Sep

15-17

Annual Meeting (Sep 15-17)

This three-day event brings 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)
  • Dennis Vermillion, President, Avista

    • Program Location
    • Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
    • 2100 Costa Del Mar Road
      Carlsbad, California 92009
    • Who Should Attend
      • Energy industry executives 
      • WEI Board of Directors 
      • Executive Planning Committees 
      • Service company providers 
      • Senior management professionals
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $1,049 USD

    Registration price increases $150 after August 16, 2019. Registration includes meeting materials, 1 reception, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 breaks, all presentations and panel discussions, 1 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 15, 2019

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Optional Networking Golf

See Networking tab for details.

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Women in Leadership

Current Women in Leadership Participants Only

12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Optional Networking Electric Bike Tour

See Networking tab for details.

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

Sponsored by Landis+Gyr

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Board of Directors Dinner

Invitation only. Open to board members and invited guests.

Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell

Monday, September 16, 2019

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Check In + Nametag Pickup

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast + Opening Remarks
Speaker(s): Dennis Vermillion, President, Avista Corp.

Breakfast will be served at 7:00 am, with opening remarks beginning at 7:45 am.

Sponsored by Wood

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Embedding Innovation into Everyone's DNA
Speaker(s): Duncan Wardle, Former VP of Innovation & Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, Founder, id8 & innov8 LLC,

Sharing from his time spent embedding a culture of innovation at Disney, Duncan Wardle now empowers teams from all companies to embrace their inner entrepreneur, teaching tangible tools and techniques that give everyone access to their own creative ideas, and thus developing your company’s culture so that it’s primed and ready for innovation.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Networking Break

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Panel: Transforming the Utility Business Model
Moderator(s): Jan Vrins, Global Energy Practice Leader, Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Panelist(s): Maryam Brown, President, Southern California Gas Company, Steven Powell, Executive Vice President, Operations, Southern California Edison, David Hutchens, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNS Energy Corp., Greg Hazelton, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

Utilities and service companies of both electric and natural gas face incredible opportunities and challenges today and in the future. Whether you’re embarking on innovative partnerships, fueling transportation of the future, or developing a completely new strategic pathway providing “Energy-as-a-Service,” the next five years will require strong leadership and vision to succeed. Business model evolution is key for utilities to continue to create customer and shareholder value while balancing today’s business with tomorrow’s opportunities. How well do you understand the impacts of emerging market trends on your company? This discussion will explore different perspectives and strategies companies are using to either stay in or change the game.

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM

Networking Break

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Maintaining Integrity in a Transforming Landscape
Speaker(s): Brian Steverson, John L. Aram Chair in Business Ethics, School of Business Administration, Gonzaga University

Many companies in the energy business find themselves in a difficult state of transformation these days. On the one hand, they seek to meet strong stakeholder expectations to transform their industry to the production of “clean” energy. On the other, they face the reality of the costs involved in doing so and the current lack of technology to entirely satisfy those expectations. How does one proceed to navigate a landscape filled with overly ambitious expectations while maintaining personal and organizational integrity? We will talk about what personal and organizational integrity involves, and some strategies for how to avoid sacrificing that integrity in the short term, and into the future, in pursuit of near term stakeholder satisfaction.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch

Sponsored by Agent511

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

The 2020 Economic Outlook - In The Balance of Rabidly Opposing Political Forces
Speaker(s): Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

The world is changing so fast that historically reliable indicators no longer predict the economic future. As opposing forces move to the extremes of the political spectrum in Western democracies, the economic outlook is much more difficult to anticipate. With US Election in 2020, Brexit, Canadian Election in 2019 and rapidly growing political uncertainty across major trading nations, we are increasingly challenged to anticipate the path forward. How do we create a robust view of the opportunities and risks ahead?

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Networking Break

Sponsored by West Monroe Partners

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Panel: The Extreme Threat of Wildfires to Western Utilities
Moderator(s): Heather Grahame, General Counsel and Vice President – Regulatory & Federal Government Affairs, NorthWestern Energy
Panelist(s): Brian D'Agostino, Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaptation, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Program Co-Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, Joe Belechak, Principal, Accenture Inc, Janaize Markland, Senior Director, Enterprise Risk Management, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Brian D'Agostino, Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaptation, San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Wildfires have rapidly emerged as a critical threat not only to the public and environment, but even to the very existence of gas and electric companies as we know them today. How should we balance the tremendous financial and operational barriers to successful mitigation with the increasing risks of wildfire destruction? Leaders need to work together to find answers and quickly build a strategy that fits their company’s unique risks and challenges. This panel will explore the current state of wildfire trends and what utilities are doing to most successfully protect their customers and their business.

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Concurrent Meetings

Invitation only

CEO + President’s of Utilities Facilitated Roundtable 
Service Company Committee Meeting
Customer Connections Board Committee
Corporate Services Board Committee
Electric Operations Board Committee
Gas Operations Board Committee

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Service Company Reception and Dinner

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and 2020 Western Energy Institute Theme
Speaker(s): Booga Gilbertson, Senior Vice President, Operations, Puget Sound Energy

Sponsored by GROEBNER

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Networking Break

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Exploring New Revenue in an Age-Old Industry
Speaker(s): Rebecca White, Manager, District Operations, Natural Gas Division, ATCO Pipelines, Darryl DeSilva, Senior Design Manager, Distribution Design, BC Hydro, Shane Homiston, District Manager III, MDU Utilities Group, Kyle Comstock, Manager, Transmission & Distribution Operations, NV Energy, Erika Schimmel-Guiles, Manager of Design, Planning & Project Management, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Anne M Jackson, Operational Application Supervisor, Tacoma Public Utilities

For years, utilities have operated under an approved rate of return and earned money at a steady, reliable pace. A changing energy landscape has invoked new challenges for utility providers both from new regulation and the ability for the customers to choose where and how they get energy; bringing in a competitive environment to a formerly monopolized industry. In this ever-changing world of customer choice, economic competitiveness, strengthening environmental policies, and continued regulatory engagement in the utility business model – how does the utility of old compete and stay relevant? How can utilities take a different perspective on generating revenue … to not become the next Kodak?  

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Visualizing Change Through Augmented and Virtual Reality
Speaker(s): Jerry L Jackson II, Supervisory Electrical Engineer - Transmission Operations Planning, Bonneville Power Administration, Dale Ernst, Manager, System Operations, FortisBC, Gina Powell, Customer Service Operations Manager, Idaho Power Company, Joshua Tilbury, Manager, Gas Supply, New Mexico Gas Company, Doug Jones, VP of Engineering, Power Engineers, Inc., Sarah Sciandri, Senior Public Information Specialist, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

As the utility industry is faced with unprecedented change due to the rapid growth of new technologies, evolving customer and employee expectations and aging infrastructure, it’s time to visualize a new reality. This presentation will explore the emerging technologies of augmented and virtual realities to help electric and gas utilities preserve and optimize existing resources and capitalize on institutional knowledge that’s been built over many decades. We’ll provide high-level definitions of the different types of technology and share real-world successes, opportunities and challenges with using AR/VR.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Break

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

Innovation and Playing Nice in the Regulatory Sandbox
Speaker(s): Douglas Dockter, Sr. Manager, Stations Engineering & Construction, Idaho Power Company, Joseph Baranski, Senior Manager, Grid Integrated Services, Portland General Electric, Tegan Knifton, Supervisor, Commercial Delivery, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Christy Burke, Land Acquisitions Manager, Salt River Project

The speed of change is impacting our industry, and utilities need to find solutions before issues arise. We can agree that innovation is imperative to an organization’s success, but how can utilities innovate in a regulated environment? Is it possible to find solutions quickly and nimbly, but also be sensitive to financial responsibility and regulatory requirements? Can utilities successfully balance risk and reward today? What is a regulatory sandbox and can a utility take advantage of its benefits? Join us to explore some of the answers to these questions. We will define what innovation means in a regulated environment, discuss the challenges, and provide practical examples of innovation from the utility space and beyond.

