Business Acumen for Certified Leaders (Nov 14-15)

Business Acumen for Certified Leaders is a continuing leadership program bringing together past alumni of the esteemed Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders program.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Sarah Kist, Director, Transmission Operations and Maintenance, Arizona Public Service Company

    • Program Location
    • Arizona Public Service Company
    • 400 N 5th Street
      Phoenix, Arizona 85004
    • Who Should Attend
    • Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders alumni, facilitators, mentors, and executive mentors.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $349 USD

    Registration includes all materials and meals associated with the program. Guest tickets are available for $100 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 Eric Christenson, Senior Program Manager at (971) 303-2118.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Welcome to Arizona Public Service + Principles of Leadership
Speaker(s): Stacy Derstine, VP, Customer & Chief Customer Officer, Arizona Public Service Company

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Introduction Updates + Current Issues Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Sarah Kist, General Manager, Fossil Engineering, Arizona Public Service Company

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

WEI Reception with Host and Local Utility Leadership and BAEL Alum

Arizona Public Service Company
400 N 5th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Networking Dinner at Canyon Cafe

The networking dinner is a no-host event.

455 N 3rd St
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Thursday, November 15, 2018

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

APS Leadership Academy - Meaning Quotient
Speaker(s): Ted Geisler, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Arizona Public Service Company

Tap into your teams’ peak performance, which involves high stakes, excitement, challenges, and feeling that you matter by leveraging the meaning quotient of work. By improving the meaning quotient, you will learn the importance of the following:
* Tell five stories at once
* Let your employees write their own lottery ticket
* Use small, unexpected rewards to motivate

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Industry Perspectives in a Dynamic Environment
Speaker(s): Jim Connell, Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Communications, NPL Construction Co.

* Opportunities in our industry to build a career
* Dynamic changes over the past several years
* Unprecedented spend / improvement of legacy infrastructure
* Collaboration among utilities and service providers

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Emerging Natural Gas Industry Trends
Speaker(s): Julie Williams, Division Operations VP, Tucson, Southwest Gas Corporation

Julie Williams, Division Vice President for Southwest Gas (and BAEL Class of 2008 Alum), discusses key challenges and opportunities on the gas side of the energy industry.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Emerging Electric Industry Trends
Speaker(s): Daniel Froetscher, Executive Vice President of Operations, Arizona Public Service Company

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Emerging Customer Trends
Speaker(s): Jim Pratt, Associate General Manager and Chief Customer Officer, Salt River Project

For the 19th time in the 20 years that J.D. Power has been surveying residential electric customers – and 17th year in a row – Salt River Project ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the western United States among Large electric utilities with 500,000 or more residential households. Associate General Manager and Chief Customer Officer Jim Pratt will share his insights on how to achieve, and maintain, great customer satisfaction.

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Strategy Discussion + Program Close
Facilitator(s): Jana Elliott, Director of Facilities, Security and Emergency Management, Seattle City Light

What does it all mean? As a group we will discuss where we think the energy business is going and how to lead this change.

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Networking Event (Optional)

For anyone staying through Friday we will coordinate a group activity.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (602) 252-1234 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until October 24, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Daniel Froetscher

Arizona Public Service Company

Executive Vice President of Operations
Learn More

Daniel Froetscher is president and chief operating officer for Arizona Public Service Company (APS). Based in Phoenix, APS is Arizona’s largest electric company and serves nearly 1.3 million customers across the state.

Froetscher oversees the company’s operations for customer service, transmission, distribution, non-nuclear generation, resource management, environmental, supply chain, external communications and corporate development.

An APS employee since 1980, Froetscher has developed broad experience in a variety of customer service and energy generation and delivery leadership positions. Before assuming his current role, he was executive vice president of operations. Froetscher has also served as senior vice president, transmission, distribution and customers and has been a company officer since 2009. In his various leadership roles, Froetscher has dedicated his efforts across the state, in both Phoenix and rural Arizona.

Froetscher is active in numerous community endeavors and currently serves on the board of the Valley of the Sun United Way. He is a past board member and chairman of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and has been involved with organizations focused on health care, education and economic development throughout his APS career.

Froetscher earned a Bachelor of Applied Sciences degree in Public Agency Service and Bachelor of Arts degree in Enterprise in Society from Northern Arizona University. He also attended the Stanford Executive Program. Froetscher is married with three children and six grandchildren.

Julie Williams

Southwest Gas Corporation

Division Operations VP, Tucson
Learn More

Julie Williams is Vice President/Southern Arizona Division of Southwest Gas Corporation. She is responsible for overseeing operations throughout southern Arizona.

Her primary focus is providing safe, reliable gas service to southern Arizona customers through effective construction, customer service, measurement and control, engineering, and administrative operations. The division headquarters is located in Tucson, with district operation centers located in Yuma, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande, Douglas and Globe.

Julie joined Southwest Gas in 1997 as an Engineer in the Company’s Central Arizona Division. Over the next 10 years she held several engineering management positions of increasing responsibility in the Central Arizona Division until being promoted to Director/Central Support in 2008. Julie was appointed Vice President/Northern Nevada Division in 2010 and named Vice President/Southern Arizona Division in 2014.

An alumnus of Arizona State University, Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and an Executive MBA. Julie currently serves as Board of Directors Vice Chair for the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and on the board of the DM-50, a group of local business leaders that provide advocacy and support to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Julie likes to spend her free time with her husband, Kazuaki, and their 4-year-old son, Tomo. Favorite hobbies are hiking, watching movies and traveling.

Jim Pratt

Salt River Project

Associate General Manager and Chief Customer Officer

Ted Geisler

Arizona Public Service Company

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Stacy Derstine

Arizona Public Service Company

VP, Customer & Chief Customer Officer

Sarah Kist

Arizona Public Service Company

General Manager, Fossil Engineering

Jim Connell

NPL Construction Co.

Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Communications

Jana Elliott

Seattle City Light

Director of Facilities, Security and Emergency Management