Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Challenge (Apr 24-26)

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
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • 355 110th Ave NE
    Bellevue, WA 98004
  • 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.

  • Upcoming Dates + Locations
  • Session 2: April 24-26, Puget Sound Energy, Bellevue, WA
    Session 3: June 26-28, New Mexico Gas company, Albuquerque, NM
    Session 4: August 8-10, ENMAX, Calgary, AB
    Session 5: September 20-22, Annual Meeting, Tucson, AZ

  • 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.


Monday, April 24, 2017

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Registration + Check In

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Welcome to PSE and Overview/Leadership
Speaker(s): Phil Bussey, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Puget Sound Energy

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Corporate Brand/Reputation
Speaker(s): Andy Wappler, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Puget Sound Energy

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Group Discussion/Exercise

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Group Activity

The group will walk to Lucky Strike in Lincoln Square, approximately half a mile from the hotel. In addition to bowling and billiards there are lots of restaurants in the area. Dinner is on your own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast at PSE

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

PSE Operations
Speaker(s): Booga Gilbertson, Senior Vice President, Operations, Puget Sound Energy

9:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Operations and the Customer
Speaker(s): Jennifer Tada, Director C&P, Puget Sound Energy, Harry Shapiro, Director, Gas Operations, Puget Sound Energy, Dan Koch, Director, Electric Operations, Puget Sound Energy

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Planning – Competing for Dollars
Speaker(s): Cathy Koch, Director Planning, Puget Sound Energy

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Regulatory & Compliance
Speaker(s): Steve Secrist, Sr. Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Puget Sound Energy

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Roundtable conversations

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

PSE & the Future – Getting to Zero
Speaker(s): David Mills, Vice President, Energy Operations, Puget Sound Energy

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM


4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Preparing for Next Generation
Speaker(s): Marla Mellies, SVP Chief Administrative Officer, Puget Sound Energy

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Reception with PSE Executives and invited guests

The Seattle Marriott Bellevue
Washington Room, Lobby Level

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast at PSE

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

IT and the Industry
Speaker(s): Margaret Hopkins, CIO, Puget Sound Energy

9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Financials in the Industry
Speaker(s): Matt Marcelia, Director Controller & Principle Accounting Officer, Puget Sound Energy

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Tour Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Plant and Museum

Please wear closed toe shoes and comfortable clothes. Water and a light snack will be available on the bus.

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Capstone Project Work Time

Lunch will be available when we get back from the tour. Groups are encouraged to take a lunch break or have a working lunch as best meets their needs.

3:00 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Optional extended work time

Space at PSE will remain available for extended Capstone Group work time.

Hotel + Travel

  • Immerse yourself in a stylish city escape at Courtyard Seattle Bellevue/Downtown. Just 15 minutes from exciting attractions in Downtown Seattle and a short drive from Lake Washington, our hotel in Bellevue, WA ensures travelers easy access to all the adventures they crave. Combine convenience with comfort in our modernly appointed accommodations, boasting chic sitting areas, luxury bedding, complimentary Wi-Fi and large work desks with ergonomic chairs for travelers wishing to stay productive in privacy. Fuel the day's activities with a made-to-order omelet and a specialty Starbucks® beverage from Table 8 in the mornings, or wind down with flavorful cuisine inspired by the surrounding area and cocktail in the evenings. During downtime, work up a sweat in our state-of-the-art fitness center, followed by a refreshing dip in our sparkling indoor pool. Whether traveling on business or leisure, treat yourself to all the amenities that make Courtyard one of the premier hotels in Bellevue, WA.

Meet The Speakers

Phil Bussey

Puget Sound Energy

Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer

Andy Wappler

Puget Sound Energy

Vice President, Corporate Affairs

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.

Harry Shapiro

Puget Sound Energy

Director, Gas Operations

Dan Koch

Puget Sound Energy

Director, Electric Operations

Steve Secrist

Puget Sound Energy

Sr. Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

David Mills

Puget Sound Energy

Vice President, Energy Operations

Margaret Hopkins

Puget Sound Energy

Learn More

Margaret Hopkins is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Washington-based Puget Sound Energy, the utility subsidiary of Puget Energy, Inc.
As VP and CIO, Margaret is responsible for leading PSE’s technology and cyber security strategy and delivering solutions that enable business process improvement.

Margaret’s previous positions include technology and leadership roles at Philip Morris, The Chubb Corporation, and Safeco Insurance.

Margaret is dedicated to developing future leaders in the community and workplace. She has been an executive mentor to the Executive Development Institute of Seattle’s Puget Sound Region, where she provided professional coaching and mentoring services to mid-senior-level leaders.

She holds a degree from The Pennsylvania State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

Jennifer Tada

Puget Sound Energy

Director C&P

Cathy Koch

Puget Sound Energy

Director Planning

Marla Mellies

Puget Sound Energy

SVP Chief Administrative Officer

Matt Marcelia

Puget Sound Energy

Director Controller & Principle Accounting Officer