Business Analytics (Sep 28-29)

Utilities find themselves inundated with a huge diversity of data across all lines of their business. Business analytics professionals are a critical link to analyzing and interpreting information in order to improve systems and operations, maintain organizational health and ultimately improve the bottom line. These professionals gather semi-annually to discuss best practices and tools used to efficiently capture and communicate analytics within each unique utility.

General Details

Program Chair
Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric

Program Location
Western Energy Institute
1001 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 325
Portland, Oregon 97204

Who Should Attend
Professionals responsible for data mining, data warehouse, enterprise reporting, data analytics and developing metrics for their utility. Depending on the organizational structure, these professionals come from areas including finance, operations, business planning and customer service.

Registration Options
Member: $399
Registration fee includes admittance to all sessions, meals and optional networking dinner. Guest passes are available for $100 and include admittance to the networking dinner.

For more information contact Kara Wolfe at 503.688.2794


Wednesday, September 28

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Registration and Check-In
Arrive to Western Energy Institute early to network with peers. Continental breakfast provided.

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Welcome to Portland
Facilitator: Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric
Speaker: Brett Greene, Portland General Electric
Brett Greene, Director of Fundamentals and Strategic Support, will welcome the group to Portland and share his industry insights.

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Introductions and Roundtable
Facilitator: Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric
Come prepared to share a five minute snapshot of your organization’s current analytics efforts. Returning participants can also provide a progress report on items shared at the spring forum.

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Networking Break

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Survey Roundtable
Facilitator: Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric
This session will use responses from a pre-forum participant survey as a guide. We will review results as a group and focus in on each topic with attendees sharing insights into responses. We will cover both broad and narrow aspects of the business analytics function as we discuss topics such as how the department is structured at each organization and which key financial metrics prove most significant.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Networking Lunch
Catered lunch provided.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Power BI Introduction
Facilitator: Michael Champ, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Speaker: Andrew Dang, NW Natural
Power BI is a new business analytics tool (and service) provided by Microsoft. It provides interactive visualizations with self-service Business Intelligence capabilities, where end users can create reports and dashboards without having to depend heavily on IT and database administration. This presentation will include a high level overview of Power BI, especially the Power BI Desktop. It will also include a live demo, brief highlights on work in progress at NW Natural, and a list of available resources.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Networking Break

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Linking Analytics and IT
Speakers: John Sohl, NW Natural
Carl Landre, NW Natural
As a critical link between IT and executives, analysts speak two languages in order to communicate the IT developments necessary to drive business results. While analysts’ relationships with IT and executives both prove vital, this session will focus on the ongoing conversation between analytics and IT, and will discuss the importance of having IT at the table for new initiatives. Come prepared to share current challenges and triumphs in closing the gap between analytics and IT at your organization.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Targeted Roundtable on Redefining Requirements
Facilitator: Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric
For a long time, IT would ask for requirements and build a custom tool to facilitate analytics. Now, business has become more dynamic and its ever-changing nature makes this model difficult to sustain. As teams ask IT for increased built-in flexibility, and as almost all reports become dashboards, how is your team ensuring IT can build for today the answers to the questions of tomorrow? Will your IT team adopt new strategies? Hire new talent? Come prepared to participate in interactive discussion.

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
WEI Hosted Networking Dinner
Join for a hosted dinner at Rock Bottom, located just blocks from the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. Weather permitting, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 5:50PM and walk to dinner as a group.

Thursday, September 29

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Networking Breakfast
Enjoy a continental offering at the Western Energy Institute office.

8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
PGE Demo of Integrated Supply Chain and Capital Project Metrics
Speaker: Archie Ewers, Portland General Electric
Supply Chain and Capital Project data is commonly housed in separate source systems. As a result, managing capital purchases for projects often proves difficult. How many purchase orders are related to the project? What vendors are involved with the capital project? How much does the project manager have left to spend? Does the primary vendor for this project have dollars remaining on their purchase order to complete the work? See how Portland General Electric has integrated their datasets to answer these questions.