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

The Future is Now: Building Workforce Strategy Today to Meet Tomorrow
Speaker(s): Danielle Evans, Manager, Audit Services, Arizona Public Service Company, Joyce Cui, Manager, Regulatory Applications, ENMAX Corporation, Gregory Watkins, Manager, Policy & Procedure, Intermountain Gas Company, David Hanson, Electric Services Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Mikel Milton, IT Delivery Manager, Puget Sound Energy, Lisa Murray, Project Manager, Wood Canada Limited

To be ready for the future, we need to align business and workforce strategies. The start is to determine “what is core” to the utility business of the future. This will help inform where to invest in the talent pipeline and the strategies to attract, retain and grow internal talent. That which is “not core”, there is an opportunity to leverage alternative strategies utilizing external partners and automation.

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Break

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Embracing Technology for Knowledge Transfer
Speaker(s): Mary Prince, Director Benefits, HRIS, Payroll & Occupational Health, Avista Corp., Sarah Laylo, Chief Security and Continuity Officer, Bonneville Power Administration, Julian Jones, Senior Manager, BRIDGE Energy Group, Melanie Markell, Manager, Customer Care, ENMAX Corporation, Jason Rondou, Manager, Strategic Development & Programs, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Daniel Kizer, Engineering Manager, NW Natural

For over a decade, utilities have been feverishly preparing for the loss of experienced utility employees. The average worker in the utility industry has over 10 years tenure, and according to a US Department of Energy assessment conducted in January 2017, 25% of US employees in electric and natural gas utilities will be ready to retire within 5 years. With this exodus comes a new generation of employees who expect to leave their companies in 2-5 years. How can we avoid knowledge gaps created in the wake of losing tenured talent? How can knowledge transfer keep up with the pace of change and turnover our industry will see in the next decade and beyond? How do we ensure our leaders are ready to support the incoming workforce? Our team will explore how technology can support a successful transition of knowledge during these pivotal years ahead. 

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Catching Up To Customers
Speaker(s): Suzanne Landon, Manager, Geospatial, ATCO Electric, Christopher McCall, Manager of Project Delivery, Burns & McDonnell, Mario Cantu, Community Engagement Coordinator, Chelan County PUD, Scott Chandler, Manager, Finance & Business Services, Dominion Energy Utah, Darcy Byrne-Kelly, Manager, Operations, NorthWestern Energy, Kristy Porter, Manager, Employee & Labor Relations, Tucson Electric Power

Our economy has become more and more technology driven customer have increasing expectations for self-service, real-time access to information. Exploring ways to provide customers with easily accessible solutions is essential for utility companies success moving forward, yet technology solutions leveraged in other industries are quickly outpacing the utility space. In this presentation, we will explore how utilities can continue to evolve how and what they communicate to customers to further improve the customer experience.

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Lunch

Sponsored by Urbint

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Climate Adaptation: Preparing Your Operations and Workforce for the Future
Speaker(s): Mike McWhorter, Area Sales Manager, Altec, Inc., Terry D Workman, Manager, Region Operations, Dominion Energy Utah, Jon Zawada, Sr. Manager, Technical Operations, FortisAlberta Inc., Melissa Skelton, Regulatory Affairs Strategic Advisor, Seattle City Light, Keisha McNeil, Sr. Manager, Southern California Edison

Utilities are recognizing the impacts climate change has on utility operations and the workforce, and are pursuing projects and initiatives to address both present and future concerns.  Utilities historically have focused on risk mitigation and infrastructure upgrades.  Innovative approaches are highlighted to proactively prepare utilities to adapt to the changing climate with more frequent and intense weather events.  Statistics on climate change are presented along with information from surveyed WEI member utilities on climate adaptation plans in place or contemplated for the future. 

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Achieving Organizational Alignment
Speaker(s): Jeff Webb, Manager of Gas Engineering, Avista Utilities, Billy Chan, Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc., Nicole Bavard, Operations and Engineering Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Laura Lemke, Lead, Analytics + Information Management, Snohomish County PUD, Chris Anderson, Director of Gas Operations, Paiute Pipeline Company

Utility leaders invest a lot of time and thought into crafting strategic priorities, goals, missions, and values but without organizational alignment even the best strategic plan is never fully achieved. How do utilities ensure that every employee shares a common understanding of company priorities and values and then align their actions and decisions to support them? How do we move away from business as usual to fostering innovation and change? How do we effectively transform our managers into leaders while engaging employees in their workgroups?

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Break

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Prepared for the Worst: Staying a Step Ahead of Your Emergency
Speaker(s): Ryan Hoover, Transportation Maintenance Team Leader, Arizona Public Service Company, Steve Rozinka, Manager, Substation Construction & Engineering, NorthWestern Energy, Joshua Kensok, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, Puget Sound Energy, Hengameh Najafi, Director, Central Support, Southwest Gas Corporation, Crissa Alexander, Engineering Field Representative, Tillamook PUD

How ready is your company for dealing with emergencies? Does your company have an emergency response plan? How effective is the plan and will it work when a true emergency arises?
The definition of emergency response is “action taken to respond to an unexpected and dangerous occurrence in an attempt to mitigate its impact on people or the environment.” Emerging threats of rapidly increasing climate driven natural disasters are forcing utilities and other essential services/infrastructure to evaluate their preparedness practices, including their capacity and scale to deal with emergencies exceeding historical norms. The abundance of data is a powerful tool which can be used to determine how ready your company is for an emergency, identify possible gaps and predict future emergencies.

This presentation will focus on the best practices that utilities currently have in place in addition to strategic plans and technologies that should be considered to improve emergency response. The presentation will also address how to test emergency plans to ensure that when a true emergency occurs the employees are prepared and will respond in a safe and timely manner.

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Green Now But What About Later?
Speaker(s): Susan Wylie, Director, Large Customers and Key Accounts, Hydro One Inc., Brandon Carlson, Director, Product Marketing, Itron, Inc., Hema Sundaram, Director, Data Strategy & Management, Portland General Electric, Avideh Razavi, Facilities and Balancing Account Oversight Manager, Southern California Gas Company, Sheryl Brown, Training & Apprenticeship Manager, Tacoma Power

It is no secret that the utility industry is facing many challenges: rapidly changing market demands, integration of new technology, and stringent regulations driving clean and green energy adoption.  To be a leader in the industry, utilities must continue to focus on their core values of delivering safe, reliable and affordable energy while delivering on these new challenges and continuing to meet customer’s rising expectations. Utilities are making time pressured decisions today with lasting impacts that must be accounted for and managed. History has shown we need to account for the long-term environmental impacts and the lifecycle costs associated with large scale shifts in technology adoption. Come and engage our team on how utilities can be forward looking to ensure the decisions that are being made today are ethically and environmentally responsible for our future generations.

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Break

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Design Thinking and Innovating in the Utility Industry
Speaker(s): Christina Veltkamp, Manager, Customer Service and Collections, ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, Peter Faltaous, Director, Distribution Asset Management, Hydro One Inc., Sarah Bond, Budget and Financial Planning Manager, Snohomish County PUD, John Kundly, Gas Construction Portfolio Manager, Southern California Gas Company, Walter R Yosin III, Environmental Superintendent, Tucson Electric Power

Design Thinking is a dynamic framework conceived to inspire innovation and creative problem solving in organizations.   This project will explore the amazing potential of this approach against the backdrop of the historically cautious utility industry and help the audience learn how they can facilitate a culture which empowers employees to think differently about some of the real challenges facing their utilities such as increasing customer demands and employee engagement & retention.   Discussion will include the application, process, and results of the framework to a real-life utility problem. 

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Lost in Transition - the Value in Branding for Utilities
Speaker(s): Sachie Morii, Manager, Customer Interconnections, BC Hydro, Tyler Nice, Systems Engineering Supervisor, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Brian Fettig, Engineering Services Supervisor, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Stephanie Winn, Manager, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, Salt River Project, Maryanne M McMillan, Principal Manager, Major Projects & Engineering, Southern California Edison

In the past, a utility’s brand was focused on reliability and keeping the lights on. In a changing landscape of customer experiences, aggressive policy targets, and environmental and financial pressures, utilities are being asked to be more than just a reliable energy supplier. Branding is more than just a logo, tagline and mission statement. Now is the time for utilities to go beyond simple branding models and consider how to ensure they are positioned for change both internally and externally. Connecting the utility's core mission with the values of customers to create a holistic brand is important to position organizations so that they remain flexible and stay relevant in the evolving energy industry. In order to shift the branding models and expectations from current practice, utilities need only look to other industries; it could be as easy as coffee and donuts…

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Break

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Reception, Dinner and Graduation Ceremony for Business Acumen

All Annual Meeting attendees encouraged to attend.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • As of 8.23.2019, the Omni La Costa Resort lodging is full. We recommend that you check for availability at the following nearby hotels. Please note that parking at the Omni La Costa during the program is free.

