager. Her first assignment was to launch and manage an ARRA grant-funded, community-oriented energy efficiency program that focused on removing barriers to participation for “hard-to-reach” customers: small businesses, multi-family, and lower-income residential. In 2013, she helped create the Business Operations function within the Customer & Energy Services division and has served as its Manager since that time. Her team develops and manages the division’s annual budget, works with project leaders to develop a wide variety of contracts, manages energy efficiency reporting and audits by regulatory bodies, leads continuous improvement projects, and works closely with Finance, Accounting, Legal, Facilities, and others to meet the division’s business needs.
Earlier in her career, Nicole was a Project Manager opening new bookstores across the U.S. and internationally. Driven by a passion for sustainability, she then worked in commercial real estate development at a firm strongly committed to green building prior to joining Snohomish County PUD. She holds a BA in Biology from Reed College and an MBA from University of Washington. Each year she escapes the grey Pacific Northwest winter for a week, visiting family in San Diego where she grew up.
Joy Mastache joined SMUD in 2016 as a senior attorney. She provides legal and technical expertise and direction on a variety of regulatory and operational matters in the utility’s legal office. She advises management and staff regarding energy, gas and facility related matters.
As a senior attorney, Mastache’s focus is on understanding the complex and changing statutes and regulations that govern the energy industry to address the unique legal needs that arise in connection with the generation, procurement, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy.
Mastache is responsible for handling legal matters, including contested proceedings, contract negotiations and regulatory compliance issues. By focusing on both transactional and regulatory aspects of energy projects, Mastache provides guidance relating to SMUD’s current legal needs, as well as identifying and mitigating potential future legal issues.
Previously, Mastache served as General Counsel for the Modesto Irrigation District advising the elected board regarding a broad array of energy and water matters. She is currently a member of the State Bar of California, the Energy Bar Association and the Anthony Kennedy American Inn of Court. She earned her juris doctor at Hastings College of Law. She received her bachelor’s degree in speech communication and English at Drake University, Des Moines.
I have been employed at FortisBC since 2005 where I started as a Customer Service Representative. I have performed many roles while at FortisBC. I’ve been in my current role since 2011 where, initially, I had a very small team whose main responsibility was to act as a bridge between the business and information systems, specifically for the electric Customer Information System (CIS). Over the last seven years, the team has tripled and our portfolio has expanded to include our Meter Data Management system (MDMS), Mobile Workforce Management system (MWFM), Outage Management System (OMS) as well as several other new integrations with our CIS. In September of 2013, I was given the opportunity to act as a Project Manager for the technology portion of our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project which was successfully implemented in July of 2015. This year, I’m excited to bring our gas team under my portfolio along with several gas applications include SAP (billing & metering), CIC, Account Online and our Mobile App. I have a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Business Analysis certificate. I have lived in four countries and eight provinces. I am married and love to travel.
My career in the power industry started in 2005 as an Apprentice Lineman working for various contractors. In 2006 I continued my apprenticeship with Turlock Irrigation District where I achieved Journeyman Lineman status. As a lineman I worked on 12Kv U.G. and O.H. distribution along with 69Kv, 115Kv, and 230Kv transmission. In Spring of 2014 I was offered the position of Line Division Manager where I scheduled crews, helped re-structure our apprenticeship program, and worked with engineering to help create practical solutions for improving the reliability of the District. During the summer of 2017 I moved to Washington State to work for Snohomish County PUD as a Line Superintendent. In this role I am responsible for leading Line Crews, Servicemen, Restoration, and our Heavy Equipment & Yard Operations.
In addition to my career in the Utility Industry, I have two young boys 1 and 2 years old and we enjoy such family activities as camping and sailing.
Tiffany Urland has worked for Cascade Natural Gas for 11 years and is currently the Manager, Compliance & Operations Programs in Mount Vernon, Washington. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Minor concentration in Psychology. Tiffany is very involved in the community, including Leadership Skagit graduate (2013) and coach (2014). She is a member of the Mount Vernon Chamber, a Past President & Board President (2014-2015) of the Mount Vernon Noon Rotary and their respective Foundation. Tiffany was a founding member of the Community and Tesoro Advisory Group (CTAG), and has served on the Board of the United Way of Skagit County since 2013 and is currently the Resource Development Chair and member of the Executive Committee. This year she will present again at the Western Energy Institute annual conference and participate in their Business Acumen Course. She enjoys running and completed her first half -marathon in 2017.
