Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Opportunity (Apr 15-17)

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 Chair(s)
  • Maneet Jain, Manager, Transmission and Distribution Operations, Seattle City Light

    • Program Location
    • Southern California Edison
    • 2244 Walnut Grove Ave.
      Rosemead, CA 91770
    • 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.

  • Full Course Dates + Locations
  • Session 2: April 15-17, Southern California Edison, Rosemead, CA
    Session 3: June 24-26, Seattle City Light, Seattle, WA
    Session 4: August 7-9, FortisBC, Vancouver, BC
    Session 5: September 15-17, Annual Meeting, Carlsbad, CA

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations and the critical role of group compositions for the success of the program, cancellations received after January 31, 2019, will not be eligible for a refund, and the organization will be responsible for the full 2019 registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the program are always welcome prior to session one.
  • 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 Christopher Lee, Senior Program Manager at (971) 255-4967.


Monday, April 15, 2019

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Optional Capstone Project Work Time

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Registration and Check-In

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Welcome to Session Two
Facilitator(s): Maneet Jain, Manager, T&D Operations, Seattle City Light

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

The Broader Issues Facing California Utilities and SCE’s leadership journey
Speaker(s): Ronald O Nichols, President, Southern California Edison, Steve Powell, Sr. Vice President Strategy, Planning & Operational Performance, Southern California Edison

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Gas and Electric 101 Roundtable Discussions
Facilitator(s): Brandon Besch, Sr Manager, Substation Construction, Southern California Edison, Kyle Stewart, Manager, Energy Risk Control, Analytics & Credit, Puget Sound Energy

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Homework Discussion

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

8:15 AM - 9:00 AM

Breakfast at Southern California Edison

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

How Utilities Make Money
Speaker(s): Tres Petmecky, SVP & CFO, Southern California Edison

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Emerging Issues and Priorities for Southern California Edison
Speaker(s): Phil Herrington, SVP Transmission & Distribution, Southern California Edison

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Achieving 100% Clean Energy
Speaker(s): Colin Cushnie, VP Power Supply, Southern California Edison

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Capstone Project Update
Facilitator(s): Maneet Jain, Manager, T&D Operations, Seattle City Light

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Agility in a Changing Industry Landscape
Speaker(s): Gillian Wright, Chief HR & Administrative Officer, Southern California Gas Company

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM


3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Leadership in a Changing Energy Landscape
Speaker(s): Jimmie Cho, Chief Operating Officer, Southern California Gas Company

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

WEI BAEL Program Reception for Students, Hosts, and Alumni

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Rosemead
888 Montebello Blvd.
Rosemead, California 91770

Reception will be held on the 4th floor in the Cypress Room

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Breakfast at Southern California Edison

8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Tour of Southern California Edison’s Advanced Technology Labs

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Southern California Edison's Digital Transformation
Speaker(s): Todd Inlander, Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Southern California Edison

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Wrap Up and Debrief

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Optional Capstone Group Time

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (323) 722-8800 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) to receive a special rate of $164 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until March 17, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Ronald O Nichols

Southern California Edison


Maneet Jain

Seattle City Light

Manager, T&D Operations

Phil Herrington

Southern California Edison

SVP Transmission & Distribution

Tres Petmecky

Southern California Edison


Colin Cushnie

Southern California Edison

VP Power Supply

Gillian Wright

Southern California Gas Company

Chief HR & Administrative Officer

Jimmie Cho

Southern California Gas Company

Chief Operating Officer
Learn More

Jimmie Cho is chief operating officer (COO) for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. Previously, he was senior vice president of customer service for SoCalGas and gas distribution operations for SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Before that, Cho held increasingly responsible management roles in the areas of gas transmission and storage operations; engineering and major projects; human resources, diversity and inclusion; customer communications, research and web strategy; safety and emergency services; and customer service field operations. In addition to his tenure with Sempra Energy, he formerly served as director of resource conservation and public outreach at the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and started his professional career as a project engineer for the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. Cho serves on the board of directors of the National Utilities Diversity Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Brown University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Stanford University.

Todd Inlander

Southern California Edison

Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Steve Powell

Southern California Edison

Sr. Vice President Strategy, Planning & Operational Performance

Kelly Kalaria

Southern California Edison

Chief of Staff

E.J. Muro

Southern California Edison

Advisor, Office of the CEO

Editha Toms

Southern California Edison

Customer Service – Business Planning

Brandon Besch

Southern California Edison

Sr Manager, Substation Construction

Kyle Stewart

Puget Sound Energy

Manager, Energy Risk Control, Analytics & Credit