    Courtyard by Marriot San Diego Carlsbad, 5835 Owens Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008, 760-431-9399 (3.5 mile drive)

    Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego Carlsbad, 1929 Palomar Oaks Way, Carlsbad, California 92011, 760-579-0155 (3.8 mile drive)

    Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, A Hilton Resort and Spa, 1 Ponto Road, Carlsbad, California 92011, 760-602-0800 (4 mile drive)

    Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach, 6450 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, California, 92011, 760-476-0800 (5.6 mile drive)

    Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 843-6664 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $259 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 16, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

  • Driving Directions
  • When arranging travel to Carlsbad, we suggest looking at both the John Wayne Airport, (60 miles, appx. 60-minute drive) and San Diego International Airport (33 miles, appx. 45-minute drive). Lyft and Uber can provide transportation North from San Diego to Carlsbad, but you will need a rental card or another mode of transportation to drive south from John Wayne Airport. 

    The Omni La Costa Resort will provide free self-parking for all attendees of the WEI Annual Meeting, including for overnight guests. There is a charge for valet parking.

Networking

All networking events are scheduled for Sunday, September 15, 2019.

Networking Golf at Omni La Costa Resort
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Registration Fee: $165.00 USD per person
Capacity: 36
Refund Policy: No refunds after August 9, 2019

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa invites you to join the legacy of this historic home of 37 PGA events. The Champions Course features beautifully manicured fairways and tees, surpassed only by its exceptional greens, which are some of the best in the West. Keep your equipment dry while in the trenches with a modern drainage system installed for sustainability, improving irrigation and water flow throughout both the Champions and Legends golf courses. Enjoy the serene setting while meandering through peaceful wetlands over landscaped bridges and rolling hills. The Champions Course is quite simply in a league of its own. Fee includes green fee, cart fee, range balls and the par package with a sleeve of balls, divot tool and logo ball marker. No meals included.

Networking Electric Bike Tour
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Registration Fee: $120 USD per person
Capacity: 19
Refund Policy: No refunds after August 9, 2019

During this experience, you’re sure to feel a connection to the simpler, quieter lifestyles of the past. Throughout this 1.5-hour bike tour, your guide will share fun San Diego and California facts while taking you along the breathtaking bike routes of Highway 101. Rest halfway at a lookout point high above the ocean’s edge where you will greet the waves crashing on the rocky beach below and gaze out at the beauty and power that brings the vast pacific to life. You will have plenty of time to take it all in, capture the memory with pictures and if you’re lucky, some dolphins or whales will stop by to say hello. Fee includes transportation to and from the tour starting point, electric bike rental, tour guide, helmet, and a bottle of water.

Program Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors
Booz-01Bridge-01Burns + McDonnell-01

Copperleaf-01HDR-01Henkels + McCoy-01Honeywell-01Itron-01-01KPMG-01Landis+Gyr-01   Potelco-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

Burns + McDonnell-01Copperleaf-01Landis+Gyr-01

  Black + Veatch-01

Meet The Speakers

Dennis Vermillion

Avista Corp.

President
Learn More

Dennis Vermillion serves as the president of Avista Corp. He also holds the position of 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 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 graduate of Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He currently serves as a board member for Western Energy Institute (WEI) and American Gas Association (AGA) and the Avista Foundation. Dennis formerly served on the board of Spokane County United Way and is a past chairman of the Spokane County campaign.

Brian Steverson

Gonzaga University

John L. Aram Chair in Business Ethics, School of Business Administration
Learn More

Dr. Brian K. Steverson is the John L. Aram Chair of Business Ethics in the School of Business Administration at Gonzaga University. Prior to assuming the Aram Chair, in 2008, he was a member of the Philosophy Department since 1992. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1991. He served as Faculty President at Gonzaga from 2014-2018. He was also a Faculty Regent from 2015-2018. His main areas of current scholarship are business ethics, professional ethics, and the ethics of entrepreneurship. His work has appeared in Environmental Ethics, the Online Journal of Ethics, Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, the Business and Professional Ethics Journal, the Journal of Ethics & Entrepreneurship, and the Journal of Jesuit Business Education. Some current research areas are ethical concerns attached to the rise of the gig economy, and the ethics of pre-employment screening for psychopathy. He is also doing research with a colleague on entrepreneurs as agents of normative social change.

Sherry Cooper

Dominion Lending Centres

Chief Economist
Learn More

Dr. Cooper is Chief Economist of Dominion Lending Centres. Canada’s leading mortgage and leasing company with more than 2,600 members offering free expert advice across Canada. In this role, Sherry helps Canadians understand the issues surrounding their most important financial decision – buying a home.

An award-winning authority on finance and economics, Sherry is also TMX Industry Professor at DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University.

Named “the megawatt celebrity economist” by Canada’s national newspaper –and repeatedly cited as one of the most influential women in Canada, Sherry served as Chief Economist and Executive Vice-President of BMO Financial Group where she was responsible for global economic and financial forecasting as well as country-risk and industry-risk analysis. She joined BMO Financial Group in 1994 when it acquired Burns Fry, where she had been Chief Economist, Co-Head of Fixed Income and the first female director of a Bay Street investment firm.

Well-known as a media commentator, Sherry’s third book – The New Retirement: How It Will Change Our Future – was a block-buster best-seller.

Dr. Cooper has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. She began her career at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. where she worked very closely with then-Chairman, Paul Volcker and subsequently joined the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) as Director of Financial Economics.

Duncan Wardle

id8 & innov8 LLC,

Former VP of Innovation & Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, Founder
Learn More

Having worked for the Walt Disney Company for some 25 years, Duncan Wardle now serves as an independent innovation and design thinking consultant, helping companies around the globe embed a culture of innovation and creativity across their organizations, delivering a series of keynotes, training workshops and leading innovation projects. His unique Design Thinking process helps people capture unlikely connections, leading to both fresh thinking and revolutionary ideas.
Most recently Duncan was Head of Innovation and Creativity for the Walt Disney Company, where he helped support franchises such as Lucas Films, Pixar, Marvel, Disney Imagineering, Disney Parks and ESPN. Working as innovation catalyst and cultural change agent, he helped each line of business increase their capacity to innovate at scale.
He is a Ted X speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He lectures at Yale, the University of North Carolina, Duke University and the University of Florida. In 2008 he received the American Citizen of Choice Award at the White House. In 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Booga Gilbertson

Puget Sound Energy

Senior Vice President, Operations
Learn More

As the senior vice president of Operations for Puget Sound Energy, Booga Gilbertson is responsible for electric and gas operations, including emergency response, maintenance and construction, electric and gas system operations and dispatch, system planning, and engineering. She also leads project management and engineering across operations.
Since joining PSE in 1985, Gilbertson has held a broad range of engineering, operations and management positions in planning, asset management, gas and electric design engineering, performance measurement, budgeting, project management, construction and maintenance, 24-hour control center operations, labor relations, technology and emergency response management. She has been vice president of Operations since 2011.
In addition to her responsibilities at PSE, Gilbertson serves as chair-elect of the board of directors of the Western Energy Institute and chair of the EEI National Response Executive Committee. She also serves on the University of Washington Electrical Engineering Advisory Board as well as the Washington State University Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Executive Council.
Gilbertson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration degree from City University.
She enjoys skiing, hiking, running, kayaking and gardening.

