Sep

23-25

Annual Meeting (Sep 23-25)

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.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Ronald O. Nichols, President, Southern California Edison

    • Program Location
    • Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa
    • 900 Newport Center Drive
      Newport Beach, California 92660
    • Who Should Attend
      • Energy industry executives
      • WEI Board of Directors
      • Executive Planning Committees
      • Service company providers
      • Senior management professionals
  • Registration Options
  • 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.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Anna Sanger Reed, Director of Customer + Corporate Programs at (503) 688-2795.

Agenda

Sunday, September 23, 2018

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

Welcome Reception

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Board of Directors Dinner - Offsite

Invitation only. Open to board members and invited guests.

Monday, September 24, 2018

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

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

Networking Break

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, Vice President and General Counsel, 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.

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM

Networking Break

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Responding to Cybersecurity Incidents
Speaker(s): Michael Gomez, 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.

12:15 AM - 2:00 PM

Lunch + The Power of Lateral Thinking
Speaker(s): Shane Snow, Bestselling Author of Smarcuts & Co-Founder, Contently

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

Break

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, Interim CEO, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, Tim Bleakley, Head of Strategy Practice and Power and Renewables Consulting, Wood Mackenzie, Arne Olson, Partner, 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

Break

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Concurrent Meetings

Invitation only

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

Platinum/Gold + 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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and 2019 Western Energy Institute Theme
Speaker(s): Dennis Vermillion, President, Avista Corp.

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Networking Break

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Industry Session Breakout 1

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Industry Session Breakout 2

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Break

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

Industry Session Breakout 3

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

Industry Session Breakout 4

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Break

11:30 AM - 12:15 AM

Industry Session Breakout 5

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Industry Session Breakout 6

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Lunch

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 7

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 8

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Break

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 9

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 10

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Break

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 12

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Industry Session Breakout 11

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Reception, Dinner and Graduation Ceremony for Business Acumen

Open to all attendees

Hotel + Travel

  • Surround yourself in luxury and convenience at Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Enjoy easy access to California's most pristine beaches, affluent areas including Corona del Mar, popular attractions such as Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Balboa Island and premier shopping and dining at Fashion Island. Slumber in style in our Newport Beach hotel's spacious guest rooms and suites featuring sweeping Pacific Ocean views, chic decor, plush furnishings and expansive marble bathrooms. Our unique Newport Beach conference venues are ideal for productive meetings and unforgettable weddings. Treat yourself to tranquility at Pure Blu, our full-service spa offering private cabanas, a saltwater lap pool and state-of-the-art fitness center. Savor exquisite dining at Sam & Harry's, our renowned steakhouse serving fresh seafood, prime filets and an extensive wine list. Indulge in a specialty beverage and fresh pastry from our Starbucks. Experience the authentic SoCal lifestyle at Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 228-9290 to reserve your room. 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.

Networking

All networking events are schedule for September 23, 2018.

Networking Golf at Oak Creek Golf Club
7:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Registration Fee: $180 USD per person
Capacity: 40
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 mtripp@oakcreekgolfclub.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
Capacity: 30
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.

Program Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors
ABDD-01Booz-01Bridge-01Burns + McDonnell-01Copperleaf-01HDR-01Henkels + McCoy-01Honeywell-01Itron-01-01KPMG-01Landis+Gyr-01Potelco-01Rokstad-01-01SAP-01Sheffield-01Siemens-01

Gold Sponsors
ActiveTelesource-01Acros-01Asplundh-01 Barnard-01Black + Veatch-01Esource-01Energy Care-01HGCA-01IBM-01 Nexant-01PrintSEL-01-01     snelson_300dpiTDW-03-01The HDD Company-01vertexone logo w-tagline NEWWilson Construction-01

Session Sponsors

Meet The Speakers

Ronald O. Nichols

Southern California Edison

President

Dennis Vermillion

Avista Corp.

President
Learn More

Dennis Vermillion is currently president of Avista Corporation. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors for Avista Corp. subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company.

Dennis 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. Previously, Dennis served as senior vice president of Avista Corp. and president of Avista Utilities, vice president of energy resources for Avista Utilities and prior to that, as president and chief operating officer for Avista Energy from February 2001 until its sale in June 2007.

He is a 1985 graduate of Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He currently serves as a board member for the Spokane County United Way and the Avista Foundation.

Jim Messina

The Messina Group

CEO
Learn More

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.

Ralph Cavanagh

Natural Resources Defense Council

Energy Program Co-Director

Jody Freeman

Harvard Law School

Professor of Law, Director, Environmental Law Program

Heather Grahame

NorthWestern Energy

Vice President and General Counsel

Daniel Kammen

University of California, Berkeley

Professor of Energy

Robert Rowe

NorthWestern Energy

President and Chief Executive Officer

Brian D’Agostino

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaption

Michael Gomez

KPMG LLP

Principal

Caroline Winn

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Chief Operating Officer

Steve Goodwill

Western Electricity Coordinating Council

Interim CEO

Tim Bleakley

Wood Mackenzie

Head of Strategy Practice and Power and Renewables Consulting

Shane Snow

Contently

Bestselling Author of Smarcuts & Co-Founder

Arne Olson

E3

Partner