9:45 AM – 10:00 AM

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Facilitator: John Sohl, NW Natural
Timothy Anderson, Phd, Portland State University
A guest speaker will share insight into a suite of academic analytics programs, and we will discuss ways utilities can partner with the academic community to identify and foster desired skillsets. Ideally, partnerships could create a win-win world where businesses more easily hire and retain the right match, and new employees enjoy relevant and gainful careers. Conversation will also address how management can best understand capability within the market and its associated value.

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Wrap–up and adjourn

Hotel + Travel

Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
921 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 800.445.8667

To book your hotel online, visit the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower website and enter “WEI” into the Group Code box as you are making your reservation. This will allow you to book the group rate at $179/night. You may also call 800.445.8667 to speak with a reservations agent directly. The group rate will be available until September 13, 2016 or until the room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

John Sohl

NW Natural

Brett Greene

Portland General Electric

Director of Origination, Structuring and Fundamentals
Learn More

Brett has been with Portland General Electric since 2010 leading highly engaged and effective teams in various financial and operation roles including Corporate Finance, Treasury, Tax, Power Marketing and Strategic Analysis. Brett prior to PGE served in similar positions at Precision Castparts, KPMG LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Brett is also active in the community serving on the boards of Young Entrepreneurs Business Week (Treasurer), University of Portland Alumni Association, and Forest Park Elementary (President) as well as coaching youth basketball.

Brett holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland and a Masters in Taxation from Golden Gate University. He is married to the lovely Patricia Greene and is the father of three beautiful daughters, Ella (10), Hannah (8) and Bailey (6). In his free time he enjoys golfing, basketball and anything that tires his three daughters and is a passionate Seattle Seahawks, Washington Husky and Portland Timbers fan.

Carl Landre

NW Natural

IT Enterprise Solution Architect
Learn More

Mr. Landre has spent the last 30 years in the Natural Gas Industry both from a consumer of information and as a provider. Half of his time has been spent working in various positions in Distribution and Gas Supply at NW Natural. The last fifteen years, Mr. Landre has been working on information systems at NW Natural to help provide an information foundation of integrated data for reporting and analysis. Starting with the development of interfaces and reports for NW Natural’s Gas Trading software, Mr. Landre has participated in many major IT projects at NW Natural including replacement of our SCADA system, and the development of NWN’s DataWarehouse. The last three years have been spent as the Business Warehouse Architect for our SAP implementation and Data Architect for the enterprise.

Landre holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and multiple certificates of learning in the Computer Science discipline with an emphasis on Data Architecture and design.

Timothy Anderson

Portland State University

Department Chair, Engineering and Technology Management

Brett Greene

Portland General Electric

Director of Fundamentals and Strategic Support

Timothy Anderson

Portland State University


Carl Landre

NW Natural

John Sohl

NW Natural

Senior Manager, Business Analytics
Learn More

John Sohl is an accomplished professional manager with strategic planning, budget, finance, and business analytics experience in the utility and power industries. He has a proven record of expediting change through process re-engineering. John holds an MBA from Penn State University where he was an adjunct faculty member for 4 years. He currently serves on the Accounting Advisory Board at Portland State University.

Andrew Dang

NW Natural

Business Analyst
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Andrew has experience in both IT and Business Analytics. He graduated with a Computer Science degree from Portland State University and has worked in various IT positions for Nike and Intel. Andrew decided to make a switch to Business Analytics 8 years ago and earned an MBA degree, also from Portland State. He has since worked as a consultant for Fiserv, and as a technical business analyst and IT PMO project analyst for Bonneville Power Administration.

Andrew has been with Northwest Natural for about 9 months. Part of his job involves researching new BI tool options for the company. He evaluated Tableau and has been active in implementing Power BI.

Andrew Dang

NW Natural

Archie Ewers

Portland General Electric

Financial Analyst
Learn More

Archie Ewers is with Portland General Electric and has been with PGE for 4 years. He is currently filling the role of Business Intelligence (BI) project manager. PGE’s BI project has been ongoing since 2014.