Heather Grahame

NorthWestern Energy

General Counsel and Vice President – Regulatory & Federal Government Affairs
Learn More

Heather Grahame is General Counsel and Vice President – Regulatory and Federal Government Affairs for NorthWestern Corporation, d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (“NorthWestern”). NorthWestern is a mid-cap energy company dedicated to providing safe and reliable electricity and/or natural gas service to nearly 470 communities across Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. NorthWestern also provides electric service to Yellowstone National Park. Ms. Grahame is responsible for NorthWestern Energy’s legal affairs including risk management and contract services; state regulatory affairs (Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska) and Federal Government Affairs. She is one of eight members of NorthWestern’s Executive Team.

Ms. Grahame is a graduate of Stanford University (Human Biology) and the University of Oregon School of Law where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Oregon Law Review. She practiced law in Anchorage, Alaska for 27 years. Three of those years were with the Alaska Legal Services Corporation where she litigated cases before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and one case before the United States Supreme Court. She then spent 23 years in private practice, first for the Seattle-based firm of Bogle and Gates, and then with Dorsey & Whitney, a Minneapolis-based law firm. At Dorsey, Ms. Grahame was Co-Chair of the firm’s Telecommunications Practice and practiced public utility law before several state public utility commissions and the Federal Communications Commission. She moved to Helena, Montana in 2010 to join NorthWestern Energy.

Jan Vrins

Navigant Consulting, Inc.

Global Energy Practice Leader
Learn More

Jan Vrins leads Navigant’s Global Energy Practice. He advises industry executives on developing and implementing their policies and strategies. Jan has experience with policy, regulation and strategy, organizational (re)structuring, business transformation and change management, capital program management, grid modernization and hardening, post-merger integration, and technology strategy and implementation. Jan has worked across the entire energy value chain, generation, transmission, distribution and retail.
Navigant’s Global Energy practice provides consulting and research services for energy companies, government organizations, NGO’s and Foundations, large corporations, product manufacturers, technology companies, and investors in areas including strategy and policy, market structures and pricing, business and operational strategy, grid modernization, grid restoration and hardening, transmission, capital program management, business models and partnerships, emerging technologies, renewables, urban energy, and distributed energy resources.
Since joining Navigant (in 2014), Jan has guided his team to develop thought leadership, solution offerings, and capabilities to support clients as the energy industry experiences major transformation. With over 1000 consulting projects each year in Energy, Navigant is at the forefront supporting their clients to navigate the energy transformation opportunities and challenges. Navigant has one of the largest energy consulting teams globally focused on the energy transformation with over 600 management consultants.
Jan Vrins has co-developed an industry leading framework, The Energy Cloud, which helps organizations understand new opportunities in the energy market, policy and regulatory changes, changing customer needs, new technologies, strategic options, and emerging business models. He also has developed a Utility of the Future model that helps clients understand the trends in the market, potential strategies, underlying integrated business processes and business models, aimed at further improving their commercial and operational performance.
Prior to Navigant, Jan held multiple global energy industry leadership roles at Accenture, KPMG Consulting and BearingPoint. His energy industry experience includes investor‐owned and government-owned utilities and Oil and Gas companies in Europe, North America, South America (including Brazil), and the Middle East. Jan has authored various publications and presented at leading industry conferences, on topics like Climate Action Planning, Decarbonization, Resiliency, Grid Hardening and Modernization, Utility of the future and emerging Business Models, and Sustainable Excellence and Business Transformation. With extensive consulting experience (25+ years) in the energy sector and a history of growing businesses in diverse, global markets, Jan is considered a global (thought) leader in the energy consulting industry.
Jan was recognized by Consulting Magazine as one of the Top 20 Global Leaders in Consulting, 2017.

Rebecca White

ATCO Pipelines

Manager, District Operations, Natural Gas Division
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Rebecca graduated from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since moving to Alberta, Canada to join ATCO in 2011, she has held various design, project management and leadership roles within ATCO’s Natural Gas Division in the Engineering, Operations and Construction groups. Rebecca moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta in June of 2017 to take on her current role as District Operations Manager.

Darryl DeSilva

BC Hydro

Senior Design Manager, Distribution Design
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I joined BC Hydro in 2007 and worked in various groups including Environmental Services, Transmission Services and Generation Project
Delivery. I then moved into Distribution and progressed to my current role as a Senior Design Manager overseeing over 50 employees across 8 offices, delivering approximately $50M of capital work annually.

Prior to BC Hydro, I worked in the consulting industry for 7 years as a Systems Engineer and Project Manager in various industries including Energy, Telecommunications, Pulp and Paper, and Education.

I am a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) and certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and hold a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta. I enjoy a variety of sports and spending time with my wife and 3 daughters.

Shane Homiston

MDU Utilities Group

District Manager III
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I have been with Montana Dakota Utilities Co. for just over 16 years working in a variety of different roles with the company. My current role for the past 3 years is District manager for the Williston, ND district. I oversee the District Operations for both gas and electric operations. I have 23 year of experience in the electric industry and 16 years in the gas industry. I have also served 2 terms for a total of 8 years as an Alderman on the city council in Watford City, ND during a time when Watford City was one of the fastest growing small communities in the nation (Bakken Oil Boom).

I am currently taking classes to earn my BS in Business Management through the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. I am the proud father of 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 27 years.

Kyle Comstock

NV Energy

Manager, Transmission & Distribution Operations
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I have been employed at NV Energy since 2008 when I started as an Engineering Intern in the operations group. Through my time at NV Energy I have had roles in Distribution Planning, EMS Engineering, and most recently System Operations. In June of 2018 I was given the opportunity to manage transmission and distribution operations for NV Energy’s southern territory, which is my current role.

I received my BS in Electrical Engineering in 2011, NERC RC Certification in 2013, MBA in 2015, and professional engineering license in 2015. I have a 2 year old daughter, a 3 month old son and have been married to my beautiful wife for 7 years.

Erika Schimmel-Guiles

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Manager of Design, Planning & Project Management
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Erika Schimmel-Guiles currently leads and directs the work of the organization responsible for the initiation, planning, design, and end-to-end management of all property-owner, developer, high-impact customer and municipality originated distribution projects. Erika has been with SDG&E for 12 years and has served in a variety of roles including Supply Management, Commercial & Industrial Customer Services, Major Projects, Transmission & Substation Operations Services and most recently she lead a large scale change management effort to drive standardization, prioritization and transparency across the Electric Engineering & Construction division for capital project execution. Erika holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of San Diego and a Master’s in Business Administration from San Diego State University. She is an avid philanthropist, is married and has two sons.

Anne Jackson

Tacoma Public Utilities

Operational Application Supervisor
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I joined Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) in September 2016 as the Business Integrations & Digital Solutions Supervisor with Tacoma Power. My team provides application development and support for vended solutions and custom-built applications which support TPU’s business operations.

Prior to TPU, I spent two years as the Child Support Web Applications Supervisor for Texas Office of the Attorney General, and six years as an Information Technology Manager with the County of Sacramento’s Office of Communications & Information Technology.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from California State University, Sacramento. My husband and I have a blended family consisting of four sons, three grandsons, and one granddaughter.

Jerry L Jackson II

Bonneville Power Administration

Supervisory Electrical Engineer - Transmission Operations Planning

Dale Ernst

FortisBC

Manager, System Operations

Gina Powell

Idaho Power Company

Customer Service Operations Manager
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Gina Powell assumed the role of Customer Service Operations Manager for Idaho Power on December 18, 2017.  In her role, Powell oversees the management of all aspects of Customer Service operations including; the billing processes, account maintenance, credit and collections, outage communication, inbound customer calls, Web interactions, new service requests, and phone-based customer relationship outreach. Develops, manages, and administers departmental budgets.  Ensures business compliance with rules and regulations pertaining to customer service.  Coaches and mentors department leaders and employees. Evaluates and improves employee morale, communication, training, and the safety requirements and expectations at IPC.
 
Prior to joining Idaho Power, Powell worked in the Financial Services Industry for 24 years at Wells Fargo and Citigroup.  Within that 24 year timespan, Powell had the opportunity to manage many different functional groups to include; compliance, project management, customer service, collections and loan operations.  Her last role at Wells Fargo was as the Operational Risk Manager responsible for the oversight and leadership of a team that performed internal audits to ensure the Business Banking Group was adhering to all of the necessary Banking Regulations. 
 
