This one and a half day event provides a full-day educational session, a business meeting and the opportunity to network with the West’s natural gas and electric utility executive community. The agenda is developed by the WEI President and Board Chair to deliver provocative discussions and identifies strategic drivers that influence energy utilities in Western North America and is driven by the yearly theme. Each year the Board of Directors convene twice, once in January/February, and the second coincides with the WEI Annual Meeting to evaluate WEI as a whole. At this meeting, the Board of Directors convene a business session to evaluate WEI’s accomplishments and determine the direction of the association.
This meeting is invitation only. Current WEI Board of Directors are welcome to attend free of charge along with a personal guest, (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry).
Attendee (Special Invite): $599 USD
This registration is for attendees who are not currently serving on the board but have been invited to attend. This ticket includes all meal events, education sessions, and meeting materials. Does not include the two Business Sessions. Tickets for guests of special invite attendees are available for $150 and allow a non-board member attendee’s personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event including meal events.
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Executive Committee Business Session
Committee members only
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Welcome Reception + Dinner
Sponsored by Burns & McDonnell
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Welcome Announcements + Leadership Perspectives Panel
Moderator(s): Regina Mayor, Global and U.S. Sector Leader for Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG LLP
Panelist(s): Nicole Kivisto, President & CEO, MDU Utilities Group, Debra Smith, CEO, Seattle City Light, Roger Dall'Antonia, President and CEO, FortisBC
Hear a dynamic discussion around industry issues from utility Presidents and CEOs that will stimulate conversation throughout the rest of the day. Topics include evolving utility business models, customer expectations, regulatory changes, climate change, cybersecurity and other physical threats.
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Agile or Irrelevant: Redefining Resilience
Speaker(s): Regina Mayor, Global and U.S. Sector Leader for Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG LLP
KPMG will share findings from their 2019 Global CEO Outlook survey and facilitate an interactive discussion with the audience. Leverage the knowledge in the room as we dive deeper in to some of the most pertinent issues that have impacted WEI members throughout the year.
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
The Future of Natural Gas in California
Moderator(s): Amber Mahone, Partner, E3
Panelist(s): Sharon Tomkins, Vice President, Strategy and Engagement, and Chief Environmental Officer, Southern California Gas Company, Reiko A Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager - Power System Engineering, Planning, and Technical Services, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Eric DeBonis, Senior Vice President, Operations, Southwest Gas Corporation
Speaker(s): Sharon Tomkins, Vice President, Strategy and Engagement, and Chief Environmental Officer, Southern California Gas Company
Electrification and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions continues to be a very hot topic in California and beyond. Hear key findings from a new report on Natural Gas Distribution in California’s Low-Carbon Future and the implications for natural gas and electric companies, and their customers.
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Hydrogen: New Opportunities + Challenges
Moderator(s): Mike Rutkowski, SVP, Research & Technology Development, Gas Technology Institute
Panelist(s): Gregory Caldwell, Director, Energy Systems Innovation, ATCO Natural Gas, Yuri Freedman, Senior Director of Business Development, Southern California Gas Company
Natural gas and electric companies continue to seek new ways to leverage existing infrastructure and renewable energy sources while providing the cleanest, most reliable energy to their customers. This session will explore new developments in how companies are using hydrogen to achieve these goals.
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM
Board of Directors Business Session
Board members only
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Networking Reception + Dinner
Sponsored by Henkels & McCoy
Please contact the hotel directly at (844) 875-5256 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $269 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until January 13, 2020 or until the WEI room block is full.
As of January 3, 2020, the discounted room block may be full however we encourage you to consider the following nearby options:
Hilton San Diego/ Del Mar, 15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA (1.6 mi away)
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Del Mar/Solana Beach, 717 South Highway 101, Solana Beach, California (1.6 mi away)
Debra Smith is the General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, one of the nation’s largest community-owned owned electric utilities. City Light serves more than 460,000 meters and 900,000 people across Seattle and parts of eight adjacent franchise cities.
Previously, Debra served as Central Lincoln PUD’s General Manager from July 2013 to October 2018. She brought 17 years of experience to that role from the Eugene Water and Electric Board, where she held a variety of positions, including Assistant General Manager.
Debra earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arizona State University and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum of Oregon. She currently serves as chair of the Public Power Council and is on the board of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee.
Debra and her husband Dale have raised three sons and two daughters. They love City life, and have a home in Eugene, Oregon as well. The Smiths enjoy travel, time with friends and family and hanging out with their grandson Oliver.
Roger is President and Chief Executive Officer for FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc., overseeing electricity and natural gas business operations. He has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry including senior financial roles with Westcoast Energy prior to joining FortisBC in 2004.
Roger has been trusted in numerous leadership roles throughout the organization, including executive oversight of customer service & technology, regulatory affairs, strategic planning & corporate development and finance and treasury. He has also served the operation by bringing his skills and experience to energy solutions, business innovation, and conservation and energy management.
As a senior executive in the energy industry, Roger serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Gas Association, Canadian Electricity Association and Western Energy Institute. In addition, Roger is a member of the Business Council of BC’s Board of Governors. He is also a Board member for both FortisBC companies as well as Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. Roger has previously served on the Board of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation and Resource Centre.
Roger holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Sharon Tomkins is vice president of strategy and engagement for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. She is responsible for developing and delivering the information, that meets customers’ energy needs and supports state environmental and social policy objectives.
Tomkins leads the company’s energy policy and strategy, which includes issues management for balanced energy, energy choice, affordability and reliability.
Tomkins joined SoCalGas in 2010 as regulatory assistant general counsel. Prior to this, she was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she was a founding member of the firm’s Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental Practice and represented clients in a variety of litigation, regulatory and appellate proceedings. Tomkins’ energy focus began during her representation of various clients, including Sempra, during the California energy crisis. She also developed and taught the law school class, Energy Law, Policy & Climate Change, at UCLA law school. After graduating from law school, Tomkins clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs.
Tomkins is chair of the board of directors of the California Minority Counsel Program. She also serves on the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Constitutional Rights Foundation, as well as the advisory board of the U.C. Davis Energy Efficiency Institute. She is a member of the University of California, Irvine Chief Executive Roundtable.
Tomkins graduated Order of the Coif from the USC Gould School of Law and received her undergraduate degree in English, with High Distinction, from Pennsylvania State University.