Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders – Opportunity (Feb 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

Course Facilitator
Denise Wilcox, Manager, Human Resources, New Mexico Gas Company

Session One Theme
Leadership Development

Session Objectives
• Identify strengths of self and others
• How do you lead a diverse workforce as an inclusive leader
• Start establishing bonds with project team and other participants
• Identify key leadership attributes of high performing teams
• Begin group project work

Program Location
Southwest Gas Corporation
5241 Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV 89150

For more information contact Eric Christenson at 971.230.6984


Monday, February 29

1:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Tour of Hoover Dam
Meet Hotel Lobby at 1 PM

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
SW Gas Operations Center Tour

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Student Meet and Greet
Palms Hotel

Tuesday, March 1

7:30 AM – 7:45 AM

7:45 AM – 8:30 AM
Breakfast at SW Gas

8:30 AM – 9:15 AM
Welcome Students, Mentors, Speakers, and Safety Minute
The 2016 Facilitator will provide an introduction to the program and describe the goals throughout the program.

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
Student Introductions
Students will introduce one of their peers and share information learned from the Partner Interview assignment.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Welcome to SW Gas & Leadership Discussion
Speaker: Bill Moody
Welcome the class to their utility and share thoughts on leadership, including:
Turning points, learning from mistakes risks taken and rewards received; and the skills and attributes he seeks and develops in his senior leadership team.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Guest Speaker #2 – Leadership Discussion
Speaker: Sharon Braddy-McKoy

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Leadership Exercise

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Group Roundtable – Current Issues
The class will discuss what was learned during their conversations with company senior leaders. What are companies struggling with as an organization? What business issues will the company address with guest speakers and other members of the BAEL program through this program?

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Networking Tips Refresher & Close
We close out the day and provide tips and tricks for intentional networking.

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
WEI BAEL Program Reception
Palms Resort (Room is Madison AB)
The Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders students invite our host utilities, Southwest Gas and NV Energy, to join both cohort groups for a reception in appreciation of their contributions to the development of tomorrow’s energy company leaders.
Sponsored by:

Wednesday, March 2

7:30 AM – 7:45 AM

7:45 AM – 8:30 AM
Breakfast at SW Gas

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Recap and Day’s Activities

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Guest Speaker #3 Leadership Discussion
Speaker: Eric DeBonis

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Team-Building Exercise
Based on the best-selling book, Strengths-Based Leadership, students will be led through a team-building exercise to identify the strengths in others and how an understanding of these strengths contribute to high-performing teams.

11:45 AM – 12:45 AM

12:45 PM – 1:15 PM
BAEL Capstone Introduction
The BAEL program provides a unique experience of working with a diverse group of emerging leaders researching and reporting on key strategic drivers in the energy industry. Results of your analysis and key learnings are provided by your project group at the WEI Annual Meeting.

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Project Group Discussions
After being assigned to your project groups, students will share the key issues that their company faces that they learned during pre-Session interviews.

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Close and Introduction to the Elevator Pitch
Throughout the program, you and your classmates will several opportunities to mix and mingle with executives and key leaders from host utilities. A polished elevator pitch provides you an opportunity to make a great first impression and share a little bit about yourself and your organization with folks you meet.

Alumni Mentors provide examples and share their own tips on effective elevator speeches.

In future sessions you will present the type of utility and regulatory structure of your company, at least one key issue facing the company, and how the company sustains its financial strength.

3:00 PM
Session One Adjourns

Hotel + Travel

The Palms Casino Resort
4321 W Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV
Phone: 866.942.7770

Please contact the hotel directly at 866.942.7770. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders for a special rate of $79/night for a superior guest room. State and local taxes may apply. This rate is guaranteed to February 7th, 2016 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Eric DeBonis

Southwest Gas Corporation

Senior Vice President, Operations

Sharon Braddy-McKoy

Southwest Gas Corporation

Vice President, Human Resources

Bill Moody

Southwest Gas Corporation

Executive Vice President

Matthew Helmers

Southwest Gas Corporation

Manager, Operations Planning & Analysis
Learn More

Matthew Helmers has been an employee with Southwest Gas Corporation for 11 years. He has an engineering background and worked in the Northern Nevada Division on distribution design, transmission design, and code compliance before relocating to Las Vegas. His current position as Manager of Operations Planning & Analysis has him involved with the operations aspect for all five divisions at Southwest Gas. He analyzes budgets and operating plans along with collects performance metrics related to safety, service, and reliability. He is also currently the Vice Chair for the American Gas Association’s Best Practices group and second Vice Chair for the Western Energy Institute’s Gas Operations group. He completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering and obtained is Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. He has a wife of seven years and a one year old son.

Paul Gustilo

Southwest Gas Corporation

Director, Gas Operations Support Staff
Learn More

Paul has been with Southwest Gas for nine years. Paul currently oversees Southwest’s corporate support group for operations and emergency response manuals, training and operator qualification, and tools and equipment utilized by construction and customer service personnel.

Prior to joining Southwest Gas, Paul has worked for the American Gas Association and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

Sharon Braddy-McKoy

Southwest Gas Corporation

Vice President, Human Resources

Eric DeBonis

Southwest Gas Corporation

Senior Vice President, Operations
Learn More

Eric DeBonis is Central Arizona Division Vice President at Southwest Gas Corporation. He is responsible for distribution of natural gas to 580,000 customers in the Phoenix valley. Prior to his current assignment, Eric held the positions of General Manager/Operations, Director /Operations and Director/Engineering Staff. He has been with Southwest Gas Corporation for 16 years. Prior to joining Southwest, Eric worked for the Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Eric graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and later received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Eric serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arizona State University W.P Cary School of Business Dean’s Council. He is a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Greater Phoenix Urban League, and Phoenix Rotary 100.

Eric lives in Scottsdale with his wife Sonnya and their children, Michael and Alexis. His hobbies include spending time with his family and watching his children play soccer, football and basketball.

William Moody

Southwest Gas Corporation

Executive Vice President
Learn More

Moody joined Southwest Gas Corporation in 1979 as an Accountant. In 1981, Mr. Moody was promoted to the Rates and Regulatory Affairs Department and served as a cost analyst and rate engineer. From 1985 to 1991, Moody worked in various financial positions ranging from Budget Administrator to Director/Corporate Planning and Financial Services. Moody held several diverse positions from 1991 to 2012 including, Manager/Division Administration, Director/Facilities and Resource Development, Director/Corporate Development, Director/Customer Relations/Southern Nevada Division, Director/Gas Operations Support Staff, Director/Gas Supply, Vice President/Gas Resources, and Senior Vice President/Staff Operations and Technology. In November 2013, Moody assumed the role of Executive Vice President. Included in this area are the Company’s Operations, Engineering, Information Services, and Energy Efficiency and Technology Development functions.

He received his BS degree in Accounting from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1978. Moody is a member of the American Gas Association, as well as the Western Energy Institute, and also participates on numerous technical and operating committees. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for HELP of Southern Nevada.