Powell is a graduate of Boise State University, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix.  In addition to her education, Powell is a driven professional with over 224 years of Management/Leadership experience and over 13 years of managing, leading and participating in initiatives and projects.  In addition, she thrives on problem solving utilizing Lean Concepts to streamline business processes and technology and maintains a strong focus on the customer and the employees. I have been married for 20 years and have a 14 year old son.

Joshua Tilbury

New Mexico Gas Company

Manager, Gas Supply

Doug Jones

Power Engineers, Inc.

VP of Engineering

Sarah Sciandri

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Senior Public Information Specialist

Douglas Dockter

Idaho Power Company

Sr. Manager, Stations Engineering & Construction
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I began my professional career in 1991 at Albertson’s, Inc. in Boise, Idaho working on electrical plans and specifications for Albertson’s new and remodel grocery stores after graduating from Montana State University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. I received my Professional Engineering License in 1997, and also became an Engineering Supervisor for Albertson’s that year.
In 1998 I joined Idaho Power Company as a Transmission Engineer and worked in that capacity until 2004 when I became a Project Leader, responsible for managing transmission and distribution lines and substations projects. I was presented and accepted the opportunity in 2007 to become the Engineering Leader for the Transmission & Distribution Design group as a temporary duty assignment, which included supervising Transmission Engineers, Distribution Designers, Right-of-Way Agents and the Joint Use team. I accepted my next position in April, 2008 as the 500 kV Engineering Project Leader, responsible for supervising three Project Leaders, two Facility Siting Coordinators and managing Idaho Power’s 500 kV projects. These projects included the construction of the Hemingway Station, permitting the Boardman to Hemingway project, and permitting the Gateway West project. I then transferred into my next position of Manager, Delivery Projects in early 2010 which expanded my responsibilities to include Project Portfolio Management, Project Cost and Controls, and Transmission and Distribution Projects as well as the 500 kV Projects. In 2012 I accepted the position of Manager, 500 kV Projects to allow focus on completing the permitting of both the Boardman to Hemingway project and the Gateway West project. In 2015 I accepted the position of Sr. Manager, Stations Engineering and Construction and am presently in this position. I currently reside in Boise, Idaho with my wife and two daughters.

Joseph Baranski

Portland General Electric

Senior Manager, Grid Integrated Services
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Joey Baranski joined PGE in early 2006 and has almost 15 years of utility operations and strategy experience. He is current the Senior Manager of Grid Integrated Services: a diverse organization that includes distribution operations engineering, grid OT asst operations & planning engineering, NERC operations & planning compliance, grid OT asset cyber security, NERC CIP compliance, substation work coordination, and generation substation support.

He has also worked as a SCADA & Grid Automation Engineer, Power Operations & EMS Programmer/Analyst, Substation Meter/Relay & SCADA Technical Services Manager, Operational Technology Planning, Compliance, and Cyber Security Manager.

Joey has is BS in Electrical Engineering from Portland State University, his BS in CIS from Western Carolina University. He also has his CISSP certification from ISC2 and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.

Tegan Knifton

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Supervisor, Commercial Delivery
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Tegan Knifton has been with Sacramento Municipal Utility District since 2011 in leadership roles within Customer Care and, most recently, Commercial Delivery. She currently oversees a team of Strategic Account Advisors responsible for relationships with SMUD’s largest retail, property management, and hospitality customers. Prior to making the move to the utility industry, Tegan was a branch manager and business banker for Washington Mutual and JP Morgan Chase banks for nearly a decade. She has three children, ages 4, 7, and 10, and spends as much time as possible with them outdoors, enjoying Northern California’s plentiful recreation opportunities.

Christy Burke

Salt River Project

Land Acquisitions Manager
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I started at Salt River Project in 2010 as a Financial Analyst in the Credit Risk group, responsible for the trading approvals of our wholesale commodity trading group. In 2012, I went on to join SRP’s Business Analyst Rotation Program, gaining experience within the Treasury, Water Rights and Contracts, Financial Planning and Pricing organizations. I moved into a management role as the Credit Risk Manager in 2014. In early 2018 I moved outside of our financial services organization to broaden my experience as the Land Acquisitions Manager where I currently manage a team of 10 Land Agents that handle the acquisition and management of land rights used for all aspects of SRP’s business to support the mission of providing reliable water and power to customers. This includes purchasing real estate and other land rights for substations, high voltage transmission, distribution lines, generation facilities, and other facilities necessary for the diverse range of SRP operations.

Danielle Evans

Arizona Public Service Company

Manager, Audit Services

Joyce Cui

ENMAX Corporation

Manager, Regulatory Applications

Gregory Watkins

Intermountain Gas Company

Manager, Policy & Procedure

David Hanson

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Electric Services Manager
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David, a Veteran of the United States Navy Nuclear Powered Submarine Force, has served LADWP for over 17 years including Superintendent of the Electrical Mechanic Training Center. As a graduate of that Training Program, he has worked in Electric Station Maintenance and Construction, and had the opportunity to play a key role in large projects including New Station Construction, Solar Photovoltaic, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition automation.

David has been the Co-Chair of the Solar Joint Labor Management committee since its inception nearly 10 years ago. He started this committee as a Labor Representative with IBEW Local 18 working the in the field installing solar systems and now serves as the Management Co-chair in charge of all solar projects.

A two-year special assignment with Power System Safety, coupled with the experience of constructing the two largest municipal owned, built, and operated solar farms gives him the unique perspective of the unusual safety hazards associated with distributed energy sources.

Mikel Milton

Puget Sound Energy

IT Delivery Manager
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Mikel Milton is the IT Delivery Manager for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) where she oversees the program management, project management, business analysis, quality assurance test engineers and the IT capital portfolio. With 20 years in IT, Mikel’s experience combines a background of utility, high tech, call center and channel reseller organizations. Prior to PSE Mikel ran the PMO at a local security company and the call center operations team at an international computer reseller. Mikel holds a BA from the University of Washington. She is married and owns an adorable corgi named Leeloo.

Lisa Murray

Wood Canada Limited

Project Manager

Mary Prince

Avista Corp.

Director Benefits, HRIS, Payroll & Occupational Health
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Since starting with Avista as an Internal Auditor, Mary has had a variety of roles and responsibilities with the company, including the opportunity to work on special project teams ranging from the siting and build of a Combustion Turbine to the Benefits Transition team for a merger attempt. After moving to Human Resources she has held several benefits related leadership positions which led to her current role as Director of Benefits, HRIS, Payroll and Occupational Health. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance from Seattle University. Mary also has strong family ties and has been with her wonderful husband for twenty-five years.

Sarah Laylo

Bonneville Power Administration

Chief Security and Continuity Officer
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Sarah Laylo serves as the Chief Security and Continuity Officer for Bonneville Power Administration, a role which she has held since May 2017. Prior to accepting the role with Bonneville, Sarah worked for the Department of Defense, Defense Security Service, as a field office chief overseeing the security of classified information and programs at over 650 cleared contractor facilities in the National Capital Region.
Sarah’s career began as a Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army. She served as an Intelligence Officer in the 1st Armored Division Artillery, and as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, and Analysis and Control Team Chief in the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion, 1st Armored Division. During the course of her military service, she deployed in support of efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo. After leaving the military in 2001, Sarah worked as a contractor supporting US Army programs, and then as an Operations Manager with Frito Lay for several years before returning to government service in 2008 with the Defense Security Service where she served in various capacities.

Julian Jones

BRIDGE Energy Group

Senior Manager
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Bringing real-world experience to BRIDGE Energy Group (now part of Accenture) as a Utilities and Telecommunications Senior Operations professional, Julian Jones has over 30 years of experience building and leading highly technical and diverse teams. As the Director of Program Management with BRIDGE, Julian’s primary concentration is on leading projects focused on operations technology systems integration; technology selection and implementation; application development and deployment; and improving operational efficiency. Beyond his responsibilities as a Project Manager, Julian has also performed in numerous roles including: Solution Architect, Subject Matter Expert, Lead Business Analyst, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Test Lead, and Lead Application Configurator. This breadth of experience allows Julian to quickly learn new technology and adapt to the ever-changing landscape present during all projects. Prior to consulting, Julian was the customer operations manager at Connexus Energy, a network operations director at US West/Qwest Communications, and an accomplished Naval Officer/Aviator. Julian holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Business Administration from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Melanie Markell

ENMAX Corporation

Manager, Customer Care
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Melanie Markell started with ENMAX in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2016 as the Manager, Customer Care for residential services. She oversees contact centre operations for ENMAX’s regulated and de-regulated businesses with a focus on creating exceptional client experiences through an engaged and inspired workforce.