Hello my name is Leonard Huynh and I am presently the Manager for Asset Capital Programs at Enmax in Calgary, AB. I am extremely new to my present role; started Jan 8. My group is responsible for determining asset health, developing replacement and maintenance programs and oversight of the programs during execution. I am Professional Electric Engineer and I have been with ENMAX my entire 16 year career. I have extensive experience the in design and construction of Substation and Light Right Transit Systems. Prior to my present role, I was the Manager of Engineering.
I see my participation in this program as an opportunity to see how other companies operate, meet some great people and learn a few things about leaderships. I am really look forward to this opportunity.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my loving wife and my sometimes adorable dog. I am sports nut. I play a lot of golf and tennis in the summer and enjoy a variety of other fitness activities year round.
Lorraine is an Electrical Engineer with a Masters in Business Administration. She has been with Hydro One, an electricity transmission and distribution company, for over 13 years and is currently a Superintendent of Stations Services. In her role, she is responsible for over 100 field staff that in-service and maintain over 40 transformer stations and 300 distribution stations. She worked within several other functions within the organization including Engineering, Hydro One’s SAP implementation, Field Supervision, Technical Services, and Project Delivery where she was the Manager of Major Projects responsible for executing a $250M capital work program. In her free time she enjoys reading, playing basketball, and swimming.
Ashley McDermott leads the enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Center of Excellence for Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Launched in June of 2017, this effort is focused on delivering technology for automation of repetitive, standardized workflows with the intention of creating capacity, company-wide, to do more of the value add work we’ll need in the future. For the year and a half prior to this role, Ashley served as Chief of Staff to PG&E’s Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of IT & Supply Chain , Karen Austin. As an employee since 2009, Ashley has held various roles in lean process improvement/affordability, project delivery, and contract negotiations throughout her time with PG&E.
Ashley holds dual degrees from the University of San Diego (USD), with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a B.A. in Psychology. Ashley also was captain of USD’s Division I Women’s Soccer team. Ashley lives in San Francisco with her husband and is most passionate about family, dry erase boards, the San Francisco Giants, and fitness.
Kyle Stewart joined Puget Sound Energy in 2014 and works in Finance as Manager Energy Risk Control, Credit & Analytics supporting the company’s Energy Supply and Hedging Operations. Key responsibilities of the mid-office include providing trading governance, risk oversight and managing the stochastic asset models that support portfolio trading limits, outlook projections and energy supply costs for the 5-year strategic plan.
Kyle has over 10 years of progressive experience in operations management, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Management from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing his MBA at Seattle University. In his free time he also serves as Treasurer for a non-profit organization that assists law enforcement response and support for trauma victims.
Steve Moser has been in the utility industry for more than 20 years and has been employed by Idaho Power since 1996. He started as a meter specialist, quickly progressed to a lineman, served as a safety professional and then became a line crew foreman for 2.5 years. In January 2014, Steve moved to his current role as Area Manager for the Long Valley Operations Center in McCall, Idaho, managing 15 employees and customer operations in a region with 17,000 customers across 1800 square miles. He is responsible for emergency response, planned and unplanned maintenance, and new business.
Steve is a member of the McCall Rotary Club and engages with the local community as Idaho Power’s key contact. He has been married for 20 years and has one daughter who is a junior in high school.
Jenna Rowell joined Arizona Public Service in 2012 to lead a newly formed employee communications team. She moved to Community Affairs in late 2014, overseeing a team of community affairs managers based around the APS service territory to manage relationships with public officials, community leaders and non-profit partners. In January 2018 she accepted a new role as manager, media relations responsible for the company’s reputation and issues management with media outlets as well as crisis communications. Her more than 20 years’ experience in all facets of corporate communications has spanned diverse industries including copper mining, oil and gas, retail electricity (Texas) and aerospace. She has an MBA from the University of Houston and a B.S. in public relations and a B.A. in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. She is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators and Six Sigma Green Belt certified.
