Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Challenge – Session One (Feb 27-29)

An intensive training for high potential managers and supervisors through exposure to broad perspectives of the utility business, its interrelationships and successful leadership strategies. This program is designed by a utility-driven Curriculum Development Team, and directed by facilitators, and executive and alumni mentors. Program sessions are hosted by member utilities and topics are presented by executives, subject matter experts and formal instructors. The first four sessions focus on leadership development, industry perspectives, customer connections, communications and strategic planning. The program includes a capstone project which is delivered to industry leaders at the WEI Annual Meeting. Participants build a broad peer network that continues well into their future careers.

General Details

  • Program Location
  • Southern California Gas Company
  • 555 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
  • Who Should Attend
  • Participants are nominated by WEI members and selected through a formal application review process. Applicants make a commitment to attend and actively participate at each session, and should plan time for additional work between sessions. It is expected that students commit to completing “homework” assignments during evenings and off-hours with additional assignments required outside of the normal work day. Each group is assigned one executive and one alumni mentor who will support the group’s development throughout the program and guide them to a successful final project.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations and the critical role of group compositions for the success of the program, cancellations received after January 26th, will not be eligible for a refund, and the organization will be responsible for the full 2024 registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the program are always welcome prior to the first day of fundamentals training, which is February 14, 2024.
  • 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 Cassie Leone, Program Manager at 9713031395.


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Student Check In

Meet in the hotel lobby to say hello, pick up your name badge, and board the bus for the tour. 

1:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Industry Tour: H2 Experience and Energy Resource Center

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Networking Dinner in Small Groups

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

9:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Welcome + Student Introductions

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Welcome to Host Utility
Speaker(s): Gillian Wright, SVP & Chief Customer Officer, Southern California Gas Company

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Networking Lunch

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Rodger Schwecke, Senior Vice President, Gas Operations & Construction, Southern California Gas Company

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Networking Break

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Current Issues Assignment

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Networking Tips and Close

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Networking Reception

Sponsored by Underground Construction.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Networking Breakfast

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

Capstone Introduction

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Networking Break

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Executive Panel
Moderator(s): Armando Torrez, Regulatory Strategy and Policy Manager- Angeles Link, Southern California Gas Company
Panelist(s): Monica Hyon, Director of Systems & Technology- Energy Infrastructure, Southern California Gas Company, Jawaad Malik, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Southern California Gas Company, Sara Mijares, Vice President and Controller, Southern California Gas Company, Abbey Nishimoto, Director, Organizational Effectiveness, Southern California Gas Company
Speaker(s): Devin Zornizer, Vice President of Construction, Southern California Gas Company

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Strengths + Leadership Exercise

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Networking Lunch

12:45 PM - 1:30 PM

Team Building Exercise

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Capstone Project Time

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Program Close

Hotel + Travel

  • This 1923 beaux arts-inspired grande dame is a 10-minute walk from both the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and 2 blocks from the Pershing Square rail station. Refined rooms with plantation shutters offer WiFi (fee), satellite TV and marble baths.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at 213-612-1575 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) and use the discount code ‘2402WEIBAEL’ to receive a special rate of $160 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 12, 2024 or until the WEI room block is full.

    Please note that WEI has negotiated on your behalf to have the hotel’s standard $35/night resort fee waived, but it cannot be removed from their online booking portal. Please reserve your room with the fee and confirm upon check in at the hotel (or call in advance) that it has been removed from your reservation.

Program Sponsors

Thank you to our program sponsors!

Meet The Speakers

Gillian Wright

Southern California Gas Company

SVP & Chief Customer Officer

Rodger Schwecke

Southern California Gas Company

Senior Vice President, Gas Operations & Construction

Monica Hyon

Southern California Gas Company

Director of Systems & Technology- Energy Infrastructure

Jawaad Malik

Southern California Gas Company

Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer

Abigail Nishimoto

Southern California Gas Company

Director, Organizational Effectiveness

Devin Zornizer

Southern California Gas Company

Vice President of Construction

Armando Torrez

Southern California Gas Company

Regulatory Strategy and Policy Manager- Angeles Link

Sara Mijares

Southern California Gas Company

Vice President and Controller