With over 20 years’ experience in contact centre operations, Melanie possesses a strong understanding of the relationship between coaching, leadership development and customer experience. Prior to ENMAX, Melanie held roles with Shaw Communications, Rogers, and Milne & Craighead, all located in Calgary. Melanie’s passions lie in employee development, community investment, traveling, making music with her band, and photo-documenting her life with her partner and their cats.

Jason Rondou

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Manager, Strategic Development & Programs
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Jason Rondou oversees LADWP’s Strategic Development & Programs section, and in that capacity is responsible for LADWP’s entry into the California Independent System Operator’s Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) as well as its Distributed Energy Resource programs, including demand response, local solar development, and community solar programs. Jason previously worked at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on light rail development and bus rapid transit. Jason graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and has a Master of Public Administration from USC and an MBA from UCLA. Jason is a licensed Electrical and Transportation Engineer in the state of California and is the former Chair of the Los Angeles IEEE Power & Energy Society.

Dan Kizer

NW Natural

Engineering Manager
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Dan Kizer joined NW Natural in 2012 as a field engineer. In 2018 Dan moved on an engineering manager position, after working the previous 6 years as a field engineer at NW Natural’s Salem resource center. Prior to joining NW Natural Dan worked for a civil engineering consulting firm in Salem Oregon for 19 years. Dan’s consulting experience includes construction observation and planning and engineering consulting services for municipal and private sector clients.

Dan holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University and is a licensed professional civil engineer in the State of Oregon. Dan and his wife Rhonda reside in Salem and have three college aged children.

Suzanne Landon

ATCO Electric

Manager, Geospatial

Christopher McCall

Burns & McDonnell

Manager of Project Delivery

Mario Cantu

Chelan County PUD

Community Engagement Coordinator

Scott Chandler

Dominion Energy Utah

Manager, Finance & Business Services

Darcy Byrne-Kelly

NorthWestern Energy

Manager, Operations

Kristy Porter

Tucson Electric Power

Manager, Employee & Labor Relations
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Kristy has been employed at Tucson Electric Power for 8 years and has worked in several roles and locations within Human Resources and Labor Relations. She has been in her current role for two years and enjoys providing support and resolution to people needs and resources. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management with a specialization in Human Resource Management. Kristy is a single mom to a 12-year-old boy, and two girls ages 11 and 8.

Mike McWhorter

Altec, Inc.

Area Sales Manager
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Mike McWhorter joined Altec in 2007, and currently is the Western Area Manager for Altec Industries, Inc. Mike works out of the western operations facility located in Dixon, CA. His team and territory covers Northern CA, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Altec manufactures a variety of equipment that help utilities install and maintain gas and electric infrastructure. Job functions include; product demonstrations, the sale or bid process, pre-build design, construction management and delivery of cranes, aerial, and digging equipment.

Mike earned his MBA from California State University Sacramento and is very active within the Sacramento community. He is an active member of the CSUS Business Alumni, Sacramento 20/30 Club, and the Sacramento Metro Chamber. He is also a member of the Western Energy Institute, and participates in several of their conferences each year.

Mike enjoys golfing, cycling, skiing, basketball, and spending time with his wife Carly. They enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Terry Workman

Dominion Energy Utah

Manager, Region Operations
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I have been employed at Dominion Energy (formerly Questar Gas) since 1994. I have held several positions over the nearly 25 years, including; meter reader, construction rep, operator, foreman, preconstruction specialist, human resources consultant, employee relations specialist, engineering supervisor, and my current role as region manager operations. I earned my BS in Business Management in 2018. I have been happily married for 29 years and am the proud father of four.

Jon Zawada

FortisAlberta Inc.

Sr. Manager, Technical Operations
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Jon Zawada is the Senior Manager of Technical Operations at FortisAlberta. In this role, Jon has overall business accountability for the Grid Modernization program and the Field Technical Services team. In his 17 years’ experience in the electric utility he has held management positions in the Control Centre, Dispatch, Field Operations and GIS departments. Jon is also a Journeyman Power Line Technician.

Melissa Skelton

Seattle City Light

Regulatory Affairs Strategic Advisor
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Melissa Skelton began working at Seattle City Light in 2015, initially as the Legal Affairs Advisor and currently as a Regulatory Affairs Strategic Advisor. She handles regulatory and policy matters associated with transmission and wholesale sales of power. Additionally, she assists in overseeing regulatory processes and interactions, ensuring regulatory compliance, and advising on regulatory aspects that affect City Light activities.

Her first position in the energy/utilities sector began after law school, where she worked initially advising the Kansas Legislature energy committees on legislation. From there, she moved to the Kansas Corporation Commission, the state regulator for utilities, and served as advisory counsel to the three state commissioners. Just prior to joining City Light, she was employed with the Kansas Electric Cooperatives as the manager of government relations.

Melissa lives outside of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade mountains with her wonderful husband and two sons (3 and 1 years old). She is very proud to work for Seattle City Light!

Keisha McNeil

Southern California Edison

Sr. Manager
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Keisha J. McNeil is a Learning & Development leader with 25 years of experience helping individuals get unstuck and organizations to achieve optimal performance. She joined Southern California Edison Enterprise Learning & Development as a Sr. HR Manager in 2017. Prior to Edison, she served as a strategic learning leader and diversity board member for the top 3 US financial organizations whereas she led leadership initiatives for over 260,000 employees. She lives by her personal mission of elevating individuals, communities and organizations to perform at their very best. She holds a Bachelor degree in HR Management, Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and is a Doctoral Candidate in Education. She is passionate about her family and loves spending time traveling with her much-loved husband and 3 treasured children.

Jeff Webb

Avista Utilities

Manager of Gas Engineering

Billy Chan

EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.

Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs

Nicole Bavard

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Operations and Engineering Manager
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I joined SDG&E in 2009 as an engineering intern in the Substation Construction and Maintenance Department. In 2010, I joined full time as an associate engineer completing three 6-month rotations in the following groups: Electric Distribution Engineering, Transmission Planning and Electric Regional Operations. After 18 months I was placed in our Substation and Transmission Maintenance and Operations group, which I did for the next 4 years. In 2014, I became a certified Start Engineer and in 2016, I became a Team Lead within the same group. In 2017 I received the opportunity to join Electric Regional Operations as the Operations and Engineering Manager, where I currently manage a team of Electric Troubleshooters, Engineers and a Compliance Operations Team.

I received my BS in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University in 2010 and my professional engineering (P.E.) license in 2013.

Laura Lemke

Snohomish County PUD

Lead, Analytics + Information Management
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I joined Snohomish PUD in mid-2008 in the Energy Services Planning & Evaluation department. In 2013 we created the Customer & Energy Services Analytics department which has since grown into Analytics + Information Management, serving the entire enterprise. I am the analytics lead for the team, overseeing our approach, methodology, and strategy for delivering enterprise performance management insights and dashboards as well as operational reporting and analysis.

Prior to joining the PUD I worked in marketing, graphic/web design, and product development in the masonry, architecture, and technology industries. I grew up just outside Minneapolis, MN and have a BS in Business – Marketing from the University of Utah.

Chris Anderson

Paiute Pipeline Company

Director of Gas Operations

Ryan Hoover

Arizona Public Service Company

Transportation Maintenance Team Leader
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I began my career in the utility industry at APS in 2008 as an apprentice auto mechanic. After completing the apprenticeship program, I worked as a Journeyman mechanic for 5 years before stepping into a leadership role in 2016. I now manage 7 different garage locations around AZ and NM.