Paula Yang is currently the Manager of the (Power System) Asset Management Section with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. She has over 32 years of service with LADWP, joining LADWP in 1984 after working 2 years for Bechtel Power Corporation. Paula started her career in structural design and moved through LADWP working in a variety of different organizations. She has worked in the areas of environmental licensing, power contract development, groundwater management, legislative affairs management, and corporate asset management. Paula is a licensed Civil Engineer and earned her BS in Civil Engineering and BS in Materials Science & Engineering from UC Berkeley and an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California. She is married and has two sons.
As Snr. Contract Manager, I manage a team that oversees our Contracted Distribution PLT workforce, completing work throughout BC, Canada. Prior to this, I am fortunate to have worked in the Utility Industry across a wide variety of roles that have challenged me through my career; first as a Wholesale Trading and Risk Analyst with Mighty River Power in New Zealand, then in Asset Management, Resource Management, and Program Manager for 14,000 annual Wood Pole Replacements – all for BC Hydro. My formal education background is in Engineering, Economics, and recently completing the three levels of CFA exams.
Moving across the globe was fuelled by adventure and a love of the outdoors (mountain biking, snowboarding and hiking), adventures I look forward to sharing with my very young daughter.
Mark Fouts is with Chugach Electric Association in Anchorage, Alaska. He started as a generation Planning Engineer and moved up to Manager of the Corporate Planning and Analysis department. He managed resource, business and strategic planning. His next assignment was negotiating long-term natural gas supply agreements, and creating a gas scheduling department. His current role is the Executive Manager of Fuel and Corporate Planning. In this role he is focused on securing long-term natural gas supplies and creating a joint dispatch process among the local electric utilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Alaska.
I joined Central Lincoln in 2007 as a Systems Engineer after receiving my Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Oregon State University. In 2012 I received my Professional Engineering License thru the State of Oregon and advanced to a Senior Systems Engineer (Electrical) in charge of larger capitol Substation projects. In 2017 I accepted the position of Supervisor of the Electrical Engineering group in charge of Substations and the Communication Fiber and Microwave Network System. Over the past 11+ years I have been fortunate to be part of a major overhaul of our SCADA system, the substation protection system, Substation Design, Engineering, Construction and also assisting in efforts towards making our system more Resilient in the event of a natural disaster. In 2010 Central Lincoln were recipients of the United States Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant (USDOE – SGIG) which we nicknamed Smart Grid 2020. This grant enabled us to not only deploy a very successful AMI system but also began our Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR), Substation Upgrades in the substation panel house(s), Redundant Network Fiber paths, Enhanced Cyber Security and Distribution Automation (DA) which was the project I was most responsible for. When I am not working on helping to do my part to keep the lights on the Central Oregon Coast I mostly enjoy spending time with my family in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.
Kumar Valsala is the Department Manager for the Transmission & Civil/Structural department of T&D Division in California. His responsibilities include managerial direction, business development and leadership of the Department, working directly with the T&D Operations Manager. Engineers spread across California report to him and he is responsible for their career development and overall growth.
With a strong 13+ year career path, Kumar’s experience includes the design and analysis of HV/EHV Overhead Transmission Line projects ranging from 60-kV up to 500-kV. He has contributed to the successful completion of transmission line projects from inception to construction including the design and analysis of new transmission lines and the reconductoring of existing transmission lines utilizing the modeling program PLS-CADD, structural analysis of steel lattice towers, steel and wood poles using the programs PLS-TOWER and PLS-POLE respectively.
Kumar graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering in 2006 from the University of Kansas and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California.
Vijay leads the Tech, Media, Telecom (TMT) industry Cyber capabilities, assisting clients with transforming their business and IT processes to manage risk and meet their business objectives. Vijay has assisted FORTUNE 100 companies during their breach response, forensic investigation and implementing remediation capabilities. He’s actively leading development of innovative digital security solutions, leveraging analytics platform, ML / AI models, and to balance security and user experience. Vijay is assisting clients solve foundational challenges (with automation and process re-engineering) like vulnerability mgmt, access and authorizations, risk quantification and analytics, and providing insights to Board / Sr. execs, to make risk based decisions. Vijay has an MBA in Telecommunications & International Finance and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Information Security Manager, and Certified Chief Information Security Officer.