Chief Information Officer (Mar 08-09)

CIOs navigate everyday challenges related to grid modernization, cybersecurity and data integrity. In addition to the natural leadership pressures of any executive position, CIOs also lead the charge for building visionary plans to embrace emerging technology, oversee policy development and direct the implementation of systems and processes for the control and exchange of information. As such, CIOs increasingly seek novel approaches to enhance efficiency, responsiveness, innovation and adaptability. This forum provides a unique opportunity for utility CIOs to come together in an exclusive peer environment to address these challenges.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Jim Downing, VP and Chief Information Officer, NW Natural

    • Program Location
    • Hilton Portland Downtown
    • 921 SW 6th Ave
      Portland, OR 97204
    • Who Should Attend
    • Participation in the Chief Information Officer executive forum is restricted to senior leaders responsible for management of their utility's technology and information systems. In most instances, the appropriate attendee serves as the Chief Information Officer or holds an equal position within their utility. The small size of this program provides a unique environment for collaborative thinking, open discourse and building long-term relationships.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $499 USD

    Registration includes all program materials, a networking reception on Sunday evening, and a catered breakfast and lunch on Monday. Guest tickets are available for $90 and allow a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.

  • 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.
  • For more information contact Amy Nye, Program Manager at (503) 688-2794.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Networking Reception

Join us for a WEI hosted networking reception in downtown Portland. Dinner is on your own.

Monday, March 9, 2020

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration + Networking Breakfast

Arrive early to register and network with peers over breakfast.

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Welcome + Introductions
Facilitator(s): Jim Downing, Chief Information Officer, NW Natural

Come prepared to share insights from your latest initiatives as part of our round robin introductions.

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Data Analytics
Speaker(s): Joe Tellez, Chief Technology Officer, Tacoma Power

Over the last two years, Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) has been on an exciting journey of cloud-based data analytics using Amazon Web Services, Databricks, and Tableau. In this session, Joe Tellez will share their lessons-learned, benefits, drawbacks, and areas to watch out for related to cloud security and training.

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

ERP Planning + Implementation
Speaker(s): Jim Downing, Chief Information Officer, NW Natural

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Networking Lunch

Enjoy a catered lunch onsite.

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Guest Speaker

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

IT Organizational Design

This time is designated for attendees to compare and contrast IT organizational design. Come prepared to discuss your department's structure, reporting chain, key internal partners, and staff size. If you are willing to share your IT org chart in advance of the meeting, please email it to Amy Nye at

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Networking Break

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Open Roundtable Discussion
Facilitator(s): Jim Downing, Chief Information Officer, NW Natural

This session provides time for attendees to address topics not on the agenda, elaborate upon previous discussions, or gather ideas and feedback from peers.

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Wrap Up + Future Planning

Share your thoughts on the forum as we turn our sights toward the Fall program in Seattle, Washington on September 15 + 16, 2020. 

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (503) 226-1611 or use the link above to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with the WEI Customer + Corporate Symposium to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 23, 2020 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Jim Downing

NW Natural

Chief Information Officer

Joe Tellez

Tacoma Power

Chief Technology Officer
Learn More

Joe is a technology executive with over 25 years of information technology management experience spanning the gas, electric, and water utilities industry. Joe is a seasoned technology strategist with strong experience in systems integration, technology strategy & planning, enterprise architecture, technology implementation and organizational governance. Previously, Joe was an executive consultant with Utility Integration Solutions (an Alstom Grid Co.) where he lead their Integration and Architecture practice working on a variety of Smart Grid initiatives with several large investor owned and municipality utilities. Prior to UISOL/Alstom, Joe worked for Sempra Energy Utilities leading their Smart Grid integration efforts for electric and gas AMI, customer services and billing, distribution management and field force automation initiatives. Joe holds a B.S. degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering and a M.S. degree in Systems Architecture & Engineering both from the University of Southern California and is a TOGAF certified IT Architect.