Steve Rozinka

NorthWestern Energy

Manager, Substation Construction & Engineering
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I have worked for the last 15 years at NorthWestern Energy in Substation Operations Department. I started out designing subs, moved into Project Management and became the Manager of the group 4 years ago. My team is responsible for substation and relay design and construction for Montana and South Dakota. We typically handle over 100 projects a year with a capital budget of around $50 million per year. We work on everything from misoperations, system analysis, design and settings, sub design and construction. I am a graduate of Montana State University in engineering. I have 3 daughters ages 18, 17, 14 and spend my free time biking hiking fishing, skiing, cooking and supporting my daughters with their activities.

Joshua Kensok

Puget Sound Energy

Director of Financial Planning & Analysis
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I joined PSE in 2010 and spent 3 years as a senior financial planning and strategic analyst (“FP&A”) leading multiple five-year financial planning cycles, monthly financial outlooks, and also leading the development of our corporate enterprise valuation model before moving into the FP&A manager role in 2013.

in 2015, I left PSE for a role in the Walt Disney Company’s Media arm supporting Disney ABC television’s broadcast, cable and news businesses. In this role, I led a team of research analysts in the production of consumer demand forecasts and strategic plans for various media sub-businesses specifically focused on digital media consumption and advertising.

In 2017, I returned to PSE in pursuit of growing into a leadership role in the finance organization. In January 2019, I was given the opportunity to lead the broader FP&A and strategy effort for PSE as Director of FP&A where my responsibilities include short, mid and long-range financial planning, enterprise valuation, and strategic advisory to senior leadership and the board of directors.

I received my BA in finance from Western Washington University in 2006 and MBA from Seattle University in 2012. I am happily married and reside in Seattle, WA.

Hengameh Najafi

Southwest Gas Corporation

Director, Central Support
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Hengameh Najafi is the Director of Central Support/Central Arizona Division at Southwest Gas Corporation. She leads a team of managers, supervisors, engineers, field personnel and other professionals responsible for Division Compliance, Division Quality, Leak Survey, Damage Prevention, System Planning and MAOP, Cross-bore Project, Material Management, Auto Shop, and Technical Services.
Hengameh joined Southwest Gas in late 1997 as a System Planning Engineer. Over the years she has held supervisory and management positions until being promoted to Director/Central Support in late 2017. Hengameh has a B.S. and a M.S degree in Natural Gas Engineering from Texas A&M.
Hengameh is married and has two sons. Her favorite hobbies are swimming, working out, spending time with family & friends, and traveling.

Crissa Alexander

Tillamook PUD

Engineering Field Representative
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I have been employed at Tillamook People’s Utility District since 2004 where I began my career as an Engineering Coordinator. In 2014 I was promoted to Engineering Field Representative, assigned a service territory and was responsible for coordinating new electrical services and distribution line design. In 2016 I transitioned to the Utility Asset Group where I currently design make-ready work for Licensees attached to our power poles, correct NESC violations and post-inspect all Licensee work. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR. I am a proud mother of 10 year old twin girls which keep me extremely busy outside of work.

Susan Wylie

Hydro One Inc.

Director, Large Customers and Key Accounts

Brandon Carlson

Itron, Inc.

Director, Product Marketing

Hema Sundaram

Portland General Electric

Director, Data Strategy & Management

Avideh Razavi

Southern California Gas Company

Facilities and Balancing Account Oversight Manager
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I, Avideh Razavi (Avi) joined SoCalGas in 2011 as the Pipeline Integrity Engineer. Between 2011 and 2016 I moved from Pipeline Integrity Data Management to Storage Operations to Underground Storage Operations. My role primarily consisted of managing projects that were related to standardization, implementation, and enhancement of integrity management programs such as pressure monitoring installation and enhancement plan, development of corrosion monitoring plan, and other related projects. In May 2016 I was given the opportunity to create and lead the Underground Storage Data Management team under Storage Risk Management Organization, which is my current role. My primary role is to implement data governance and enhance information management through policies, standards, training and state of the art technology. Prior to SoCalGas, I worked for Schlumberger with the Hydraulic Fracturing crew and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency – A Municipal Water District.
I received my Associate Degree in Polymer Engineering from Poonak University in Tehran, Iran and BS Degree in Chemical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona. I met my husband in 2011 at SoCalGas.

Sheryl Brown

Tacoma Power

Training & Apprenticeship Manager

Christina Veltkamp

ENSTAR Natural Gas Company

Manager, Customer Service and Collections
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I joined ENSTAR Natural Gas Company in November 2006 as a Customer Service Supervisor. My experience included 2 years as a CIS and Customer Service Trainer and 7 years of supervisor and management experience from my previous job of 11 years with a local communications company in Alaska. In 2012, I promoted into my current position as Manager of Customer Services. Like most managers, my responsibility ranges over a number of areas, to include but not limited to, Customer Service Call Center and Retail, Customer Correspondence, Credit and Collections, Billing and Customer Information System (CIS). I currently have two direct reports and twenty-three indirect reports. My experience with ENSTAR has been amazing. I joined ENSTAR during a time of leadership and cultural transition, which allowed me the challenge and opportunity of introducing change through management style, technological efficiencies and regulatory revisions.
I was born and raised in Northern California, but have lived in Alaska since 1995. I have two children, ages 21 and 25. I have enjoyed Alaska life of fishing, camping, 4-wheeling and snow machining. My winter months consist of reading, Netflix, sewing and traveling to a warmer climate.

Peter Faltaous

Hydro One Inc.

Director, Distribution Asset Management
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Peter Faltaous started with Hydro One Networks Inc. in 2005 in the Transmission Stations Asset Management team. As part of the New Graduate training program, he had the opportunity to complete rotations in various groups including Transmission System Planning, Project Management, and Field Protection & Controls. After taking on progressively higher roles within Transmission Stations Asset Management, he joined the Management ranks as a Manager of the Transmission Lines Sustainment department where he was accountable for planning all capital and maintenance activities on Hydro One’s transmission lines’ network. His career path then led him to the Distribution Investment Planning organization as a Senior Manager where he had varying accountabilities including planning of the Hydro One distribution system, connecting renewable generation and capital and maintenance planning for distribution assets. He was recently appointed to the position of Director of the Distribution Asset Management division, accountable for all planning and engineering of the Hydro One Distribution System. Peter received his undergraduate degree from the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto and Masters of Electric Power Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He is an avid traveler and has visited over 35 countries.

Sarah Bond

Snohomish County PUD

Budget and Financial Planning Manager
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My name is Sarah Bond and I currently work at the Snohomish County PUD in Everett, WA. I have been working in the Utility Industry for 14 years and my primary function is to manage and coordinate the District’s annual budget and long-term financial plan. I enjoy working with all the department of the utility including load forecasting, capital planning, energy efficiency and other operational and administrative departments. My career before the Utility industry was in Higher Education where I served in various financial roles. My undergraduate degree is in Liberal Studies and my Masters is in Public Policy, both from the University of Washington, Bothell. I have been married 16 years and have a 16 year old daughter. In my spare time we love to go camping and ride our motorcycle.

John Kundly

Southern California Gas Company

Gas Construction Portfolio Manager
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John has been with SoCalGas for the past 13 years. He has had various roles in Engineering, Project Management, Operations, and Supply Chain. Currently he is the Portfolio Manager for SoCalGas’ Gas Construction Portfolio, which manages our material and service contracts with a yearly spend of $1 billion. John is currently completing his Executive MBA at the University of Southern California where he graduates in May 2019. John moved out to Los Angeles in 2005 from Ohio. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo and is a licensed Professional Engineer in California. John has been married for 8 years to his wife, Christine and has two children, with a third on the way in early March.

Walter R Yosin III

Tucson Electric Power

Environmental Superintendent
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I joined TEP in the beginning of 2009 as a chemical/environmental engineer working in the Energy Resources Department. In the beginning of 2014 I became the environmental supervisor for the Tucson Power Production’s Environmental Department. In the fall of 2017 my family and I moved to the White Mountains of Arizona to serve in my current role as a member of TEP’s Springerville Generating Station as the environmental superintendent.

Since I have worked for TEP I have primarily worked to maintain environmental compliance for the company’s electric generation assets. I have also served as Chair of Tucson Power Production’s and Springerville Generating Station’s Safety Committee, a member of TEP’s Community Action Team, an executive member of the TEP’s Professional Development Group and an executive member of the UNS Political Action Committee.

