Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Challenge (Jun 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
  • ATCO Park
  • 5302 Forand Street SW Calgary, Alberta T3E 8B4
  • 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 15, 2022, will not be eligible for a refund, and the organization will be responsible for the full 2022 registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the program are always welcome prior to the first day of fundamentals training, which is February 7, 2022.
  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Kris Taylor, Senior Program + Service Company Manager at (971) 930-2033.


Monday, June 27, 2022

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Optional Capstone Work Time

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Meet in Hotel Lobby

1:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Transportation to ATCO Park

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Welcome to Host Utility - Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Jason Sharpe, President, ATCO Natural Gas

2:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

7:30 AM - 7:45 AM

Meet in Hotel Lobby

7:45 AM - 8:00 AM

Transportation to ATCO Park

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM


8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Leadership Presence + Public Speaking
Speaker(s): Dan Dumsha, Consultant, The Humphrey Group, Quinn Contini, Executive Director, Tightrope Impro Theatre

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

Capstone Collaboration

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Loraleigh Kovacik, Director of Sales, Electric Business, Community/Customer Impacts, ATCO Electric

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Homework Discussion / Peer Roundtable

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM


5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Networking Reception

6:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Return to Hotel

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

7:30 AM - 7:45 AM

Meet in Lobby

7:45 AM - 8:15 AM


8:15 AM - 8:45 AM


8:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Strengths Workshop
Speaker(s): Shannon Earley, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Volare Strengths

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Jason Sharpe, President, ATCO Natural Gas

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Industry Roundtable

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Debrief, Close, HW Preview

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Optional Capstone Work Time

Hotel + Travel

  • Hotel Arts
  • 119-12 Ave SW
  • Calgary, Alberta T2R 0G8
  • Phone: (403) 266-4611

  • Click here to make your reservation now.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (403) 266-4611 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $169 CAD/night. This rate is guaranteed until June 6, 2022 or until the WEI room block is full.

Onsite Safety + Health Info

It is WEI’s policy that anyone attending a WEI-hosted program be vaccinated for COVID-19. This policy does allow for a negative COVID-19 test to be submitted in lieu of vaccination if the attendee is unable to receive the vaccine and if permitted by local host cities or venues. This policy applies to all WEI staff, as well as attendees, guests, speakers, and exhibitors.

Fully vaccinated is defined by the United States or Canadian governments. WEI accepts the following as proof of vaccination: (1) a CDC or Provincial-issued vaccination card, (2) a photo of a CDC or Provincial-issued vaccination card (front and back); (3) a document of vaccination from a licensed healthcare provider; or (4) a digital vaccine record issued by the State or Province in which the attendee resides.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test means a printed document or image on a phone from a test provider, laboratory, or government agency-approved at-home test method that shows a negative result of a PCR or antigen COVID-19 test within 72 hours before first entry.

Attendees must show a picture or document with vaccine status or a negative test result upon arrival at the program. Attendees without the required proof will be denied entry. No refunds will be given if any attendee is denied entry due to vaccine and/or testing requirements.

Please refer to WEI’s Safety + Health Code of Conduct for other important considerations.

Meet The Speakers

Jason Sharpe

ATCO Natural Gas

Learn More

Jason Sharpe leads ATCO’s Gas & Pipelines division, bringing extensive experience in energy management and sustainability, standards, pipeline design and integrity, operations, and major project management oversight. He is accountable for the strategic and operational direction of the company’s natural gas transmission and distribution business in Alberta.
Mr. Sharpe joined ATCO in 2002, bringing his Civil Engineering expertise to lead key pipeline projects and engineering groups. In 2014, he was appointed Vice President of Engineering & Construction, then Senior Vice President & General Manager in 2015 of ATCO’s natural gas pipelines division. Following the 2018 incorporation of the Gas Distribution & Transmission businesses into a single management team, Mr. Sharpe was appointed as the Senior Vice President & General Manager, responsible for leading the new integrated structure. He was promoted to his current role in 2021.
Mr. Sharpe is the Chair of the Canadian Gas Association’s Board of Directors and sits on the board of the Western Energy Institute. In previous governance roles, he was also a Director with the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Pipeline Research Council International board member, and Director with the Van Horne Institute. In 2022, he was a featured panelist at the inaugural Canadian Hydrogen Convention, and at the Calgary Energy Dialogues alongside key industry and government representatives. He’s also been a strategic speaker at the Global Energy Show (previously the Global Petroleum Show).
Mr. Sharpe holds a degree in Engineering and a Master of Business Administration in Global Energy Management & Sustainability from the University of Calgary and is a member of APEGA. Before starting his career, he was a member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski team and shares his continued love of skiing with his wife and five children.

Shannon Earley

Volare Strengths

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

Dan Dumsha

The Humphrey Group


Quinn Contini

Tightrope Impro Theatre

Executive Director

Loraleigh Kovacik

ATCO Electric

Director of Sales, Electric Business, Community/Customer Impacts