I am a United States Marine Corps veteran that is currently serving in the reserves and have spent a total of 5 years serving on active duty. I received my BS in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and my MBA in 2014, both from the University of Arizona. I am married and a father of three, very energetic, young boys.

Sachie Morii

BC Hydro

Manager, Customer Interconnections

Tyler Nice

Eugene Water & Electric Board

Systems Engineering Supervisor

Brian Fettig

Montana-Dakota Utilities

Engineering Services Supervisor

Stephanie Winn

Salt River Project

Manager, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources

Maryanne McMillan

Southern California Edison

Principal Manager, Major Projects & Engineering
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Maryanne has over 20 years of experience managing people and projects. Throughout her career her focus has been on managing small and large capital projects including refineries, aerospace, telecommunications, mining and utilities.
At Southern California Edison where Maryanne is a Principal Manager, she is responsible for the Major Projects and Engineering department which includes Project Management, Engineering, Construction, and Project Controls.
Prior to joining Edison, Maryanne was the Manager of Project Controls at Jacobs Engineering. Her position included overseeing portfolios of small and large capital projects for multiple major refineries.
Maryanne earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University Fullerton in Management Science and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California in Systems Management.

Steven Powell

Southern California Edison

Executive Vice President, Operations
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Steven Powell is senior vice president of Strategy, Planning and Operational Performance at Southern California Edison (SCE). He is responsible for the development of strategic projects, prioritization of technology research and development and creation of long-term energy and price forecasts.

Powell also oversees SCE’s Operational and Service Excellence program, a company-wide business transformation effort to drive first-quartile operational performance and a higher performing culture.

Powell has held a variety of positions since joining the company in 2000. He spent more than eight years at SCE directing resource planning and strategy, managing gas and power procurement contracts and running the program management office for SCE’s plug-in electric vehicle readiness efforts.

Powell also served as director of Strategic Planning at Edison International, the parent company of SCE, developing and executing growth strategies in new businesses for the company. The team acquired SoCore Energy and made a series of minority investments to establish an energy service offering for commercial and industrial customers. Steve also managed Edison’s most recent corporate strategic refresh process.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and received his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

David Hutchens

UNS Energy Corp.

President and Chief Executive Officer
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David G. Hutchens is President and Chief Executive Officer of UNS Energy Corporation (“UNS Energy”), parent company of Tucson Electric Power (“TEP”) and Unisource Energy Services (“UES”). He also serves as Executive Vice President of Fortis Inc., overseeing Western Utility Operations including UNS, FortisBC and FortisAlberta.

Mr. Hutchens has been with UNS Energy for 20 years. He advanced through various management positions overseeing wholesale energy trading and marketing and, in January 2007, was named Vice President of Wholesale Energy and UNS Gas, an operating subsidiary of UES. He became Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Resource Planning in May 2009, rose to Executive Vice President in March 2011 and was named President in December 2011 before assuming his current role in May 2014.

He earned a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arizona and is a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.

Mr. Hutchens joined the Board of Directors of UNS Energy in December 2013, the FortisBC Board of Directors in January 2015, and the FortisAlberta Board of Directors in July 2016, as well as Edison Electric Institute. He is past Chair Western Energy Institute’s Board of Directors and is current Chair of Sun Corridor, Inc. He also is a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Tucson Conquistadores, Salpointe Catholic Education Board of Directors.

He is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Maryam Brown

Southern California Gas Company

President
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Maryam Brown is president of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility.

Previously, Brown was vice president of federal government affairs for Sempra Energy.

Prior to joining Sempra Energy in 2016, Brown served as the senior energy and environment counsel for the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 2011 to 2012, she was the energy chief counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. From 2010 to 2011, she was policy counsel for the U.S. Senate’s Republican Policy Committee. Before that, she was manager of public policy and strategic planning for ConocoPhillips.

Brown serves on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Business Roundtable. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree (Order of the Coif) from Louisiana State University.

Connie Lau (Invited)

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ralph Cavanagh

Natural Resources Defense Council

Energy Program Co-Director
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Ralph Cavanagh is a senior attorney and co-director of NRDC’s energy program, which he joined in 1979. Ralph has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford and UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), and a Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School; he has also been a faculty member for the University of Idaho’s Public Utility Executives Course for more than fifteen years. From 1993-2003 he served on the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board. His current board memberships include the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the California Clean Energy Fund, the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, the Northwest Energy Coalition, and the Renewable Northwest Project.

Ralph has received the Heinz Award for Public Policy, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Mary Kilmarx Award, the Yale Law School’s Preiskel-Silverman Fellowship, the Lifetime Achievement in Energy Efficiency Award from California’s Flex Your Power Campaign, the Northwest Energy Coalition’s Headwaters Award, and the Bonneville Power Administration’s Award for Exceptional Public Service. He is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale Law School. He is married to Deborah Rhode, who is the MacFarland Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Joseph Belechak

Accenture Inc

Principal
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Joe’s 37-year career has spanned the utility, energy, manufacturing, construction, and engineering industries including 25 years of experience with Duquesne Light Company and over 20 years of experience at the C/senior level.
He has led sales, business development, customer service, operations, supply chain, fleet and operations services and is an accomplished, results-oriented leader with diverse industry experience including many transformational Best in Class and Operational Excellence initiatives.
Joe is also a certified Gallup Strenghtfinders coach and has considerable mentoring and coaching experience at all levels of organizations.
Joe’s educational background includes a BSc from Carnegie Mellon University (Triple Major: Civil Engineering/Industrial Management/Economics, MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and an Advanced Management Program with Wharton Business.

Janaize Markland

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Senior Director, Enterprise Risk Management
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Janaize Markland is the Senior Director, Enterprise & Operational Risk and Insurance, for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. She leads a team of risk professionals and engineers responsible for Enterprise and Operational Risk Management, Risk Quantification, Insurance, Loss Control, Sarbanes Oxley Compliance, and Third Party Risk Management.
 
Ms. Markland joined PG&E in 2000 as an Environmental Field Specialist. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility in Environmental Services, Compliance & Ethics, and Risk Management. Janaize has complemented her work experience by developing her leadership, process improvement (Lean Six Sigma), facilitation, and public speaking skills. Throughout her career, Janaize has worked collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to build, implement, and improve company-wide programs and advance PG&E’s objectives.

Janaize began her career at TELUS Corporation in Vancouver, British Columbia, as an Environmental Consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) degree from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Science (Environment and Management) degree from Royal Roads University.

Janaize serves on the AEGIS Insurance Risk Management Advisory Board Committee and was a founding member and chair of the Edison Electric Institute Enterprise Risk Management Steering Committee.
 
Janaize balances her work-life with her passion for yoga, hiking, biking in far off destinations, and supporting her kids in their various academic and athletic pursuits.

Brian D’Agostino

San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Director, Fire Science and Climate Adaptation
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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.

Greg Hazelton

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
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Greg Hazelton joined Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), a bank and utility holding company, in 2013 with broad experience in both the regulated utility and competitive energy industries. He stepped away from a successful investment banking career for the opportunity to oversee HEI’s financial management and contribute to the company’s strategic direction during a time of environmental- and technology-led industry transformation. Greg is driven to use his talents to support HEI’s critical role in transforming the Hawaii economy to a more resilient, sustainable future and continuing Hawaii’s leadership in addressing climate change.

Previously, as a Managing Director in the Global Power & Utilities Group at UBS Investment Bank, Greg advised a diverse and international client base of energy-oriented companies and private equity firms on capital formation and strategic activities. Throughout his career Greg has consistently worked with innovative companies, development teams and entrepreneurs focused on renewable energy, new energy-based technologies and transformative business models. Greg’s professional career also includes nearly 12 years in management and executive roles with regulated utility companies, including Portland General Electric and NW Natural Gas.

In addition to his responsibilities at HEI, Greg serves on the board of the Aloha United Way and the Oahu Economic Development Board. Greg has an MBA from the University of Chicago and his CPA (non-practicing) from Oregon.

Melinda Rogers

NW Natural

Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer